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teeray

Dispelling some half-truths about Shula's time in Tampa

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There has been a lot of discussion about Shula's time in Tampa so I think there are a couple of things that people should know to provide context to his failure in Tampa Bay.

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."

http://amarillo.com/.../spo_bucs.shtml

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.

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It's easy for people who didn't live through it to rationalize.

Imagine if the Panthers rehired Seifert. Would you want to go through that again? Well, that's how I'm feeling right about now. Lol

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Let's just be honest about Tampa back then!!!

They were a Pound the football type of team. They ran Warrick Dunn and Mike Alstott into the fuggin ground!!!!!

They pounded the damned football down their opponents throats!

They never had a QB that provided a vertical threat... They ran the damned ball and The Tampa 2 was born.

You can't take anything away from Shula's tenure there besides he turned Trent fuggin Dilfer into a Pro Bowl QB...

Jesus, are we done with this BS yet!?

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Yea firing Steckel really worked out for Dungy when he got fired a year later from Tampa, along with his entire offensive coaching staff

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Yea firing Steckel really worked out for Dungy when he got fired a year later from Tampa, along with his entire offensive coaching staff

The Bucs had the 6th ranked scoring offense once Shula was fired. Much better than Shula.

Steckel was fired by ownership after scoring only 3 points in NFC champ game.

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The Bucs had the 6th ranked scoring offense once Shula was fired. Much better than Shula.

Steckel was fired by ownership after scoring only 3 points in NFC champ game.

Did they not also have a different starting QB and sign Keyshawn Johnson? I'm not trying to say Shula is a good OC, I'm just saying that like the OP said, what happened 12 years ago shouldn't disqualify someone. We turned down Hue Jackson for him so obviously our FO(who i often disagree with) saw something they liked in him.

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Also it should be noted when Steckel was released, Dungy promoted his QB coach, Clyde Christensen, to OC, for "continuity"

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It's easy for people who didn't live through it to rationalize.

Imagine if the Panthers rehired Seifert. Would you want to go through that again? Well, that's how I'm feeling right about now. Lol

Ok, he was terrible, we all know that.. but this was 12 YEARS AGO! no one is saying he's gonna be a wizard but lets give him a chance to see if he really has learned something from his Alabama/Tampa days... If he hasn't, this staff won't be here for long obviously lol

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Those are fair points OP. What about his time @ Alabama?

All In know about that is that the Alabama job was so toxic after the NCAA nearly gave them the death penalty that Dennis Franchione felt like he had to bolt from Alabama to take the Texas A&M job opening the door for Shula to take over a debacle with a roster that had been built during a two year period that had bowl bans each year and major reduction in scholarships over three years.

Alabama was hit so hard that the NCAA stated this:

The governing body said it considered giving the Crimson Tide the most severe punishment — the death penalty — under the repeat violator rules for a recruiting scandal in which boosters were accused of paying money for high school players.

"They were absolutely staring down the barrel of a gun," said Thomas Yeager, chairman of the infractions committee.

That is a tall order for anyone to fix or succeed.

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