Half Truth #1- The offense was inept despite having a Pro Bowl QB.
The Other Half- Yes Trent Dilfer was a Pro Bowler in 1997. In 1995 he also had a Clausen-esque debacle of a season. In 1995, which was Dilfer's second in the NFL but first as a starter, he had 4 TD passes and 18 INTs. Schula took over in 1996. Dilfer showed some improvement in 1996 and then developed into a Pro Bowl QB in 1997 with 21 TDs and 11 INTs, all under the tutelage of Mike Schula. Statistically, it would end up being the best season of Dilfer's career in which he started 8 or more games. Including when he won a Super Bowl in Baltimore.
Half Truth #2- In response to people saying "He was hamstrung by Dungy's conservative tendencies" people have stated "He was so bad that his replacement took the same offense and jumped to #6 in the NFL in PPG"
The Other Half- Yes it is true that the year after Shula was replaced by Les Steckel Tampa Bay jumped to #6 in points per game. On paper it looks like an incredible turnaround.
So how did Steckel get repaid for this amazing turnaround? Did he get a raise? Did Steckel get an extension? Did another team swoop in and hire him as a head coach?
No. He was fired. After one season. Dungy stated in his reasoning for firing Steckel:
"It's a little bit of chemistry, a little bit of fit, a little bit of what I want to do, how I want to do things. It is just hard to explain and put a finger on and let everyone know without getting into a lot of detail that we just can't get into."
Despite the turnaround in points per game Dungy did not like the way the offense was being run and after only one season decided to fire that OC.
Half Truth #3- Schula did not use Shaun King, he had Dilfer his entire time
The Other Half- It is true that Dilfer started the majority of the games during Schula's tenure. But he did have Shaun King in 1999 and Shaun King started 5 regular season games for Shula after Dilfer got hurt. During those 5 games they only scored less than 20 points once (granted that one game was a shutout). The next season (2000), with Shaun King as the full time starting QB they continued that trend and improved offensively and were very similar to how they closed their last 5 games of the regular season in 1999. That fact begs the question, what was really holding the offense back in for most of 1999, Mike Schula or Trent Dilfer?
They did struggle offensively in the playoffs in 1999, but that also happened in 2000 when the only mustered 3 points in a loss against the Eagles.
The point isn't that I think Schula was a great hire, or that he will be a great coordinator. My point is, if we are going to have a serious conversation about his time in Tampa and how that disqualifies or qualifies him to be a OC 12 years later, it is important that we have all the facts straight.