The Beginning Of The DroughtMay 8th, 2014
Joe remembers when, once upon a time, wearing the Creamsicles was like walking around with a “Kick Me” sign taped to your arse. They were a team that only Harry Dunne could embrace.
Such a sad sack organization the Bucs were. After coming off their second NFC Central title in three years, the 1982 Bucs couldn’t get their first-round draft pick right and picked the wrong guy, who actually was pretty decent, Penn State offensive lineman Sean Farrell.
The guy they wanted to draft, defensive end Booker Reese, the Bucs chased in the second round with a valuable ’83 first round pick, only to see Reese vanish soon after.
Former Bucs beat writer and current SI.com columnist Don Banks recalls the hilarity.
With no second-rounder with which to land Reese on their own, the Bucs hit the phone (again), trying to pry a spot in the second round away from one of the other 27 NFL teams. NFC Central rival Chicago was the team that bit, sending the Bucs’ their second-round choice (32nd overall) in exchange for—wait for it—Tampa Bay’s first-round pick in 1983. A short while later, the Bucs exuberantly turned in the card for Reese early in the second round (Marcuccillo probably thought he was mercifully off the hook), and with that, all the pieces needed for this Tampa Bay football tragi-comedy were now in place.
“Booker Reese is still on the board, and obviously this is where it gets worse,’’ Odioso says. “You’ve drafted Sean Farrell and he’s going to be a good player in the National Football League. You’re still all right. But now Booker is still there, and we don’t have a second-round pick. If we had a second-round pick, we don’t trade the first-rounder in ’83.
“But Kenny said, ‘Oh, hey, the guy we were going to draft in the first round, he’s still there in the second.’ And rather than wonder why he was still there in the second round, he saw that as an opportunity to go after him. Even someone like me knew the ’82 draft was a very routine draft and the ’83 draft was filled with outstanding prospects.’’
And so began the plummet to the depths of the NFL, until Sam Wyche drafted Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks in 1995, planting the seeds to the glory years of the franchise and an eventual Super Bowl championship.
While the Farrell-Reese debacle may have started the demise of the Bucs, it didn’t help that they chased off their franchise quarterback, Doug Williams, and threw away another first round pick on a panic move for the woeful “Throwin’ Samoan,” Jack Thompson, to replace Williams.