Somebody please inform me if ANYBODY thought the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would have double-digit wins this season.
Actually, someone show me anyone who had them having a winning record.
ACTUALLY, show me someone who had them even reaching .500.
Nobody, not even the most faithful Tampa Bay fan, saw them reaching 10 wins and coming within one game of the playoffs.
The Bucs were too young, too inexperienced, too unpredictable. They had a second-year quarterback and second-year coach. Their best player (Ronde Barber) is a YEAR older than the head coach. The running back was a cast-off from other teams, and was known more for punching people than breaking runs.
Yet from the beginning, Morris believed in them. He knew the team had the potential to win 10 games—in fact, that was his goal for the year—and they did it. If they don't lose to Detroit in an easily winnable game, they're in the playoffs. Josh Freeman became one of the most clutch quarterbacks league under Morris. The terrifying Tampa defense of the past was reborn.
Yes, they only had one serious quality win against New Orleans in the season finale, but with the exception of the first meeting between the teams and the matchup against Pittsburgh, the Buccaneers were competitive in every game they played in, especially the games against Atlanta, where Tampa was one goal line stand and one Eric Weems return from beating the Falcons.
Morris was relatively unknown when he became head coach. He went from defensive backs coach to defensive coordinator to head coach. Most thought that he wasn't up to it, that this no-namer couldn't hang with the big boys. And last year, he couldn't. They went 4-12.
Bill Belichick is an amazing coach, there is no doubt. He can make any team into a winning one, and is definitely in the discussion as one of the best coaches ever.
But the Patriots are a powerhouse. They are a dynasty. Most people are not shocked when they get double-digit wins. For a young coach, with a young team, to get into that club, and to not be named by the AP as Coach of the Year, is mind-blowing.
We, as Tampa Bay fans and fans of the NFL, can rest in the fact that Morris exceeded expectations, and will take a young group of talented athletes and make them contenders.