Commentary | Lunacy has taken over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

January 25, 2012 

What’s going on inside the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is not about Xs and Os.

It’s about lunacy vs. sanity.

So, thank you, Chip Kelly, for telling the Glazers you will not coach their team.

You saved them from themselves and kept a flicker of hope the family might still get it right.

Kelly was a ready-made disaster set to explode.

Put the Xs and Os part aside for a second. Kelly’s problems with the NCAA could make it impossible for him to instill integrity and discipline in a team badly in need of both.

Can you imagine Kelly telling Aqib Talib and Tarnard Jackson to abide by society’s rules if Kelly himself is bantered as an NCAA cheat who broke the rules and tried to cover it up.

Everyone should be presumed innocent until proven guilty. But the red flags should’ve woken up the Glazer family and general manager Mark Dominik.

Kelly is a target of an ongoing NCAA investigation that might make Ohio State’s “Tresselgate” seem like stealing a few cookies.

Media reports, most notably from Yahoo Sports, link Kelly to a possible payoff scheme to get top recruits to Oregon.

Yahoo said he authorized a $25,000 payment to a scouting service in what might be a violation of NCAA recruiting rules. Then to cover his tracks, Kelly reportedly requested that service send a scouting report that contained outdated material and included a dead player.

Will Lyles, owner of Complete Scouting Services (CSS), said Oregon paid him for his influence with top recruits and their families, according to Yahoo.

“I look back at it now, and they paid for what they saw as my access and influence with recruits,” Lyles said in the story.

Oregon and Kelly won’t comment other than to say they are cooperating with the investigation.

Can you see the headline: New Bucs coach accepts scouting report on dead players.

Now we know why the Bucs folded during their 10-game losing streak. Didn’t we say they looked like zombies.

It makes you wonder if Kelly flirted with the Bucs because he wanted assurances from Oregon that he won’t be fired if this investigation finds him guilty.

The Glazers should never have gotten involved with Kelly.

They are apparently suffering from the Jim Harbaugh syndrome because of the way he came from college and turned the San Francisco 49ers around.

But Harbaugh is the exception to the long list of those who went from successful head college coaches to NFL failures: Steve Spurrier, Nick Saban, Bobby Petrino, Lane Kiffin and Dennis Erickson.

Many such as Spurrier were offensive innovators who put up tons of points in college but couldn’t come close to that in the NFL.

Harbaugh was an NFL quarterback for 15 years and spent two years as quarterbacks coach for the Oakland Raiders. His brother, John, is an NFL head coach.

Harbaugh took a Stanford program that won one game before his arrival and turned it into a national contender in three years. Kelly has only been a head college coach for three years, and Oregon’s record in the five years preceding his arrival was a not-too-shabby 41-21.

College football is all about recruiting, and if the allegations about Kelly are true, he bought his way into the top 10.

Bottom line is Kelly was a high risk. He is a spread-offense guy who’d have to change for the NFL. He coaches for a school that has a reported $16 million football operating budget. He wouldn’t have any of those kinds of perks with the Bucs and might walk after a year or two, like Spurrier, Saban and Petrino.

A lot of people like former Green Bay head coach Mike Sherman and why not. He may not be perfect, but the Bucs don’t need perfection. They need an experienced NFL guy who commands respect.

He won three division titles and had five winning seasons in six years at Green Bay while spending half of that time as GM. The Glazers get a two-for-one deal with his GM experience, and he could serve as a mentor to Dominik, the organization’s butler for media tidings.

Even old war horse Marty Schottenheimer could help, if only on a short term. Someone needs to put the Bucs back on track, and he could do that.

This is not that difficult -- just stop the lunacy.

Alan Dell, Herald sports writer, can be contacted at 745-2112.

Bradenton Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service