"The sad thing is it happens about a half-dozen times a year in this league when (an assistant) is allowed to leave to become a coordinator. Just not here."
"I'll be bummed out. I'll sulk around for a couple of days,"
The above comments are Bucs linebacker coach Joe Barry stabbing the Bucs organization in the back. I would expect a reaction like this from Terrell Owens or Joe Horn, but not from a coach.
In the bigger picture, it will be interesting to see if Barry's comments have any effect on the Buc's ability to hire new defensive coaches. With seven first time head coaches, all from the NFL assistant ranks, a good number of franchises will be looking to hire new defensive staff for two reasons.
First, new coaches like to bring in their own people, which typically involves promoting new blood. Or, more simply put, a vacuum at the top brings new coaches up through the ranks.
Second, three new head coaches (and I'm including Dick Jauron to the Bills) were previously assistant defensive coaches.
Last time around (2001), Monte Kiffin looked to the collegiate ranks to replace his departed staff. Here's hoping the Bucs are as successful replacing their staff this time.
Conference Championship Games
This is why I don't attempt to forecast games. I picked Denver and Carolina, so of course Seattle and Pittsburgh won.
Once again, the team that played better defense and created turnovers won the day. But what really hurt the Panthers and Broncos was a lack of weapons on offense. Pittsburgh was able to shut down the Broncos running game, and both Rod Smith and Ashley Lelie were unable to make plays. Cedric Wilson, a largely underutilized receiver for the Steelers, was able to exploit mismatches yesterday in route to 92 yards and a touchdown.
The Seahawks also depended on receiver who, for much of the season had played a minor role in the offense. Tightend Jeremy Stevens consistently found holes in the Panther's defense and finished the game with 66 yards and a touchdown. The Panthers could have kissed the win good bye when Nate Goings was injured, and Carolina was forced to play their fourth string runningback. Left with only Steve Smith to worry about, Seattle was on the Mighty Midget like white on rice.
Super Bowl XL
For the next two weeks there will be roughly 50,000 columns, 8,000 interviews and a couple dozen Hasselbeck/balding jokes about the Super Bowl. By kickoff you will know what every player had for breakfast and how badly their shit stinks.
I ain't buying that Pittsburgh will dominate Seattle. While it's true the AFC was the better conference this season (again), Pittsburgh is still a six seed and Seattle is the one seed. The regular season does not count for a whole lot at this point, but it has to count for something.
Three of the last four Super Bowls have been decided by three points. The one blowout is the Buc's victory over the Raiders which is an aberration (since Gruden had the advantage of going against his old team).
Parity allowed a number six seed advance to the Super Bowl for the first time, and parity should ensure that the Super Bowl is a close game.