Martin Fennelly Columns
Mike Sherman fever: Could Bucs fans catch it?
TAMPA - Did the Tampa Bay Buccaneers just interview their new head coach? So what if the Glazers flinched slightly when Mike Sherman met them wearing a London bobby helmet. "I've always wanted to go to England!" So what if Sherman, in turn, laughed out loud and spit up his Diet Sprite when one Glazer said, "We are going to spend whatever it takes to win."Did the Bucs just interview their new head coach? It has that feel. What does the name "Mike Sherman" do for you, Bucs fans? Well, my friend and co-worker Sammy the serious Packers fan beat you to it. "Let's put it this way," Sammy said. "There's no Mike Sherman Avenue in Green Bay." I have very nearly no reaction, though I'm sure the whole idea must be calming to somehow surviving Bucs GM Mark Dominik. The two men share an agent. How much muscle would Sherman really have here after having lost two of his last three jobs? Where's his real leverage? Dominik won't have to sleep with one eye open. Give the Family Glazer some credit: Two of the three Bucs head coaches they've hired could get any job in football. One of them could probably run for president (um, Dungy, not Gruden, unless you want Rich Gannon as Secretary of State). Still, locking up Mike Sherman … Man, we got Sherman! … wouldn't inspire, or sizzle, or anything. It's not like LeBron coming to South Beach, you know? But outside of bringing in Bill Cowher (no chance), what hire would? My lone memory of Sherman is his postgame confrontation with Warren Sapp after Sapp's hit on Packers offensive lineman Chad Clifton at Raymond James Stadium during the Bucs' Super Bowl season. The Packers and Bucs seemed on a collision course that playoff season. Only Sherman's Packers were upset at home in their playoff opener against Michael Vick and the Falcons. Oops. Did the Bucs just interview their next head coach? I don't see why the Glazers, if only for exercise, wouldn't entertain the likes of Brian Billick and Jeff Fisher. Why not explore all options? True, Billick won his Super Bowl 11 years ago. Fisher came within about two feet of sending a Super Bowl to overtime the year before that. A long time ago … Oh, wait: The Bucs haven't been to the playoffs in four years, or won a playoff game in eight. Sherman, while winning while he was in Green Bay (20 games over .500), never managed to get Brett Favre to a conference title game. Mike McCarthy, who replaced Sherman, has taken the Packers to two NFC title games, plus a world championship, and they're 15-1 this season. But Sherman, unexciting as he seems, is any number of things the last Bucs head coach isn't, and that might be enough for the Glazers and certainly for Dominik, who are clearly seeking comfort. Sherman is 57, unlike Raheem, he has head coaching experience, unlike Raheem, he is known as a discipline guy, unlike Raheem, and he is known as an offensive guy, unlike Raheem. "Unlike Raheem" is going to be a major plus for any candidate. It might even get the owners off their wallets and the GM to get off his owner-pleasing so the new coach has the very best chance of succeeding — unlike Raheem. Did the Bucs just interview their new head coach? It has that feel, even if there's no dancing in the streets — or a Mike Sherman Avenue.