During a Friday night news conference, Bucs co-owner Joel Glazer said his family waited until "emotions cooled" before evaluating the Gruden/Allen regime. He said a four-game losing streak to end the season triggered the changing of the guard.
But there is more to this move. Every season was starting to feel like Punxsutawney did to Bill Murray on Feb. 2. For three straight years, it was the same old story in Tampa Bay.
Gruden's ultra-conservative offense would struggle as the efforts of a top-notch defense were wasted.
Gruden would bicker with the lead horses on the quarterback carousel he had assembled. In 2008, Jeff Garcia joined a list of alienated signal-callers that includes former starters Chris Simms and Brad Johnson (Tampa Bay's Super Bowl XXXVII starter). Gruden's Quixotic quest to find the next Rich Gannon was never realized.
Most damning, the Bucs would grind out victories until December and January before the sausage-maker broke. The Bucs suffered four consecutive losses this December and were 1-4 in their final five games of 2006 and 2007. That gave Gruden a three-year record of 2-12 during the most important part of the season. Eventually, watching the same movie over and over again — even one as good as Groundhog Day — becomes intolerable. A 31-24 season-ending loss to lowly Oakland (5-11) was the final curtain. Tampa Bay squandered the chance for an automatic playoff berth that was claimed by current NFC Championship finalist Philadelphia.
So Long Chucky!!!!