Chucky’s Future, Two Takes

January 5th, 2009
"Bryan, Joel, everyone, thanks for having me back"
“Bryan, Joel, everyone, thanks for having me back. I love you guys.”

Here at, our writers don’t always share the same views.

Hey, what fans agree all the time? C’mon.

After much crying over the Bucs’ implosion and a holiday weekend of college football, pro football and quality beer drinking, Joe presents a couple of takes on Chucky’s future, more specifically how the Glazers view the status of their handpicked, expensive coach.  

Managing Editor

Call it a hunch, but Chucky will return next year.

Chucky has three years left on a contract worth a reported $5 million a year. At the time he signed the new contract following the 2007 season, the deal put him among the top five highest paid NFL coaches.

That, in itself, is absurd, but it also means Chucky will remain as Bucs coach.

Please understand Joe is not a Chucky hater, though he can find plenty of things to hate. Joe will continue to bleed Bucs red if Chucky is the coach, or someone else.

Note that the last year of a head coach contract is virtually meaningless. Rarely do coaches reach the final year of a contract unless the coach is fired or has his contract extended. The vast majority of teams do not want lame duck coaches. So in essence, Chucky has two years left on his deal.

Sure, if the Glazer Boys unloaded Chucky and he was picked up by another team, the Glazer Boys would be off the hook for his salary. Keyword: “If.” Managing Editor Lee Diekemper says the Glazer clan is watching all their nickels this year along with the rest of the NFL Managing Editor Lee Diekemper says the Glazer clan is watching all their nickels this year along with the rest of the National Football League.

Just because Chucky is fired doesn’t mean he’d agree to work for another team at likely a smaller salary. Joe can’t imagine a team would hire a coach who was canned for $5 million a year. Chucky also would likely spend a season out of football, which might attract more teams and better choices for his next coaching gig.

Remember that rich people don’t stay rich by being foolish. Five million dollars a year is a boat load of money no matter if you are Joe, Paul Allen, T. Boone Pickens, Warren Buffet or the Glazer Boys. With NFL teams hurt by the economy, and actually some teams including the league office laying off people, not all owners are ready to toss money away on unemployed coaches.

No less a well-connected authority than Chris Mortensen of BSPN has stated in his talks with NFL owners that they are counting their beans a little more closely this year.

(Granted, Broncos owner Pat Bowlen axed Mike Shanahan, who has three years left on his contract. Remember the Broncos aren’t having trouble selling season tickets. The Glazer Boys are.)

Should Chucky go? Joe is of the mind that, as much as he appreciates what Chucky has done for the franchise, yes. It’s time. He got the Bucs their only Super Bowl, for which Joe will forever be in Chucky’s debt. No matter what happens to Chucky, he should never have to buy another meal or a beer in Tampa for that reason alone.

Chucky’s record since speaks for itself. It’s not good. In fact, it’s worse than Father Dungy’s, who was axed by the Glazer Boys (not without merit) for lesser sins.

Joe just doesn’t see the franchise improving under Chucky. Competing for a NFC South title and losing in the first round is not what Joe calls “improving.” And the Chuckyodytes who scream “who else would you have coach?” doesn’t hold water. Quick, raise your hands if you heard of Mike Smith, John Harbaugh or Tony Sparano prior to last year?

For that matter, how many people knew of Chucky before Al Davis picked him as the Raiders coach?

Should Chucky go? Regrettably, yes.

Will Chucky go? Regrettably, no.


Getting in the heads and hearts of the Glazers is tough. They don’t talk to the media much, and they rarely show their cards when they do. Malcolm’s boys must be incredible poker players.

What we do know about the Glazers is they are savage, savvy business people who are not afraid to go after what they want. They outbid George Steinbrenner for the Bucs and threatened to leave town to force a new stadium deal. (Not that anyone cares, but they took on the wrath of an enitre country with a blood-thirsty media to buy Manchester United).  

And, of course, the Glazers take their head coach shopping seriously. Look at their willingness to fire Tony Dungy and pay a king’s ransom of cash and draft picks for Chucky, and their relentless pursuit of BIll Parcells in past years. Editor Steven Isbitts says the Glazers will show Chucky lots of love while they search for their next great leader, much like Chucky does with his quarterbacks

The take here is that the Glazers would be pleased to have a new coach now, if they found what they wanted. And they would spare absolutely no expense — they’d rather make cuts in other areas or raise prices. 

But the Glazer brain trust hasn’t found that guy. So Chucky will be their man again in 2009.

For now, the Glazers will rely on Chucky and Bruce Allen to find ways for the team to stay competitive, inject some youth into the lineup and, with a little luck, make the playoffs. That’ll keep the seats nearly filled and buy time. It’s the safe option, in an unsafe environment.

One look at the ’09 schedule, and the Glazers see a horrendous year for rebuilding the Bucs. Tampa Bay’s schedule is brutally difficult, including a forfeited home game in England against the Patriots. The Glazers know that rebuilding and finishing 3-13 in a poor economy is a great recipe for blacked out home games, major revenue loss, and overall great risk.

Imagine if a new coach and rebuilding is a flop? The Bucs could be mired in the NFC South cellar for years.

Look for the Glazers to give Bruce Allen and Chucky the green light to run the team however they wish in 2009 (Let’s hope that’s not into the ground). Joe believes the Glazers still have some faith in their dynamic duo, and they’ll buy their sales car-salesmen pitch that the team is just a stud running back and a pass rusher away from going 11-5 next year.

Joe is confident Gruden is done after next season, unless he gets to the second round of the playoffs, without excepton.

And another thing, the Glazers will do everything necessary to make sure Raheem Morris knows loud and clear that he’s in their future plans for head coach.

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