THE OPTIMIST: Give Raheem McKay’s Lost Prize

December 11th, 2010

THE OPTIMIST explains that John McKay and Tony Dungy were completely screwed out of Coach of the Year honors. THE OPTIMIST says Raheem Morris has to get the award if the Bucs finish 10-6.

You’ve all read THE PESSIMIST, who spews his Bucs-related anger like no other. But Joe also wants you to know THE OPTIMIST

THE OPTIMIST is Nick Houllis, a Bucs fan and an accomplished writer whose steadfast allegiance to the team goes back to the 1970s. Houllis is the founder, creator and guru of, a place Joe goes to get lost in time via Houllis’ stunning video collection.

THE OPTIMIST will shine that positive light in your eyes. Some will love it. Some won’t.

One important issue was left out of last week’s buzz over former Bucs head coach John McKay and his induction into the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Ring of Honor. 

They talked about his one-liners, and how he brought an expansion team to the brink of a Super Bowl in 1979, they brought his famous golf cap to 53,000 Bucs fans, but they left out one piece of information that few will consider.

John McKay was passed over for NFL Coach of the Year in 1979 for Jack Pardee, head coach of the Washington Redskins, who did not even make it to the playoffs that year.

You would think if you take a team that goes 0-26, worst team in the history of the NFL, and turn them into division champions in only their fourth year of existence, you would get the honor.

John McKay, like his football team, was overlooked.

Fassell Trumped Dungy

Fast forward 18 years, 15 of which were double-digit losing seasons, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had a new coach who turned around the losingest franchise in the last two decades! It was a given right; anyone who could end the Bucs’ 14 straight years of losing football would be a lock for coach of the year.

Tony Dungy came along, and turned it all around. But “Coach of the Year” for 1997 was given to Jim Fassell of the New York Giants.

Tony Dungy not only got robbed that year he outcoached the winner in week 13. Jim Fassel took a delay of game penalty to try and draw the Bucs offside on fourth down, costing the team five yards moments before Brad Daluiso missed a 47-yard FG. Then, trailing 14-8 with 12:02 left in the game at the Bucs’ 47, Fassel elected to go for it on 4th-and-1 and Tyrone Wheatley was stuffed for no gain by safety John Lynch. The Bucs used the field position and a pass interference call to set up Errict Rhett’s one-yard TD run to put the game away.

Fassell got Coach of the Year; Tony Dungy got two playoff games.

Twice then the Bucs head coach accomplished something incredible, yet excuses were made instead for why other coaches were given awards they deserved.

Raheem Morris needs to be made Coach of the Year if the Bucs finish 10-6 regardless of whether the team makes the playoffs, which didn’t matter in 1979 and shouldn’t now.

A Case For Raheem

Tell me someone who has done better with what he has had to work with. Bucs players have been transferring from regular roster to I.R. at an alarming rate!

Tanard Jackson gets suspended — so Cody Grimm steps in and does great. Grimm goes down, Corey Lynch takes over and Roddy White is held to under 100 yards.

Of course, its not all at safety; Aqib Talib goes down and E.J. Biggers goes on to help with the 100-yard shut down.

Cadillac Williams to LeGarrette Blount, rookies everywhere, Erik Lorig as a defensive end to starting at fullback, and the Bucs continued to win with players from different positions. What do they all have in common? Raheem Morris has coached them all up.

So who would Morris go up against? Probably the best competition would be St. Louis Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo, who like Raheem is in his sophomore season as the team leader. Unlike Morris however, his team won only one game last year, and NO ONE was calling for his job.

But while Raheem’s Bucs get criticized for not beating any winning teams, at least the Bucs are arguably a member of the league’s toughest division: the NFC South. Spagnuolo’s Rams deserve a lot of credit, but they are in the NFC West where two teams are tied for the division lead with 6-6 records. It’s entirely possible the division winner could get into the playoffs with a 7-9 record, and host a home game!

Todd Haley is another who comes to mind that could be considered if the award is going to be leaguewide. Haley also enters his second season as head coach, but he is an offensive guy and the Kansas City Chiefs are making waves in the AFC with their defense.

Todd was the offensive coordinator for the Cardinals, and Dallas Cowboys during those two teams recent good years. But this team has had an influx of talent from both team and front office personnel that has a very heavy New England Patriots flair to it. Matt Cassel QB, Offensive Coordinator Charlie Weis, Defensive Coordinator Romeo Crennel all have head coaching experience. With a staff like that, and proven veterans like Thomas Jones, Mike Vrabel and Brandon Flowers, rising to the top of the semi-weak AFC West isn’t really that much of a feat now is it?

