TAMPA, Fla. — Frustration with coach Greg Schiano has reached heated levels among Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans in recent weeks. Now, there’s a billboard to match the coach’s hot seat.
A billboard in north Tampa includes the message “FIRE SCHIANO” with flames in the background and is sponsored by local talk radio station 102.5 The Bone. The message reflects the mood of many who follow the 0-6 Bucs, one of two remaining winless NFL teams (the Jacksonville Jaguars are the other). They host the Carolina Panthers on Thursday night at Raymond James Stadium.
“The ‘Fire Schiano’ billboard is simply a reflection of the Tampa Bay community’s opinion of the Buccaneers head coach,” said 102.5 station manager Michael Sharkey via statement. “Our listeners have voiced their opinion that they are tired of a team, that on paper, should have a winning record. This billboard isn’t a message to the Buccaneers as much as it is a message to our listeners that we are right there with them!”
The reason for the firestorm: Tampa Bay has lost 11 of its last 12 games under Schiano, including three this season by a field goal or less. Schiano’s predecessor, Raheem Morris, was fired after losing 10 consecutive games to close the 2011 campaign. Schiano is 7-15 since taking over in January 2012.
“I could say ‘trust me’ but I know that’s not what you want to hear,” Schiano said Monday on his weekly radio show on WDAE 620 AM. “So all I’ll say is hang in there, and when this thing gets rolling, you’ll look back and you’ll say, ‘OK, I understand now.'”
For now, though, the criticism toward Schiano around Tampa remains hot, with no signs of cooling soon.