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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs DC Smith favored to become Giants new coach

Roy Cummings



Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire

TAMPA – Football is nothing short of a bettor’s paradise, one that stretches well beyond the field of play. One look at some of the whacky prop bets that can be made for each Super Bowl tells you that.

A year ago, for example, you could have bet on which song Lady Gaga would have performed first at halftime, how many times “Deflategate’’ would be mentioned during the broadcast and whether the coin toss would land heads of tails.

Anyway, since there’s no end to what football fans are willing to bet on, the folks at have set the odds for the candidates most likely to replace Ben McAdoo as the coach of the Giants.

And the favorite is: Buccaneers defensive coordinator Mike Smith.

Smith, who is on the hot seat in Tampa as a result of the horribly inconsistent play of the Bucs defense, leads the group at +350, which means a $100 bet will earn you a $350 profit.

Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels (+400), Eagles defensive coordinator Frank Reich (+550), Lions DC Teryl Austin (+550), Patriots DC Matt Patricia (+1200), Chiefs special teams coordinator Dave Toub (+1500), Cowboys OC Scott Linehan (+1500), Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh (+1800), Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz (+2000) and Vikings OC Pat Shurmur (+2200) round out the list.

Now, you may be wondering how it is that Smith is at the top of the list, especially in light of the fact his Bucs defense has had just one good eight-game stretch in the two years he’s been their coordinator.

Well, the answer lies in the fact that three years ago, when the Giants all but allowed quarterback Eli Manning to pick McAdoo as their new coach, Smith was the other finalist for that job.

Coming off a successful run as the coach of the Falcons, Smith was more or less the choice of the Mara family and he probably would have gotten the Giants job if Manning hadn’t been so enamored of McAdoo.

Of course, that was the wave then. A lot of teams looking for new coaches simply promoted successful coordinators instead of hiring head coaches and now that some are paying for it, Smith is somewhat back in vogue.

And perhaps he should be. Smith’s defense looks at times to be a bit out of date, but he is the winningest coach in Falcons history with a 66-46 record and five trips to the playoffs.

There’s just one problem. Smith inked a new multi-year deal with the Bucs last year that reportedly prohibits him from seeking a head coaching job. That doesn’t mean he can’t accept one if it’s offered.

So we’ll see where this goes. It’s quite possible that, given the way Smith’s defense has played this year, the Bucs just may let Smith seek another job anyway.

It’s also possible that they could cut a deal with the Giants for Smith, who refused to say when asked Wednesday if he was still had a hankering for becoming an NFL head coach..

What we call that in our business is a non-denial denial, which means Smith isn’t about the close the door on any potential job opportunity, including the one he probably should have been given three years ago.

Roy Cummings is a native of Chicago, Illinois who grew up in the suburb of Lombard. He and his family later moved to Lakeland, Florida, where Roy attended high school at Kathleen High. He graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor's Degree in Mass Communications in 1983 and immediately went to work for the Tampa Tribune. After five years working in a Polk County bureau covering everything from high school sports to college football to the Orlando Magic of the NBA, Roy moved back to Tampa and became the Tribune's first beat writer for the Tampa Bay Lightning, covering the team from its inception through the first eight years on the ice. He was then moved to the Buccaneers beat, where he stayed until the paper was folded in May, 2016. A two-time Florida Sports Writer of the Year, Roy has extensive experience covering all Tampa professional sports teams, including the Tampa Bay Rays.

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