Unprecedented Power For Lovie Smith

January 6th, 2014
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Lovie Smith has the power.

Joe has already shared the report of new Bucs coach Lovie Smith being granted full and total control over the 53-man roster. This may, in part, be why Team Glazer jettisoned former rock star general manager Mark Dominik, because in the pact for total autonomy, Lovie wanted his hand-picked man as a general manager.

Think about that: A coach who has never won a Super Bowl, has only appeared in one Super Bowl, and has a paltry record against teams with winning records is one of the most powerful men in the NFL, types Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times.

In fact, no coach — not commander Greg Schiano, not Super Bowl-winning Chucky — since Sam Wyche who has worked for Team Glazer has been given so much authority over the team.

Smith never had such a strong voice in personnel matters with the Chicago Bears. In fact, it’s an organizational structure the Glazers had for only one season, in ’95, when they purchased the team and coach Sam Wyche was also the head of football operations. He was quickly stripped of those duties when Rich McKay was installed as general manager.

Smith’s control of the 53-man roster almost certainly would limit the Bucs’ opportunity to attract an experienced general manager. That’s why it’s likely someone with ties to Smith, such as Kansas City Chiefs director of player personnel Chris Ballard, would be a frontrunner to fill the role with the Bucs.

This stuns Joe. The man often given credit for building the Bucs’ foundation in the 1990s, Father Dungy, did not have this control. This is Bill Belicheat-type control. Shoot, Jim Harbaugh answers to a general manager. Mike McCarthy answers to a general manager. John Harbaugh answers to a general manager. So too does Mike Tomlin, and other top coaches.

Perhaps  Team Glazer was desperate for Lovie to work for them, or Lovie told Team Glazer exactly what they wanted to hear in order to obtain this type of power.

46 Responses to “Unprecedented Power For Lovie Smith”

  1. Chris Says:

    It’s the same control that Pete carol has in Seattle. That worked out pretty well. Coaches have a better view of talent.

  2. Destinjohnny Says:


  3. Harry Says:

    PICK am usually in agreement with you Joe. But IMO you are comparing apples to oranges. As an example, Dungybdid not have such authority bc he was a brand new HC. Same with most of your examples when they first arrived at their job. And I disagree on Gruden as well. He got McKay fired and placed his puppet Bruce Allen in that position, so he did have total authority.

    What are the Crows supposed to do? Fire Ozzie and put Harbaugh in charge now?

    I will add, I do not like any coach having total authority, but I feel you slanted your info to fit your argument.

  4. Bill Says:

    Time for some positive reports, enough of digging up negativity

    Lovie has a PC at 2 lets give him a chance

  5. Ryan G Says:

    Greg Schiano had no NFL experience at all and he had a lot of control last year too soo what are u really saying?? i think its ok as long as he has a cap guy to make sure we have cap flexibility in the future

  6. Harry Says:

    “PICK”? I hate auto spell check. Should be “I am usually in agreement…”

  7. Chef Paul Says:

    HAHA Harry,

    Smart phones are not so smart. How the hell does auto correct go from I to PICK?? Sausage fingers?

  8. Tampamac Says:

    Just a theory, but I believe the Glazers want Lovie to have every opportunity to either succeed or fail. That way there’s no rehash of “Is it Schiano or Dominik’s fault?”.. If it works out, we’ll have Smith to thank. If we whiff on talent, we’ll have Smith to blame. In essence, cutting out the middle man.

  9. Paul Says:

    At least we won’t see our good players given away anymore.

  10. Harry Says:

    @Chef Paul
    Probably sausage fingers as well… Lol

  11. Theodore Says:

    Thankfully, this saves us years from bickering over whose fault it is: HC or GM?

  12. NewTampaChris Says:

    Lovie had the leverage. Maybe he won’t make Dominik’s huge mistake of last offseason — failing to add depth. There were lots of DL and DBs available at bargain rates last year. We hit a couple of home runs (Revis and Goldson) but didn’t hit any doubles or singles (Sean Smith, Brent Grimes, John Abraham).

  13. Bucs Fan Since '76 Says:

    Unorthodox, unprecedented, call it what you will, but this is not, and never has been the model followed by successful sports franchises. Coaches matter, but not that much. Put a great coach (CEO, president, manager, whatever) into a dysfunctional situation and the likelihood of success diminishes greatly. I hate to keep harping on this, but the Glazers do not run Man U this way. It almost seems like they could not be bothered with a thoughtful, well planned reorganization so they rushed out, made the splash hire, excited the fan base, and exited stage right.

    We forget sometimes that Sam Wyche was a successful, big name coach when Culverhouse hired him. But the Bucs were totally dysfunctional with Gay running the show, and despite drafting several hall of fame players, he had limited success and was fired. The Bucs turned around under Dungy, sure. BUT, the truth is they turned around because Malcolm reorganized the franchise, and between him, McKay, and Dungy, they created a strategic plan and executed it, ultimately leading to a Super Bowl.

    We’ve had little success since as we’ve abandoned the plan and engaged in all this frenetic hire/fire stuff. I hope Lovie succeeds, but I fear that may be all we have, hope. And oh yeah, a heavy dose of wishful thinking.