And Maybe Jack Del Rio deserves a little attention for his Jacksonville Jaguars who are also 7-5 and in first place in the AFC South.

But Raheem needs to get the award in his pocket for 2010, because if it waits one more year, then everyone is going to say the Bucs were expected to do well, so their effort would not be “Coach of the Yearish” in nature as the effort this season.

No, 2010 is the year that Raheem Morris should be recognized for the efforts he has put forward in preparing this team to fight until the very end of games, with all the comebacks, and even in the blow out early season losses, the players never got down and always responded with great efforts.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Bucs really beat down Washington, nor should it be a shock to find our head coach recognized as the best one of the 2010 season.

36 Responses to “THE OPTIMIST: Give Raheem McKay’s Lost Prize”

  1. JDouble Says:

    What about the Chiefs?

  2. BamBamBuc Says:

    You’re kidding, right? We won’t get credit for Morris this year or any other year. We don’t get any prime time games, even when we win a Super Bowl. We’re beating teams “we should beat” when everyone picked us for 2-3 wins, some as many as 5. We’ve won 7, so we obviously beat teams they didn’t think we “should win”, but that means nothing at all. We’ve suffered with injury and suspensions, and filled in with young players without blinking… nope, still means nothing.

    Nope, Morris won’t get it. They’ll probably give it to Jason Garrett for bringing the Cowboys back from the brink. After all, they are the Cowboys.

  3. Thomas 2.1 Says:

    Thank goodness this is optimist fiction.

    What? Haley shouldnt win the award if the chiefs win their division and turn that team around so quickly. Cassell is playing hurt, mccluster has been hurt and many others.

    Rah has coached these guys to a third place standing in the division, no notable wins, losing record at home, missing the playoffs, below average defensive ranking and off-the-field lack of discipline issues: t jax and j stevens, talib, sabby etc. How can rah be ranked ahead of mike smith?

  4. Thomas 2.1 Says:

    I would vote for rah for c o y: cheerleader of the year.

    His excitability is infectious, albeit difficult to understand. I wish that they would broadcast a pre-game speech. I am sure it would be passionate, just comically filled with mixed metaphors, mispronunciations and improper word choices. It would end up on comedy central, grilla would be horrified.

  5. Sensiblebuc Says:

    If Rah get us 9 or more wins he’s earned COY hands down, there’s no question. 

    The very definition of “coaching” someone up is to get the best out of your talent and no sane person can argue Rah has a stronger claim than any other coach this year. Look at the expectations in preseason, we were picked last in the division, and supposed to be picking in the top 5 again. The reasoning behind all these prognostications was simple, “They’re far to young.” “Morris showed me nothing last year. He and Dominick are in over their heads.”

    I can’t blame them for believing that before the season. I mean, how can this young guy who talks too fast win ANY games this year after not even being competitive against ANYBODY last year? How can he win with one of the youngest teams in the league? How can he rely on a young defensive line and young wide receivers when those positions historically develop very slowly? How can he continue to take the dual role of head coach and defensive coordinator? How can he develop talent when he himself is unproven? Looking back now, all those questions seem absurd. 

    Look at how many 1st and 2nd year guys are integral parts of the team:

    Freeman, Blount, Larsen, Lee, Mike Will, Benn, Stroughter, McCoy, Miller, Price, Bennett, Biggers, Lewis, Grimm, Lorig and Lynch. 

    Look at the Panthers who have a similar youth movement going on. They have ONE freaking win! Rah and the staff have answered every question this year that they were supposed to. In year 2 of a rebuild we’re far ahead of schedule thus, Rah and the staff deserve to have the praise heaped on them. 

  6. BamBamBuc Says:

    You’re really gonna compare the AFC West to the NFC South? Ooh, watch out for them Broncos, Raiders and Chargers. None of them can compare to the Saints and Falcons in our division. Third in the NFC South should be first in the AFC West.

    Again, what “notable” wins did you, Thomas, predict in the preseason? I’m sure you predicted we’d lose some of the games we’ve already won. Which ones were they? Which teams did you think preseason would be better than the Bucs that we’ve already beaten? There’s gotta be a couple by now. We’ll call those our “notable” wins.

    And off field discipline issues? T Jax is a repeat offender since Gruden was here. Stevens was that way before Gruden brought him in. Talib? Really? Okay, there was the cabbie incident which got him a one game suspension, but are you referring to the post-game argument with the ref? Not even worthy of a fine from the NFL. And Sabby? HA. There was no issue, he didn’t like getting benched and was vocal about it. Regardless he was still benched. Seems like Morris’ discipline in Sabby’s case was just fine. And the ultimate release of Sabby was simply the culmination of the “disciplinary action”.

