A few of years ago (1999/2000), the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ head coach was Tony Dungy, and they had a high-caliber team. All the great players—both offense and defense—had to raise their intensity to rally around rookie quarterback, Shaun King, and they were winning games.
Then, it all began to fall apart. It wasn’t a nosedive; it happened gradually, as if they were decaying from the inside-out. It all started after they signed Keyshawn “Me First, I’m The Talent, Call Me Ebola” Johnson, and it eventually cost Dungy (the winningest coach in Bucs history) his job.
Why? For the same reason they leave it up to hockey players in the NHL to decide who wears the captain’s “C” on their sweater: It’s all about the locker room. More times than not, the one guy off the ice who kicks ass when it needs to be kicked, fosters a feeling of family, of “one-ness” is the man wearing the “C”. Only after you convince the players that they’re playing as a team, that no one man is more important than the team… only after that is when you get the opportunity to achieve the elusive “chemistry” that just makes shit work.
As soon as Keyshawn walked into the Bucs’ locker room… everything started going to hell. The cohesiveness, or the idea that such a thing was required at the time, disappeared.
Jon Gruden took them to the Superbowl last year, and won. Great. But the Keyshawn virus continued to fester. They’ve lost a lot of great players, retained a lot of great players, but after him… they’re just players… not members of a team. That reflects in their sorry record this year. As defending Superbowl champions, they’ll be lucky to make a wildcard spot at this point.
Now that Keyshawn Johnson is going to Fox Sports to be some sort of media circus freak… allow me to say… don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out, you fuck. Good riddance.
Dungy should have benched him three years ago, damnit.