  14. Warrenfb12 Says:

    We get it joe, you don’t like the hire.

  15. Bucnjim Says:

    It goes all the way back to pee wee football. The parent or whoever thinks their kid deserves to be on the field, but the coach knows who the best players are because he’s there with them on a daily basis. Some GM’s get in the way because they think their player (Freeman) is the best option. Obviously; some GM’s have a good feel for talent, but I wouldn’t want my job decided by slackers & deadbeats someone else picked out for me.

  16. Joe Says:

    @Warrenfb12 – Joe likes the hire but doesn’t love it. Joe can only react to right now. Lovie the personnel man is an unknown and that adds a whole new element.

    Either personnel decisions out of Lovie’s control held him back in Chicago, or they helped him. We’ll get a good idea over the next two years.

  17. Joe Says:

    @Bill – Joe has plenty of positive stuff. Feel free to look back over the last few days.

  18. Que589 Says:

    Seattle (probably the best team in the league) has the same structure, and it was given to a coach that hasn’t won a championship in the league. Glazers are giving that power to a coach w/ championship pedigree

  19. Oil Derrick Brooks Says:

    I got assaulted on here for not doing somersaults over the way this went down.

    I like Lovie. I think he will be an improvement over what was here. But, to not see the obvious risks with this hire is like sticking your head in a hole.

    Lovies’s record as a HC has been clearly documented, and some don’t care.

    But, having a GM with no real power (unless you are a handful of HOF coaches, and even then) is rarely a plus. And, it’s not like Lovie has a reputation as a personnel guy.

    And choosing an OC that has never called a single play in the NFL is down right stupid. I am completely blown away (in a bad way) by this. Did anyone watch the Cal offense?

    I guess I am less of a fan because, because while I hope it works out, I can’t help but think the owners screwed the pooch when the slate was finally clean.

  20. mark2001 Says:

    Joe…well, shut my mouth….you have said everything I’ve been saying about the GM position, power, coach, etc…that I have been saying, except in a more eloquent, informing, and convincing fashion. Maybe that is the difference between being a professional, as you are, and an amateur. I tip my hat to you again. Reality isn’t either positive or negative…it speaks for itself. I’m finding it difficult to identify things to disagree with you about. Oh well…..

  21. crazy Says:

    There’s a lot to like about the Lovie return as HC. This isn’t one of them. Good personnel decisions take time – time that will take away from running the coaching staff. The only way this works is if Lovie’s boss takes on the actual GM responsibilities the way the Raiders and Yankees did for years under legendary owners. Have the brothers learned enough over the last decade to succeed, I guess we’re about to find out.

  22. Macabee Says:

    I really think this is much ado about nothing. Not that Joe is reporting on it because everybody is reporting on it. I say that because for something to be unprecedented it has to never have happened before this time. Is it unprecedented for the Bucs? Maybe! But it’s time we change a few things.

    Has any coach prior to Lovie had complete authority over the roster? I think yes! Was it written into a contract or deferred? I don’t know! But does it matter? Control is control by whatever means. Personally, I think every coach should be able to name who he wants on his roster. It’s a pass/fail system. It should be written into the CBA. It’s the ultimate accountability for winning or losing.

    Let’s define control. If control means being able to accept or reject any player suggested for the roster, that’s one thing. If it means being able to select players and commit the organization to long-term contracts for unreasonable sums of money or practice nepotism at will, that’s another thing. I don’t believe any owner will give any single person that kind of unbridled authority. That’s ownership, not coaching. I don’t believe Lovie has unbridled authority.

    Then look at the man. Yesterday I said that power in the hands of a tyrant is bad for everybody. Lovie Smith is not that guy. I am familiar with the saying “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. Lovie Smith for all the years that we’ve known him, one would best define power as quiet diplomacy. Once we get everything in place and gone through FA and a draft, this discussion will fade into obscurity.

    My opinion, not unprecedented, not a problem and much to do about nothing!

  23. BirdDoggers Says:

    This could turn out to be a non-issue or it could end up being added to the growing list of poor decisions by the Glazers in the past several years. I’m not disappointed with hiring of Lovie. I think it was the right time and the right move by the Glazers. As long as the Bucs have a formidable offense, everything should be ok.

  24. flmike Says:

    Pete Carroll is a master recruiter, he proved it at the college level he can recognize raw talent, go check Lovie’s draft record after he was given power over the personnel, it ain’t pretty…it’s littered with more names that didn’t make it to the season opening roster than did…here’s a link.


  25. BigMacAttack Says:

    Who cares? The Bucs have 1 or 2 decent draft classes since 2002′. Can it really get any worse than it already was? Let’s give the man a chance and see where it goes. Buc Fans have a good deal to look forward to now, not really looking for 8 months of sour grapes from local Media Pond Scum.

  26. Macabee Says:


    You got the history part correct, but you didn’t read the article or you don’t agree with Stroud’s piece. Stroud clearly said “Smith never had such a strong voice in personnel matters with the Chicago Bears”.

    Jerry DeAngelo or Phil Emery made those decisions!

