In the NFL, things that work for one team get borrowed by another. The copycat concept applies not only to X’s and O’s, but also to the men responsible for the X’s and O’s.
After Pete Carroll’s success in Seattle, the pendulum swung back toward college head coaches. The abject failure of Greg Schiano in Tampa will push the needle away from coaches (college or otherwise) with a my-way-or-my-way style.
And the sudden transformation of the Chiefs from 2-14 to 7-0 via the hiring of one of the newest members of Jon Gruden’s FFCA will make another guy who was fired after the 2012 season even more attractive.
While former Bears coach Lovie Smith didn’t have the same level of sustained success as Andy Reid in Philly, Smith won 84 of 150 games (56 percent), he led the Bears to three playoff berths, a pair of NFC title games, and one Super Bowl appearance in nine seasons on the job. The Bears also were in contention for the postseason in most of Smith’s seasons, a dynamic that helps keep the home team relevant (and profitable) deep into December.
Smith, who coached linebackers in Tampa under Tony Dungy before becoming the defensive coordinator in St. Louis, would become an obvious choice to stabilize a currently rudderless Buccaneers franchise. But Smith also could draw significant interest from teams like the Vikings (if they make a change), the Lions (if they make a change), and the Texans (if they make a change . . . why did I keep typing that when I could have just pasted it?).
As owners begin to put together their private wish lists for 2014, Reid’s success in Kansas City will make fired former coaches with a track record of winning games more attractive. And that could put Smith in position to choose from among multiple jobs.
While the official process won’t begin until January, it would be foolish to assume that teams will wait that long. And because Smith is a minority candidate, the Bucs technically could hire him as the interim coach for the balance of the season — and then instantly make him the permanent coach in January without conducting any further interviews.
It would be an unconventional move, to be sure. But that may be the only way for the Buccaneers to beat the other inevitable suitors for Smith’s services to the punch.