Saturday, December 15, 2007

Bucs Gruden, not Dungy to join Elite company

TAMPA - Bucs coach Jon Gruden's
name is not always mentioned among the NFL's coaching elite, but his
resume makes a strong case for some well-earned recognition.

If Tampa Bay defeats Atlanta at home on Sunday, the Bucs will clinch
the NFC South. In addition, Gruden will claim his fifth division title
since 2000; he won division crowns in Oakland (2000-01) and Tampa Bay
(2002, 2005).

New England coach Bill Belichick currently has the most success with seven titles since 2000. Philadelphia's Andy Reid, Indianapolis' Tony Dungy, Seattle's Mike Holmgren
and Gruden will be tied at five after this season, assuming Tampa Bay
and Indianapolis win their divisions. The Patriots and Seahawks already
have clinched their respective divisions.

"I would rather win that second Super Bowl," Gruden said. "You want
to qualify for the playoffs, and you want to have a chance to compete
for a championship. I try to keep myself very shallow with these guys.
The pressure and all that stuff, everybody can handle.

"We've just got to take a good look at what we can do to improve,
keep improving and stay on the gas pedal in terms of improving. That's
what I'm most interested in."

Gruden is tied with John McKay (1979, 1981) with two division titles with Tampa Bay. Dungy had one (1999).

Although Gruden is only one victory from another title, his
reflection on the latest accomplishment will not occur until after this

"It's hard to win. There are a lot of teams that have not won a
division title in 10 years, 20 years," Gruden said. "You want to
qualify to win your division and make the playoffs and get a home-field
playoff game. It's a great step getting to the only bowl game in our

"I try not to get too deep or analytical with it. We need to win a
football game, and every game we've won has been hard-fought and
well-contested. We've got to find a way to win one more game."

Thanks Anwar. Who 'd thunk a fellow named Anwar would have a better grasp of what local football fans want to read? Me, that's who. Seems many of the local scribes are more interested in whatever negativity they can spin and spew. We want upbeat and entertaining information. Doh!

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