Why Josh Freeman Smear Campaign Should Cost Greg Schiano Head Coaching Job

Knox Bardeen@knoxbardeenNFC South Lead WriterOctober 2, 2013

FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 22:  Head coach Greg Schiano holds his head during the fourth quarter of their 23-3 loss to the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on September 22, 2013 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Winslow Townson/Getty Images)
Winslow Townson/Getty Images

When most quarterbacks lose their job in the NFL, while it’s never an enjoyable experience, both the team and player handle the demotion with dignity and respect. The NFL is a business after all, and these are usually business decisions.

The decision to bench Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman is starting to look less and less like a business decision and more a personal vendetta by head coach Greg Schiano.

A brief history from the two weeks before Freeman was benched for rookie Mike Glennon:

After a rumor surfaced on Sept. 11 that Schiano rigged the team captain vote to ensure Freeman wasn’t elected, a second rumor (perfectly timed to take the heat off the vote-rigging debacle) came to light.

According to Ira Kaufman of the Tampa Tribune, Freeman missed the team photo, casting doubt on his reliability as a team leader. No one is sure who leaked the news, but it was handed to multiple news outlets at relatively the same time.

On Sept. 25, ESPN’s Adam Schefter broke the news that Freeman would be benched for Glennon.

Not only was Freeman benched for the Sept. 29 game against the Arizona Cardinals, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times citing Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer said Freeman was asked not to be on the sideline for the game. Freeman watched from a luxury suite.

Yesterday, Jay Glazer of Fox Football Daily reported that Freeman was asked to stay away from a team meeting, even though Freeman was in the building at One Buc Place.

Also yesterday, Chris Mortensen of ESPN revealed news that Freeman is a Stage 1 participant of the NFL’s drug program. Today, according to Pat Yasinskas of ESPN, NFL Players Association head DeMaurice Smith announced the union would investigate the news leak of Freeman’s private matter.

Where did this leak come from?

Schiano told the press that he was “absolutely not” the one who leaked Freeman’s personal, private information.

Schiano has lost control of this nasty situation. And whether or not he’s the culprit behind getting the mudslinging started, his credibility has taken a huge hit.

Schiano’s dealt with the fallout from his team’s 0-4 start, the benching of his quarterback, an unhappy Darrell Revis and two scandals. And that’s just in the last three weeks.

If you go back and Watch Glazer’s Fox Football Daily report, he mentions Lovie Smith as a candidate to replace Schiano. Apparently Glazer thinks Schiano could go. I agree.

Schiano might not be responsible for leaking sensitive information or rigging a team vote, but Schiano is responsible for what happens inside his own house; the dumpster fire that is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is solidly under his purveyance.

The Buccaneers need to start looking for a new head coach. Take Glazer’s advice and talk to Smith, look around the league at some of the great coordinator candidates. But do not look at the college ranks. There’s no way a college coach could come in after Schiano and be successful.

If you’ll allow me to mix sports metaphors for a moment, in the classic movie Bull Durham, Kevin Costner’s character Crash Davis advises Tim Robbins’ character Ebby Calvin LaLoosh that winning solves everything.

If you win 20 (games) in the Show, you can let the fungus grow back on your shower shoes and the press will think you’re colorful. Until you win 20 in the Show, however, it means you’re a slob.

The Tampa Bay franchise is that pair of shower shoes, and Schiano is the fungus. He’s 7-13 as the Bucs head coach and can’t win enough games to make this devastated franchise whole again.

Unless otherwise noted, all quotes and statements were obtained firsthand.

Knox Bardeen is the NFC South lead writer for Bleacher Report and the author of “100 Things Falcons Fans Should Know & Do Before they Die.” Be sure to follow Knox on Twitter.


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