  7. BamBamBuc Says:

    Hey, Thomas… what’s with the 2.1? Usually that would mean a change of some sort, but I hear nothing but the same prattle out of you that’s always been there. Is it just a 2.1 upgrade because you’ve dug your heels in a bit harder to bash the coach that’s actually winning more games than you predicted? Thomas 2.1, even more negative bashing than the earlier aversion… umm.. version.

  8. Sensiblebuc Says:

    @ Thomas

    Hey even if you’re way off base, at least you’re consistent. Lol

    If you wanted to pick anybody else for COY you could’ve at least chosen Bellicheck. He’s the only other coach that has a decent shot.

     You want to talk about leading the division leaders and schedules? KC beat one team with a winning record, the Jags. Lmao! They also beat and overrated and fading Jags team. Oooooo!!!!

    Also, let’s go down the line and look at the talent on the Chiefs:

    Cassel, Thomas Jones, Jamaal Charles (1st rounder), Moeaki, D. Bowe (1st rounder), Branden Albert (1st rounder), Tamba Hali (1st rounder), Glenn Dorsey (1st rounder), Derrick Johnson(1st rounder), Eric Berry (1st rounder), and Brandon Flowers…and those are the guys I can name off the top of my head. They are in year 4 or 5 of their rebuild, not year 2 like us. 

    Also, the NFC South is either tied for first or 2nd in most wins by Division. The Chiefs are the best of a mediocre bunch. I’d rather play the Chargers, Raiders and Broncos this year than the Saints, Falcons and Panthers…ok scratch the Panthers. Lol

    The bottom line, hold other teams/coaching staffs to the same standard you hold Rah and the Bucs to. If you look at the recent history of other organizations and find they are better, then by all means come back and talk poorly about us. if not then be an actual Bucs fan and root for us and bitch about the refs or how Faine keeps getting injured or even why Rah gives Talib preferential treatment but enough with the baseless personal attacks on Rah and ridiculous conspiracy theories.

  9. Sensiblebuc Says:

    * beat a fading Chargers team (lol)

  10. Lucas Jackson Says:

    Figures this article would bring a few people out of hiding.

  11. Eric S Says:

    I think Rah has a good shot at COY. People didn’t expect much from the Bucs and they may end up with 9-10 wins. It should be a close race. Bill B will be a tough one to beat. Mike Smith has a good claim as well.

    I do have some issues with the article. Holding Roddy White under 100 yards? He conveniently forgot that he caught the biggest pass of the game and he still caught 7 passes for almost 75 yards. And the Coach of the Year award has always been league wide since I can remember.

    I think sometimes people post stuff without giving it much thought. Like the Jags being overrated and fading. I actually think the opposite is true. They are underrated and no one is talking about them. The Jags are in 1st place now and have won 4 of their last 5. They should be on a 5 game winning streak if they didn’t blow the Giants game. So I truly don’t get how the Jags are fading. Heck if the Bucs were “fading” then they would be near 1st place and printing playoff tickets already.

  12. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    This article had Thomas written all over it, just like the Bill Cowher article yesterday. All you need now is one about the reason for the declining attendance at home games. I’ve never seen anyone who loves to complain as much as that guy, but I’m really starting to think he enjoys it.

  13. Thomas 2.1 Says:

    I predicted that they would win 5. When i made that prediction i didnt know that we would get the panthers w/ jimmy clausen, 9ers with troy smith (benched again), cards with max hall – i admit thst i thought that bengals would be better. I underestimated free’s growth (although the last 2 games are concerning) that is where i missed the mark, also mike williams.
    If i were voting coy i would never vote for a third place non-playoff team even if the team won 3 more games than i thought.
    Also, the collspse from 7-3 to miss the playoffs, if they win 1 of the two falcons or ravens games they are in, not to pull one of those gsmes out is a failure. Mike smith easily deserves the award over mr third place.

    I would also consider lovie smith.

    The only reason you sheep have this argument about “big improvement” is the sheer fact that he and they were so awful last year.

  14. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    I, so I guess we aren’t winning any more games then? I didn’t even realize we were out of the playoff race yet. What if we make the playoffs? Will you change your tune?

