I just finished reading all 1,808 words written by Mike Silver of NFL.com regarding the Tampa Bay reign of terror orchestrated by Greg Schiano. Silver, who like all of us likes to be right, put Schiano in the crosshairs last year, after Schiano ordered his players to “blow up” victory formation in the hopes of forcing a Miracle of the Meadowlands, Part II.
With the Bucs starting 0-6 and losing 11 of 12, Silver now looks prescient. But there was a stretch in 2012 where the griping about Schiano came to a halt.
It’s known as a four-game winning streak.
For any coach, good or bad, the ultimate litmus test is wins versus losses. If Schiano were a nice guy that everybody liked, people would still be calling for his job in the midst of a two-season 1-11 slide. Though the opponents would be less driven to see him fall, losing would still eventually claim his job.
Coaches like Schiano, who choose a my-way-or-highway approach thinking it will spur the team to winning more games than it loses, surely realize that, if the wins don’t come, the complaints will. And the enemies will be cultivated, and motivated.
It’s an all-in risk for coaches of that ilk, whether it’s Schiano or Bill Belichick or Josh McDaniels or Todd Haley or Eric Mangini or the godfather of all modern hard-ass coaches, Bill Parcells. Win and it’s overlooked. Lose, and it’s time to get rid of the overlord.
Is Schiano a jerk? Apparently. If he were winning would it be forgiven? Hell, it would be celebrated.
Because Schiano is who he is, losing invites stronger complaints. It’s still hard to take all of them seriously, especially when former Buccaneers defensive end Michael Bennett had made it known that he would have stayed in Tampa if they had offered him what he wanted financially.
“If it was good I would have took it and been a Buccaneer but so I’m just moving on and seeing what’s out there for me,” Bennett told Pro Football Talk on NBCSN in March.
“Hopefully I can be back with the Bucs but I’m not sure if that’s going to happen or not right now,” Bennett said elsewhere.
Still, complaints don’t have to be accurate or even reasonable. When a coach is losing, complaints are inevitable.
The only way to stop the complaining is to start winning. For Schiano, the clock is ticking. Loudly.