Jon Cooper’s done better as a Lightning head coach than the Tampa Bay Buccaneers all-time

Hockey, specifically the National Hockey League, is not football nor the National Football League. I’m always drawn to compare the two with thanks to the Tampa Bay media going ga-ga over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and holding back all-too-much on Tampa Bay Lightning coverage until the end of the NFL season. To hell with success and competitiveness, Buccaneers uber alles.

Something popped into my head last night after the Lightning’s 1-0 win in Philadelphia to extend their winning streak fluke to 10 games: How does the tenure of head coach =Jon cooper compare to the Bucs all-time?

One coach? Compared to 40+ years of gameplay? What the hell leads me to think of something like that? Quite simply, the fact Cooper’s Lightning have made the playoffs five times in his 6 full seasons as head coach (and could be on their way to a sixth berth as the 2019-20 season rolls on) which is half as many berths as the Bucs have all-time.

Coop’s in his seventh full season as head coach (he joined as head coach during the 2013 season and had 17 games), helming Tampa Bay for 553 games as of this writing… That just so happens to be 124 games less than the Bucs have played all-time (677 in 43 seasons); about 82% of the games played. His success in that time dwarfs that of the Bucs: Of the 553 games played, 332 were won. That’s a .600 win percentage (though the common stat used in the NHL is tied to point-percen5ate, which is .619). In 43 seasons in the NFL, the Bucs have won 281 of 677 games played; a .409 win percentage.

While fans cry foul over Coop’s playoff-performances (No title! Bad you!) it’s worth noting he’s coached the Bolrs to the same number of Conference finals (3) and playoff finals (1) in his tenure as the Bucs have done in franchise history. Only three of the Bucs 12 head coaches ever made the playoffs (John McKay, Tony Dungy, and Jon Gruden). Of course, that Lightning has gone into the playoffs with four HCs (Terry Crisp, John Tortorella, Guy Boucher, and Cooper)  with eight total coaches.

They are two completely separate sports and there’s no argument against that. It’s still a message of competitiveness and local pride that has to be hammered home: The Tampa Bay Lightning are a force in their league. The Bucs aren’t.

What is the next accomplishment for Cooper and the Lightning? We’ll find out in this second half of the NHL season and in the proverbial Second Season that is the Stanley Cup Playoffs.  

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