  27. Chrispy0515 Says:

    *And the knit picking begins!*

    I have to laugh and roll my eyes when people say or think “well what has Lovie ever done”, because last time I checked every single head coach in the NFL has made at least one trip to the Superbowl and had several 10-11 win seasons – or not. And last time I checked there was NO Belichik, Parcells, or Cowher type coaches available and there are none of them ever coming out of retirement, so we picked from the large pool of middle tier coaches who has actually taken his team to the big game & done a few things. We have to get far far away from the days of picking coaches who are “learning on the job” and need 4 or 5 years to figure it out ala Raheem and Schiano!

  28. FLBoyInDallas Says:

    I’m sure NFL insiders are aware of which players Lovie advocated for during his time with the Bears and ended up being overruled on by Angelo or Emery, and which ones he got his way on. And I’m also sure they know which of those ended up being successful in the NFL and which did not. I bet it’s widely know among owners and GM’s that Lovie has an eye for talent and was overruled many times by a GM who didn’t have such an eye.

    Yes, it’s speculation, but the Glazers are not stupid people and I’m certain they did their due diligence on Lovie and the positives they discovered far outweighed the negatives. After the Raheem and Schiano debacles they definitely weren’t going to just jump into something they didn’t have a high level of certainty about.

  29. Mumbles Says:

    I’m not about to judge a man’s choices until he makes one!

  30. flmike Says:

    I just don’t like the idea of an unproven personnel guy leading the way…get a proven GM whom Lovie can work with.

  31. flmike Says:

    He was given more power over personnel when he signed his new deal the week after the last SB he was in (2006) so starting in 2007 he had a lot of control over the personnel, which in my mind would say he probably had a lot of input on drafts.

  32. Orca Says:

    Hopefully, the concerns over power will prove to be overblown. The new GM will do all the personnel work and the “final say” issue should only come up when there are disagreements. If the GM and coach are working well together, I don’t think that ultimate power needs to be exercised very often. I think, for the most part they’ll be working by consensus. Lovie doesn’t strike me as a dictator type. Although I prefer a stronger GM, I’m still optimistic.

  33. flmike Says:

    Sorry, last Chi SB was 2007, I believe he signed his new deal shortly after that.

  34. Eric Says:

    At least the rock star isn’t in charge.

    BTW, what is the record of his teams vs. teams with winning records? Im guessing in the teens.

    Even when we went 10-6 I think we only beat one.

    People forget when Lovie took over in Chi town they had had one winning season in eight years.

    He hardly inherited a great team.

  35. FLBoyInDallas Says:


    Great points.

  36. mark2001 Says:

    True Crispy…but it would have seemed logical that a mid-tier Offensive minded coach might have been more in line with our needs. And to give up that kind of power? We kind of did that with Gruden and Allen, and I don’t remember those drafts working out too well.

  37. mark2001 Says:

    Bears 2004 Defense…remember these names…some good ones…Alex Brown, Tommie Harris,Michael Haynes,Israel Idonije,Tank Johnson, Adewale Ogunleye, Lance Briggs, Brian Urlacher, Charles Tillman, …not exactly all “bad players”…many in their prime.

    Now the offensive side wasn’t as good…but before you all “toot up” Lovies good personnel decisions, remember that he had a pretty good core his first year, especially on the D side of the ball.

  38. oldfart44 Says:

    It would seem to me that he would consult with his staff. He does not seem the type to deal autocratically.

    To my way of thinking, the draft is an unknown quantity; now experienced, proven FAs, that’s another story if your team can afford it.

  39. Eric Says:

    Well supposedly we got a bunch of superstars on our defense so things outta work out.

  40. PRBucFan Says:

    The sky is falling the sky is falling!

    How bout we let something bad actually happen before already starting the whining.

    I swear this fan base and its media look for things to cry about and negative things to try and dwell on and be unhappy about.

  41. pick6 Says:

    however it was dressed up, gruden absolutely got that authority after the mckay ouster. unfortunately, it might have been the worst thing to happen to him. i’m sure bruce allen said no from time to time, but gruden got to hand pick a guy with a nearly identical vision for how to stay competitive, so there weren’t many times when they disagreed.

  42. JonBuc Says:

    P u ter Report Fan talking tough again….shocking. Legitimate concern isn’t crying,Sally.

  43. PRBucFan Says:

    Aww the poor baby still wants attention 🙁

  44. JonBuc Says:

    No need for a sad face,Sally. Big talk from a lil’ Scotty R. Type is just tired.

  45. PRBucFan Says:

    Crymore? Need a tissue?

  46. PRBucFan Says:

    *Sniffle big bad Johnny Boy is so so scary

    What makes you look even dumber is the fact that you actually think that PR is associated with Pewter Report. Bahahahahaha!

    Not one of the people that post on this board frequently think Pewter Report in regards to me.

    I digress, I’ve wasted enough time acknowledging you. I won’t anymore, after all you want is attention. You won’t be getting it here. Sorry 🙁

    On Topic:
    Seems Lovie made it pretty clear in this presser “it will be a marriage” and that the Glazers will be choosing the GM.