The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have come under no small amount of criticism in the wake of Lovie Smith being fired by the Glazer family after two seasons.
Most people who cover the NFL felt like Smith had the team headed in the right direction, but the Glazers disagreed and unceremoniously jettisoned him from the organization with a phone call.
Even stranger, his assistant coaches questioned the truth of the report when it came out.
#Bucs coach to me right now: “Is this true? We all just met with Lovie individually today. This is strange. I wonder what happened?"
— Josina Anderson (@JosinaAnderson) January 7, 2016
Smith took a team that won just two games the year before and turned it into a team that went 6-10 the next, showing real promise in the process. The franchise appeared to be in good hands with a man who took the Chicago Bears to Super Bowl XLI.
Then out of the blue, he was gone.
There is no doubt the Glazers dropped the ball with Smith, in more ways than one.
ESPN’s Mike Sando seems to agree. In an article about the attractiveness of the new head coaching destinations around the league (ESPN Insider subscription required), he delved into what some in the industry have anonymously said about the Glazers and none of it is pretty.
He wrote that an agent, two years ago, said the Glazers were owners who played “fantasy football with real people” and said “Jerry Jones Light” was a perfect comparison.
“It is very well known in the industry. They can insist certain people play and certain things be done. It’s a place that they got over the hump, they started winning, they won a Super Bowl, but even with all that, they still haven’t quite established a winning culture that can transcend the coach.”
Of further note is an anonymous executive Sando quoted as saying “the owners scare [him]. A veteran coach told Sando about the Lovie Smith firing that ‘they fire a guy who is bedrock in the industry and they don’t even go to the press conference.'”
It will be interesting to see who the Glazers can get to come coach the team. It’s beginning to look like a potential Jimmy Haslam situation. The Cleveland Browns owner may as well put a sign on the front door that says, “Sign with us and be fired one-to two years later.”
The Glazers appear to be headed in the same direction. As it concerns Smith, general manager Jason Licht told the media they had been patient with the respected coach:
“When you have eight wins, and three home wins, in two years, you have been patient enough,” via NBC Sports.
That’s ice cold.
Who is going to want to join themselves to the hip with the Glazers at this point?
Time will tell. What seems to be certain at this point is that the Glazers are creating their own method for how to ruin an NFL franchise.