TAMPA — Late last night, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers fired head coach Lovie Smith after just two seasons.
He didn't win enough games, the time had come, the owners think a new direction is necessary.
Sound familiar? It is.
In the last 30 years, the Bucs have fired 9 coaches, every single chief in the history of the franchise, save their very first. John McKay got to retire.
Sometimes the announcements came late at night, sometimes early in the morning. Almost always, the owners said it was a difficult decision. Almost always, the players were mad.
Each time a coach at One Buc Place gets the boot, Times stories sound familiar. It's almost like any given firing story could be repurposed for the next exorcism.
So we tried it.
Scraped of the names of coaches and general managers, what follows is a story strung together from near verbatim excerpts of farewells past.
Copy and paste.
History repeating itself.
That didn't take long. (2014)
Wednesday was the start of a new year, and a new era in Bucs history. (2014)
At 10:21 Wednesday night, two days after saying his team was headed in the right direction, (insert head coach here) was fired by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. (2015)
The announcement of his firing came in a late-night statement that was released by the team just hours after saying the coach would learn his fate in a meeting with vice presidents Joel and Bryan Glazer this morning. (2002)
The Glazers have demonstrated a quick trigger finger on head coaches. (2015)
Sure, after suffering Sunday's blowout loss, the coach knew there was a possibility he could be fired after only two seasons. But like many NFL head coaches, the news still hit hard. (2013)
"I really believe that good things are ahead and a good man will come in here and reap some of the benefits of the hard work that we put in," the coach said. "I wish we could have done that, but we didn't quite get there. So these are the things that happen when you don't get there." (1995)
He returned to his office, held a final brief meeting with his football players, then came out, briefcase in hand. He stared straight ahead, walking briskly to his car. (1990)
Bucs players were not surprised by the firings, but some were saddened. (2013) Some players cried, some cursed. (2014)
"I don't know what to think right now," defensive tackle Gerald McCoy told ESPN. "I'm at a loss for words. I was just out driving, out getting some gas, and my phone started blowing up.
"It's 10 o'clock at night. I don't know what is going on. I've always loved (Coach). He's always been great to me and my family. I've never had a bad thing to say about him. I'm just at a loss for words. I honestly feel bad for my coach." (2015)
The Bucs are used to unhappy bounces and they will have to overcome a few more in their search for a head coach. (1996) To a football fan, the changing of a head coach is somewhat like a military junta. It is only time to worry about the new boss once you've gotten rid of the old one. (1990)
When you look back at the previous nine, you can see the Bucs have followed the old theory of hiring the opposite of what they just had. (2014) Now that it's getting really sticky, even stinky, all we have to read is body language. All we can hear is negative rumors. (1996)
So you wonder: Who is going to coach the Bucs next year? (1994)
"I think the most important thing we're going to do here is hire the best football coach for this football team regardless of what the responsibilities are or to become," the general manager said. (2012)
Contact Katie Mettler at [email protected] or (813) 226-3446. Follow @kemettler.