May 18, 2021

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Expectations of a Madman

3 min read

Still shot of Jack Torrance played by actor Jack Nicholson in the 1980 Stanley Kubrick adapation of Stephen King's novel the Shining

After the news broke that Dirk Koetter had been dethroned as head coach, I was among the many that were believing that this may be our chance to score finally a maverick head coach.

Of course, in the back of my mind was the same haunting whisper that everyone else was having, “It’s the Bucs, so don’t get too happy.” However, as a Buccaneer faithful, I joined in the collaborated hopeful that we could land a John, or Jim Harbaugh, a Bruce Arians, or resurrect Vince Lombardi, or Tom Landry. Hell, I would have been happy with one of those Belichick coaches as well.

When I started Bucs Life Media with my good pal Scott Bradford, we had the inside tip that Bruce Arians was signing on with the Buccaneers and that he was bringing along with him a whole new coaching staff, which included Byron Leftwich and Todd Bowles. For me, that’s when the WOW effect first hit me.

Needless to say, when the announcement was made that Arians was our head coach and who the assistant coaches would be that were joining him, many fans began fantasizing that the sub .500 seasons were going to be a thing of the past.

I was one of those dreamers myself.

I still have faith that achieving .500 or better is feasible. However, I wasn’t one of those that instantly believed 12-4 was on the table. Hell, I felt before preseason that 9-7 was possible, 8-8 probable, and 10-6, if everything went the right way. And here we are at 2-5 after eight weeks.

Since 2014, by Week 8, we’ve come in at 1-7 and 3-7 (2015) under Lovie Smith, finishing those seasons 2-14 and 6-10, respectively. Before the 2016 season, we gave Ol’ Lovie the boot; promoted Drik Koetter, and he sold us tickets to a roller coaster ride of 3-7 (2016), 2-7 (2017) and 3-7, finishing those seasons to a depressing melody of 9-7, 5-11, and 5-11 (In that order).

Are we sensing a pattern here?

As fans, we go crazy by thoughts that a new head coach translates to a new beginning, and that a proven coach would immediately provide us with wins. There comes to mind the adage: Rome wasn’t built in a day, and many of us, in part, coin the phrase often yet ignore the muffled connotation while continuing to run wild with expectations.

Should we blame ourselves for wanting to win?

Four years ago was our first taste of a winning season in almost ten years. That’s when the Buccaneer last made the playoffs (2007) making 9-7 most glorious. Gruden did give us a handful of wins, and so did Dungy. But three winning seasons since 2007, is the reason why Bucs fans demand immediate results so often.

Let’s be realistic.

Following the tenures of Schiano, Smith, and Koetter, do we honestly expect Bruce Arians in all his exuberance to waltz right into Tampa Bay and immediately turn us into Champions? Only if we have the expectations of a madman.

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