TAMPA - Less than 24 hours after the Bucs purged their coaching staff on the heals of three seasons purging their veterans, the slate has been erased with a new era soon to be born.
We all tend to become experts on who should lead this band of (insert your adjective).
I, on the other hand, can't really put a finger on what this team really is as it stands today.
They have no identity, or at least one they care to take hold of moving forward.
For the next who knows how long, the Bucs brass will huddle up in hotel conference rooms or suites, questions in hand, hoping that their next head coach will swing the pendulum upward.
They are not alone.
The only way for me to move any further here is to put myself in the ownership role, which for better or worst, would likely lean toward a Jerry Jones type.
I am the boss, the CEO, the big cheese, not camera shy, a listener, and at times- well, most of the time- opinionated.
I have never played the game at a high level such as the club I now have assumed ownership.
But then again, the people I hire haven't attained the wealth I have. (Remember this is a simulation)
So, since I'm a neophyte in this game/business, what would be my first move with Mark Dominik as my GM?
For one, I would sit down with Mark and have a candid discussion, no bull, just straight shooting talk of who on this football team is worth a darn.
Who did the franchise miss on in the draft? Who did we hit on? Do we have ANY strengths? What are our weaknesses?
I would listen to Mark, and then interject my layman opinion.
My strength doesn't come in the assessment of football talent, but of people. I can smell passion when I see it. I can smell dedication when I'm around it.
Passion is an essential quality one must have to be apart of this organization.
I don't care if someone disagrees with me, wants to tell me that I'm wrong. I want someone who has the guts enough to stand up and be heard because he or she cares enough to do so.
We will debate their thought, and perhaps find out they were right.
Now the hardest thing to discuss when it's your fortune is paying the freight- payroll.
It's so easy for one outside the circle to tell others what to do with their money.
Until you've put skin in the game, and lost millions, it's best to continue playing fantasy football.
I got that message loud and clear when I had a sit down with former TB Bandits owner John Bassett back in the 80's.
He said to me," Do you know what the $10-million dollar club is?" I naturally replied, "When you have accumulated $10-million in cash."
Bassett said," It's when you've lost $10-million and survived." Get the picture.
That's where these owners have been, and survived.
I've felt the pain of losing money in stock market several times, made it back, lost a little more, and rebounded again.
I get the feeling, but on a much smaller scale.
So here I am, faced with the decision to hire a head coach. He's going to cost me somewhere between $4-$7-million a season.
What makes a coach worth that much?
I look at like this.
My new head coach is my CMO- Chief Motivating Officer.
I could care less if he is an offensive minded or defensive minded coach. I want a leader of men not afraid to surround him with successful people.
If he can motivate and lead, push players to a new level they never have achieved, that $4-7 million is money is well spent.
Imagine, with this band of "Little Rascals" (IE-the players), and say he gets through to a third of the players on this roster out of the shoot, we have a chance.
Second, I want my head coach to find the real teachers of my players, the assistant coaches.
This is the most critical decision making that any team can undertake in my mind.
Assistants spend more time in the meeting room with their position players than anyone else.
If they don't know how to deal with the people, get through to people, we're screwed.
A perfect example is the hiring of Jim Leavitt with the 49ers.
Putting aside what did or didn't happen that led to his departure from USF, Leavitt is one of the best motivators of people I've seen.
I would love to have that guy coaching my linebackers here in Tampa Bay than out west.
Do you notice something in common with his head coach?
They have a passion level that almost puts them in a trance that can scare people.
They'll push you to that new level. Get you out of your comfort zone.
Kind of like being on the verge of breaking 80 on the golf course, and you par the final hole instead of double-bogeying it to shoot 79, not 81.
I hope you now see where I'm coming from as I watch my head coach assemble his staff.
Of course, acumen in the game is essential. I'm quite sure my head coach can handle that part of the equation.
I'm quite certain that
the head coach I pick will make sure that these assistant coaches know the fine line of being a players coach and a coach.
I want a Rod Marinelli type. A man who commands respect. A man who makes his players achieve more when they think there is no more of a plateau than the one they're on.
When the day is said and done, the player knows that Rod pushed him there. Why? Because he cared. Because he had the driving passion not to relent. That was his job.
So, now we get into the good stuff. It's time to hire a head coach.
I can tell you he will not be a coach who has hit the plateau, a Norv Turner type who can get only to a certain level, and like I mentioned above, not break out of the "comfort zone."
My top choice is Bill Cowher, with reservations.
He would have to convince me he wants back into coaching.
These TV jobs are cushy, and before you know it, you're hooked.
He better be within an inch of choking me when I question his passion to return to the game.
If he was, he's hired.
Jeff Fisher is my next choice, and frankly, he might be my top choice.
I like what he did at Tennessee. He wasn't the longest tenured coach in the league until he and Titans parted ways last year.
I think he is a good communicator. I think he is a good CEO. I think he is a winner.
He is also a no BS kind of guy.
He is the kind of guy I think my franchise needs right now.
A success story. A name with recent credentials, not something from the 90's.
If I were to land Fisher, I can now concentrate on breaking 79, and he can concentrate on weeding out the weak and replacing them with the strong.
You will now think about coming back to spend an afternoon with me and my team at Ray Jay on a Sunday afternoon.
I don't like losing either my money or on the scoreboard.
One last thing.
My players and coaches don't either.