    And no, it’s not because we were so awful last year. It’s because our team is ridiculously young, not to mentioned devastated by injuries, yet still playing well. What is so hard for you to understand about that? It’s really not a difficult concept for someone with any intelligence. Having only 1 starter on the OL remaining, using our 4th safety, losing our best CB, starting 2 rookie WR’s, and still having a winning record is pretty damn impressive. Find me a comparable team. Coach of the year should be given to the one who gets the most out of the least. Raheem should absolutely be at least included in the conversation, no matter how blinded by hate and ignorance you are.

  15. Thomas 2.1 Says:

    Todd haley and rah rah are both in their second year. Both had bad records in their first, both have better records in their second.

    Haley is still in position for the division title. Rah is watching college tape looking for the next kyle moore, roy miller,brian price or gmc (well hopefully not).

    If they miss the playoffs after starting 7-3 and the chiefs, bears, falcons, even seahawks make the playoffs it would be straight charity and sympathy to give it to the stuttering boy hc.

    Stop celebrating mediocrity and third place finishes, and not being able to win at home and put fans in the seats. This org is at a 15 year in fan interest bc of the state of this team. From zero rayjay blackouts to an entirely blacked out 2010- that is pathetic and dont give me this economy bs. Name cowher hc and the place sells out immediately, so rah is the main reason why the community isnt buying this facade.

  16. Thomas 2.1 Says:

    Hawaiian its not complaining, its called “blogging.”. If u want all falsely slanted rhetoric with a perspective through only a pewter-colored lens for pecuiary reasons – see the other softer bucs blog or listen to the steve duemig show where opinions are shaped to be favorable for $ reasons. I would probably lie, errrr, spin too if being paid enough.

    favorable stuff about the glazers, rah and dom – i would. Hows this? I think that those glazer
    boys are really charitable fellows as evidenced
    by the $ they donate in our community including the fact that they allow this young man that nobody understands to coach the team. Rah is doing an anazing job if u consider that noone can understand him, just think how great he would be if the guys knew what he was saying. So come to think of it i agree, he is coy, for achieving third place while uttering very few intelligible words. Jk, lmao

  17. Sensiblebuc Says:

    @ Eric S

    Check two posts above yours. I meant to refer to the Chargers being overrated and fading.

  18. Sensiblebuc Says:

    @ Thomas

    I agree with with Hawaiian. You’re simply complaining bro. You’ve failed to make a reasoned compelling argument for other coaches or against Rah being COY. 

    What’s your criteria for the award? Best record? Meh. Winning the division? (Pete Carroll for taking the 1st team with a losing record into the playoffs) Taking good talent and making great? (Andy Reid & Bellicheck.) Finally living up to the hype? (Smith & the Falcons) Or should the COY be the guy who coached up his talent the best?

    Inquiring minds would like to know. 

  19. MichiganBucsFan Says:

    Thomas, your inability to understand what Raheem is saying clearly comes from your own lack of intelligence. I understand everything he says, and have no problem following his press confrences. Reading through that last post, your only argument seems to be that Raheem doesn’t deserve coach of the year consideration because your stupid ass can’t understand him.

  20. Thomas 2.1 Says:

    Pretty funny michigan. My criteria is: better than third place in your division, be relevant in january i.e. playoffs, win one important game during the season – to start. How does rah stack up?
    You sheep are hypocrites. After the last 2 drafts and with every fa move u cheer rah and dom for acquiring so much talent. Then when they fail to do better than third in the division or make the playoffs, you say the team is less talented than its competitors. This is as untrue as it is self-serving. Its the nfl everyone has talent. Last years 3-13 was due to ineptitude in coaching, nothing else.

  21. BamBamBuc Says:

    Thomas, if the third place team makes the playoffs as a wild-card, they’re still in the playoffs. Doesn’t matter that they are 6th seed, just that they got there. If the Bucs win the next 3 and get to 10 wins, they still have a reasonable chance at the playoffs. Not only that, but they will have accomplished what only 4 other teams have done since 1978… a 7 game turnaround from one season to the next. The Saints have done it twice, of course the Dolphins, and the Colts did as well. A 6 game turnaround is the best the Bucs have ever accomplished.

    So, 10 wins and a 7 game turnaround and no playoffs would still be a pretty impressive accomplishment in the NFL. If they make the playoffs, or go 11-5, it should be a lock.

  22. Thomas 2.1 Says:

    Bambam. 1) if they make the playoffs as a third place team i will be satisfied; 2) a six or seven win turnaround standard is absurd bc rah’s horrific coaching last year cost them 3-5 games easy.

    It is not great coaching to coach horribly one year and win three games and finish fourth, and then to coach okay the next year and win 8 or nine finish third and miss the playoffs. I view success as getting into the playoffs, bc once in any team can get hot for a month and win it all.

