Schiano Embraces Angry FansDecember 18th, 2013
There’s no greater off-the-field NFL theater than a head coach taking unfiltered calls from fans on live radio.
Unfortunately, Chucky had no interest in talking to the masses, but Tony Dungy, Raheem Morris and Greg Schiano embraced the madness. Schiano’s taken real darts over the past couple of years (along with plenty of love), and a sharp one was fired at him Monday on WDAE-AM 620.
Schiano is a head coach for all Bucs fans, not just those in his corner. Frustrated fan caller “Mike” spouted off and set up the head coach to proclaim his understanding.
” … I just don’t think you have it. You know, you know after the year comes I’m pretty sure you’ll get it,” caller Mike said. “But right now, hey, as Bucs fans we’re tired of being disappointed, tired of losing, tired of paying money, concession stand fees and all this to watch a team look this bad. The report was this team was pretty good. But I believe the coaching is horrible. I think you just need to give it up, man.”
Schiano responded calmly and respectfully.
“I guess he just wanted to state his opinion. And that’s the beauty of our country. Everybody has the freedom to state their opinion. That’s why I come on the show. You know people say [I’m contractually obligated to do the show]. Trust me, if we didn’t want to do the show, we’d find a way not to do the show. But I think it’s important that the fans know that I hear their frustration. And just like Mike [the caller], you know obviously he’s frustrated as we are,” Schiano said.
“We know there’s been some opportunities that we kind of let slide. There’s also been a lot of things that have happened this year that have, you know, been tough to deal with, and I think our guys have done an incredible job of sticking together, not pointing fingers, fighting through it, coaches and player alike, and I’m very, very encouraged by the direction of our club and where we’re headed and the people that we’re headed there with. Hopefully Mike, and people that are feeling that way can hang in there just a little longer because it’s coming. And believe me, it’ll be worth the wait.”
Also during the show, a fan called in to ask Schiano’s forgiveness for verbally tearing him up after the Bucs loss to the 49ers. Schiano told the guy it was no problem, heat-of-the-moment stuff that’s understandable.
Now Joe’s not slobbering over Schiano here. Pay Joe $3 million a year like Schiano, and Joe would be happy to talk with a few haters once a week. (Joe does that daily for far less.) But Schiano’s willingness to be accountable publicly and maintain his consistent message throughout this ugly season has been admirable.
That steadiness is something Team Glazer can count on, a factor that could help Schiano earn their priestly blessing for 2014.