The House that Gruden Finished


The age old debate between Buc fans, was it Dungy’s team or Gruden that won the Super Bowl.

For many fans it’s a one or the other answer, for me it’s not as clear. Yes Dungy built a fantastic team capable of beating anyone on their day, he built the foundation and erected the defensive walls of “Fort Buccaneers”, but for me, Gruden installed the cannons to strike back.

There is no debate that Dungy put the pieces in place for what is arguably the greatest defense the NFL has ever seen; maybe that’s where the “Team Dungy” side gets confused?

Every Bucs fan knows the story of that glorious evening in San Diego so they should know that when Gruden came in he challenged that defense to go from great to greatest. He challenged them to make QB’s run in fear, to take the ball from the other team and put points on the board, and they delivered! Gruden held the players accountable and removed the gentle approach of Dungy and was ready to chew out players who didn’t have “Juice”. Some will mention, the perfect storm that the Buccaneers faced Oakland in the Super Bowl, that the Raiders were running the same system that Gruden himself installed. For me that is another in the win in this debate. It was Gruden that did what Dungy couldn’t in beating the Eagles in the Championship Game, his plays and his drive put the Bucs over the precipice and took Tampa Bay to San Diego. Can anyone honestly say that Dungy would have been able to prepare the Buccaneers as well as Gruden did when planning for his former team?

The answer is probably no! Dungy built the foundations for that Super Bowl, but it was certainly Gruden that got the job done.

I’ll finish this using an analogy from Baseball. When the game is close and on the line it’s perfectly normal to bring in a pinch runner. A faster guy that can get around the bases and make something happen. Gruden was our “pinch coach”, he came in to finish the job. Dungy got to first base, but Gruden romped home.