After over a decade of testing out different coaches with a varying degree of success, the Buccaneers could end up turning back to the last coach to take to them the playoffs, with Jon Gruden's name continuing to circulate in rumors surrounding Tampa Bay's coaching situation; CBS Sports NFL Insider was connected with the Bucs gig.
It is widely believed that Tampa, after failing to even sniff a shot at the postseason this year and watching Jameis Winston regress amid rumors about his relationship with the offensive coaches, will part ways with Dirk Koetter after this year. Certainly Tampa could close out with a pair of wins, end up at 6-10 and ward off any disruption. But a change feels likely.
And many believe the change could end up with Gruden, who was inducted into the Bucs Ring of Honor during Week 15's halftime of a game he called for ESPN, returning to guide the good ship Tampa Bay.
In fact, according to a report from Ian Rapoport of NFL Media, Gruden is taking steps to try and prepare for the possibility of joining a coaching staff and "right now is going through the process of reaching out to for former assistants and friends in the coaching industry just to see if they would be available, if they would potentially come with him if he were be able to get a head coaching job."
The obvious landing spot for Gruden would be Tampa, where he coached from 2002 through 2008 after being traded from the Oakland Raiders. Gruden won a Super Bowl in his first year with the Buccaneers, but was fired after seven seasons and just two more playoff appearances.
Since moving on from Gruden, the Bucs have hired Raheem Morris, Greg Schiano, Lovie Smith and Dirk Koetter. The have achieved minimal success.
Every single year -- and usually multiple times per year -- Gruden's name circulates in coaching rumors. Rumors about Gruden don't even go by the normal name, they have their own nickname: Grumors. With the Buccaneers job likely opening again this season, Gruden's name is a hot item in the news more so than usual.
Gruden has openly discussed the coaching rumors,and not-so-enthusiastically denying things during an actual broadcast.
It always feel like Gruden wants to get back into coaching and the Bucs chatter is white hot with Gruden. Maybe it's the usual heavy smoke-no fire situation, but this year feels different, especially with rumblings about the future of ESPN and "Monday Night Football."
The former Super Bowl-winning coach could very well look at this offseason as a prime opportunity to finally make a move back into coaching.