Shocking development late on Friday...The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have fired General Manager Bruce Allen and Head Coach Jon Gruden. From the Buccaneers.com website, an official statement from Bucs co-chairman Joel Glazer, “We will be forever grateful to Jon for bringing us the Super Bowl title, and we thank Bruce for his contributions to our franchise, however after careful consideration, we feel that this decision is in the best interest of our organization moving forward.”
Adam Schefter of the NFL Network said former General Manager Bruce Allen stated, "December did us in," referring to the four game collapse where the Buccaneers fell from 9-3 and the 2nd seed to 9-7 and out of the playoffs.
The story will continue to develop, some speculate that the Bucs may have someone (Mike Shanahan anyone?) in waiting.
JC De La Torre's Tampa Bay Sports Blog would like to take this opportunity to thank Jon Gruden for the Super Bowl championship and three division titles. We'd also like to thank Bruce Allen for tackling the tough task of getting Tampa Bay out of cap hell and setting up the Buccaneers for this season and the future with an impressive $45 million dollar cap surplus.
Folks, I'm stunned. While I made no bones about my feeling that Jon should be dismissed for the late season collapse and overall body of work since 2003 I am suprised because Gruden and Allen got through Black Monday in the NFL unscathed.
As a Buccaneer fan, we can only hope that the Buccaneers coaching search ends better than the last time they fired a coach. Buccaneer co-chairman Joel and Bryan Glazer scoured the country for a coach and ended up surrendering two first round picks, a second, a third and $8 million bucks to the Raiders for Gruden. Of course, Jon's hiring paid off as the Buccaneers won Super Bowl 37. After the Super Bowl, the team began its inevitable decline as the team descended into salary cap hell, Rich McKay left the sinking ship and Bruce Allen came in. Allen was forced to dismantle the championship team, ushering the exit of John Lynch, Warren Sapp, Joe Jurivecius, Keyshawn Johnson, Keenan McCardell, and others. Gruden drew criticsm for his treatment of players (fan favorite Mike Alstott in particular) and earned the reputation of being "two-faced".
Again, we'll keep on this through the night and let you know as soon as we hear anything on this story.