    If they squeeze in, i will give credit. If they dont and collapse from 7-3 with a share of the division and best record in the conference, i will hold the hc accountable.

    If they lose sunday to the skins who are in total disarray, i will hold the appopriate parties accountable, so will rah and he will fire an asst coach or cut a player.

  23. Lucas Jackson Says:

    You guys are wasting energy trying to type with 2.1. True blue dyed in the wool Morris hater, to the point of being offensive with all the misplaced talk about Morris’s use of language. Makes one thing 2.1 might have some other issues to deal with.

  24. Thomas 2.1 Says:

    Lucas, we all have issues son. Even your stammering idol kid rah.

    Now, its real simple, in case you need me to bring it down and blog slowly:
    After a 7-3 start only playoffs would be a success, anything less is a failure and no award would be deserved

  25. Lucas Jackson Says:

    2.1 — no matter what success the Bucs have it would not be enough for you, at least from what I read. You just flat out hate Morris, irrationally. Like I said, you have some other issue, as proven by your inability to even discuss Morris without making a comment like “stammering.” If I did not know bettter . . .. well . .. never mind.

  26. Thomas 2.1 Says:

    That is deflecting. Success = playoffs. You have no response so you deflect. There is no credible response, if they dont make thd playoffs after starting 7-3, the hc has failed. Enough said.

    All teams have injuries, all teams have adversity, successful teams win a big game, where is this team’s big, crowning win. Is it the max hall or troy smith or jimmy clausen victory? Maybe the sam bradford squeaker at home?

  27. Lucas Jackson Says:

    2.1 — let me give you some examples of your lunacy:

    In one post you say you only expected 5 wins, but in another you say that anything short of the playoffs is failure BECAUSE THEY HAVE SEVEN WINS ????

    What is that?

    You keep referring to the Bucs as “third in their division,” but the top 2 are the defending SB champ and arguably the best team in the NFL right now.

    Again, you are just angry for some reason. Maybe counseling is an option?

    The Bucs are the youngest team in the NFL (or one of the youngest), they have glaring talent gaps (no DE is a good example) and they are playing at the edge of their depth chart (Lynch is like the 3rd or 4th safety, the entire O-line but Penn are subs)

    Seek counseling now . . .

  28. Thomas 2.1 Says:

    They have no de’s yet they drafted three under tackles in the lasy two drafts, a horrible punter, another undersized lb and well kyle moore. The lack of a de is on the org.

  29. Lucas Jackson Says:

    2.1 — funny to watch you change the point. I guess I will take that as an admission and just say good luck with the counseling.

  30. gitarlvr Says:

    I can’t believe you guys wasted an entire thread thinking you could reason with thomas the zero. You can’t get blood from a stone man. Save your arguments for guys that don’t live in a UPARC group home.

  31. tampa2 Says:

    Give Raheem the COTY Award. That is for Cheerleader of the Year! Olsen is the one that deserves the recognition for Tampa’s improvement, not Raheem the dream. While most of us thought Olsen was just another Raheem, in way over his head, the man showed us that he is indeed very good at what he does. The fact is that without Olsen’s work with Freeman in the off-season, and calling plays suited for Freeman & Co. this year, we would be about 2-10 going into today’s game. Raheem is not a coach, much less COTY.

  32. Lucas Jackson Says:

    tampa”2″ and thomas “2”.1. Coincidence? I think not.

  33. Pruritis Ani Says:

    Thomas wrote

    Give Raheem the COTY Award. That is for Cheerleader of the Year! Olsen is the one that deserves the recognition for Tampa’s improvement, not Raheem the dream. While most of us thought Olsen was just another Raheem, in way over his head, the man showed us that he is indeed very good at what he does.

    Excellent point. Personally, I don’t think Olsen has gotten enough credit for what he’s been able to do with a 2nd year QB, a banged up running game and rookie WR’s. I don’t anyone knows what will happen in terms of record/playoffs, but the offense is where I think the Bucs have shown the most improvement.

  34. McBuc Says:

    All games are important…The actual criteria for COY has nothing to do with the play offs, and Thomas is a child, so who cares what he thinks anyway.

  35. McBuc Says:

    Pruritis…I like Olsen too, but if you look at the ranking the Defense has out performed the offense. I love what I am seeing from both sides of the ball. You can see that potential is there.

  36. niko (The Optimist) Says:

    I think a point is missed here….you dont win coach of the year for having the best team, you win it for the best coaching job.