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#pounditFriday, December 9, 2022

Jon Gruden once named Simeon Rice head coach during Super Bowl season

Jon Gruden

Jon Gruden led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to their only Super Bowl win in franchise history back in 2003, but he was not the only head coach of the team that season. For at least a day, Pro Bowl defensive end Simeon Rice was in charge.

Hall of Fame linebacker Derrick Brooks shared an awesome story about Tampa Bay’s Super Bowl season during an appearance on “Morning Men” with Evan Cohen and Mike Babchik on Thursday. There was no bye between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl in 2003, so the Buccaneers had to fly home from Philadelphia after beating the Eagles and then head immediately to San Diego for Super Bowl XXXVII.

The Bucs’ coaching staff stayed back in Tampa Bay for a day or two to prepare while the players headed off to San Diego. At that point, Brooks says Gruden named Rice interim head coach and told everyone to not do anything stupid. You’ll want to hear the full story:

“All he said was, ‘Simeon Rice, you are the head coach for the next 36 hours. Guys, don’t be a distraction. Go get on the plane,'” Rice recalled. “There were some personalities on that team, so I’ll protect the innocent. There’s things I’ve heard but still can’t prove today.”

Brooks made it clear that the Bucs enjoyed their day-plus under head coach Simeon Rice, but obviously the down time did not have a negative impact on their performance. They went on to demolish the Oakland Raiders by a score of 48-21.

Warren Sapp was a big part of that Buccaneers team, and we all know some of the stuff he gets himself into. Rice must have been able to keep his teammates in line just enough.


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