Commentary | Tampa Bay Buccaneers' new uniforms too much a reminder of Rutgers and Greg Schiano

March 5, 2014 

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers say the new look honors the essence and evolution of the team - past, present, future. (Courtesy: Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

TAMPA

So that explains it.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers co-chairman Edward Glazer says his franchise worked nearly two years with Nike to design the team's new uniforms.

It was during that time Greg Schiano became the Bucs general in a coup that was swift and clean.

While the Glazer family, which owns the team, was busy toying with the uniforms, former General Manager Mark Dominik sneaked Schiano in the back door and signed him to a five-year head coaching deal.

The Glazers have been known to put their priorities in the wrong place at times, and the former Rutgers coach is an opportunist.

Schiano lasted about two years as Tampa Bay's head coach, or a few months short of the Bucs unveiling their new uniforms.

So maybe those rumors that the uniforms had an R for Rutgers until Schiano was fired a few months ago are true.

But here is what's going to turn some fans off: The Bucs' new uniforms could be Rutgers-look-alikes.

Oh there are differences; the Scarlet Knights don't have numbers that resemble digital alarm clocks or a reflective chrome border, but this is too close for comfort. The big R on the Rutgers helmet looks equal in size to the Bucs flag on their helmets.

No matter how small the resemblance, Bucs fan are trying to forget Schiano like a bad dream.

It's troublesome enough that every time Mike Glennon lines up at quarterback Schiano memories will be splattered all over Raymond James Stadium or wherever the new pewter is being displayed.

This makes you wonder if the wannabe Bill Belichick is behind the uniform design.

Schiano is the kind of guy who can't let go, and if you are going to fire him he is going to make darn sure you don't forget him.

Maybe his offense was dull because he was more concerned with empty uniforms than those filled by Bucs opponents.

It's going to take the Bucs fan base a long time to get over all those former Rutgers coaches walking around One Buc Place with playbooks that had a big R on the cover.

The best thing about Monday was that Glennon was not asked to showcase the uniform. It makes you believe new head coach Lovie Smith was saying volumes in his silence about Glennon and refusal to anoint him anything more than a clipboard carrier.

Running back Doug Martin and defensive lineman Gerald McCoy were the safe choices to walk down the runway with the Glazer/Nike gear. They could've asked $16 million man Darrelle Revis, but those rumors that teams are inquiring about his availability are apparently more than just small talk.

The uniforms do look spiffy, and if the Seattle Seahawks can wear similar attire and win a Super Bowl, well, why not.

But this Rutgers reminder, no matter how small, cancels all celebrations.

Rutgers reminds us of Schiano, the Scarlet Knights head coach for 11 years before he traveled south to replace Raheem Morris.

And Schiano?

He reminds of MRSA, scandals, back-door knifings, comical game schemes and Lawrence Tynes' wife flinging harpoons hoping one will land on Schiano's foot.

But here is good news.

Uniforms are like coaches.

If you win, they both look good.

So in the end what bodies are roaming around inside those uniforms will determine their popularity.

The fashion police are on alert, but they haven't been called in to do an inspection, and nobody is screaming for those creamsicle pants and shirts with the white helmets.

Uniforms aside, the Lovie lovefest is still blooming.

Alan Dell, Herald sports writer, can be reached at 941-745-7056. Follow him on Twitter @ADellSports.

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