All the Times' report did was put an exclamation point on what we already knew - that unless Dungy carried this Buccaneer team deep into the postseason that the Glazers had already made up their mind that Dungy, who became the team's all-time winningest coach during his six years in Tampa Bay, would be fired. The Glazers have had Tuna on their mind for some time.
As someone with a degree in public relations, I can somewhat understand why the Glazers didn't want to comment about the obvious - the fact that they longed for Parcells to coach the Bucs - because of how it would look. It would look like the Bucs' ownership undermined Dungy by secretly plotting his fate and seeking his successor while he still had a job. Sometimes looks can be deceiving, but not in this case. This was obvious, too obvious.
Are we supposed to believe that the first time the Glazers even thought of Parcells was on Tuesday after Dungy's firing, as they said at their press conference on Tuesday?
We're not that stupid, and they're not that stupid, as Bucs wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson pointed out.
"I would like to think that with a franchise worth $600 million and a full stadium of 67,000 that they have an idea about what's next," Johnson said on WDAE 620-AM about the Glazers regarding the possible hiring of Parcells. "I think they are smart enough to know the path that they'll take. Why wouldn't they have a plan? They're not going to show their hand. Why would they? That's business."
The Glazers are smart, shrewd, ultra-successful businessmen who have resurrected this franchise from the dead. They had a tough decision to make regarding firing a very likeable and popular coach in Dungy, but they felt it was in the franchise's best interest.
"The easy thing in this situation would have been to do nothing. Do absolutely nothing," Joel Glazer said. "Keep going forward and do nothing. That's simple. Not controversial. But we're trying to win a championship here. And we're doing what we think is the best to bring this town a championship."
Indeed a bold move by owners I would like to think are bold, but why didn't they just admit the obvious? Why not just succumb to the millions of rumors that are going to turn out to be absolutely true anyways? Why not just be bold, be brave and tell the whole truth?
If I were a Glazer I would have walked out in front of the media yesterday and said that the ownership didn't like the direction the team was going. The Bucs' 9-8 record and early exit from the playoffs this year is worse than last year's 10-7 record and early exit from the playoffs, and a far cry from the team that came within six points of the Super Bowl in 1999. That's some pretty strong evidence.
I would have pointed out that Parcells has the stronger resume` which includes two Super Bowl championships. Who knows if Dungy will ever take a team to the Super Bowl, and the way Tampa Bay's record and offense were going - backwards - this was the direction the team was going to take. I would have pointed out that Dungy didn't have a clue about offense and that I, as an owner, was just as sick and tired of watching this team struggle to put points on the board as the fans were.
But instead of saying those reasonable things, the Glazers tried to sell the idea that no one had contacted Parcells or any of his agents or representatives to dozens of skeptical reporters on Tuesday.
The way the owners bungled the Dungy firing with their deafening silence and then tried to say that they didn't have a backup plan once they canned him is comical. They should have cut their losses and admitted the obvious. But then again, this team's strong suit is not public relations.
Then the team's p.r. department puts out a release mentioning that the Glazers' first contact with Parcells' agent, Jimmy Sexton, actually came Tuesday afternoon after the Glazers' 1:30 p.m. press conference with reporters.
At their press conference, the Glazers preached patience in their search for Dungy's successor.
"In everything we do, we like to take our time and make a careful decision," Joel Glazer said. "There's a lot of good football coaches in the National Football League."
"There's a lot of candidates out there, and it'll play itself out."
Parcells is their guy. We've known it all along. Why can't the Glazers see that the cat is out of the bag and admit that?
There was no good way to fire the classy Dungy. There's no way of avoiding some criticism over his dismissal and for not commenting on the situation. But the better way to have handled it would to have cancelled the appointment with the spin doctors and come out bold and brave and admit that they preferred to have Parcells as coach. Instead the Glazers had the criticism of not contacting Parcells heaped on top of the criticism of the way they handled Dungy's firing.
That's why we saw that press release yesterday stating that Parcells had been contacted.
The Glazers don't appear before the cameras very often. They are the anti-Jerry Joneses and the anti-Dan Snyders. They appear uncomfortable at press conferences and were squirming and spinning and using words like "the focus is on" too much yesterday. Their body language doesn't exactly project confidence in the words that come out of their mouth.
The one time that I wasn't skeptical of them yesterday was when Bryan Glazer forcefully and confidently said that the team hadn't been sold and wasn't for sale.
Criticize the Glazers or not, but in the end they are doing the right thing by bringing Parcells on board. They are just taking a long, difficult road getting there.
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