Sports Outside the Beltway

Tampa Bay Buccaneers fire Coach Jon Gruden

The Bucs ended the 2008 season by losing their last four games. From AP-

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers fired coach Jon Gruden and general manager Bruce Allen on Friday after the team collapsed following a 9-3 start and failed to make the playoffs.

Gruden, who helped lead the Buccaneers to a victory over the Oakland Raiders in the 2003 Super Bowl, was Tampa Bay’s coach for seven years. Allen was general manager for the last five seasons.

“We will be forever grateful to Jon for bringing us the Super Bowl title, and we thank Bruce for his contributions to our franchise,” Buccaneers co-chairman Joel Glazer said in a statement. “However after careful consideration, we feel that this decision is in the best interest of our organization moving forward.”

The Buccaneers were tied for first place in the NFC South heading into December, but finished with losses to Carolina and Atlanta on the road and San Diego and Oakland at home, where they had been 6-0. One more win would have landed a NFC wild-card berth.

The 9-7 record this season left Tampa out of the playoffs for the fourth time in six years.

Last year ended in disappointment but Tampa ought to be careful. Before Tony Dungy took over the head coaching duties in 1996, The Bucs had thirteen consecutive losing seasons. No Florida fan wants to see the franchise experience wilderness years like those a second time.

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