Playoff Expectations Unfair For Many

May 8th, 2013

Even with all the new toys Bucs rock star general manager Mark Dominik landed in the offseason, expecting a playoff berth in 2013 is a helluva tough task in the loaded NFC.

Now Joe has heard in recent days from excited Bucs fans that if the Bucs don’t make the playoffs, Bucs rock star general manager Mark Dominik should be jettisoned, Josh Freeman should find a job elsewhere and even some fans think a playoff-less 2013 should have Team Glazer thinking twice about bringing back coach Greg Schiano.

Joe thinks this is borderline outrageous.

Joe was just thinking last night about the NFC. Folks, in case you haven’t looked, the NFC is absolutely stacked.

There are two Wild Card berths per conference each year. Here are some of the teams that the Bucs will have to battle:

NFC West
Likely the strongest division in the NFL. Seattle, which is loaded, will battle San Francisco, which is loaded. It doesn’t seem unreasonable that the bridesmaid to the division winner will secure a Wild Card berth.

NFC North
The perennial playoff bound Packers will fight for the division title against Chicago, a 10-win team last year with a very good quarterback who now has a quarterback guru as a coach. This is not to mention a retooled Vikings team that also made the playoffs last year.

NFC East
The always-tough Giants, two Super Bowl titles in five years, will fight against the Washington Redskins, a playoff team last year, and dark horse Dallass.

NFC South
A quarterback-driven division, the Bucs will, of course, face the dangerous Saints and the loaded Dixie Chicks.

If the Bucs finish with a winning record and don’t make the playoffs, Joe isn’t sure how blame can be placed on Dominik or Schiano, or for that matter even Freeman. The conference is as loaded as Joe has ever seen.

Now if the Bucs finish, say, 4-12 with limited injuries, then that is a different issue entirely.

The best way for the Bucs to make the playoffs is by winning the division. That’s how strong the NFC is this season.

Joe just thinks it is unreasonable, if not unfair, to demand heads to roll if a playoff appearance is not achieved, given how stocked the NFC is.

47 Responses to “Playoff Expectations Unfair For Many”

  1. Cliff Hogan Says:

    NFC East. the black and blue is gone, sorry boyz

  2. stevek Says:


    NFC North is the: Bears, Lions, Vikings, and Packers.

    NFC East is: Redskins, Cowboys, Giants and Eagles.

    NFC Central is not around. 😉

  3. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    I think I mentioned a week or so ago that very same point, Joe. The Bucs could well go 10-6 again and still not make the playoffs. Our division is tough. It makes me sick when we see 7-9 teams get in the playoffs when teams from other divisions are so much better.

    So far as the Bucs, I agree with you. I DO expect a playoff trip, but so long as they put themselves in a possition to compete for a playoff spot, I’ll be satisfied.

    The things I want to see improvement on are Josh Freeman’s consistency and team health. I believe if the team stays mostly healthy, they are a major playoff contender.

    And I would love to win the division, just to stick it to the Falcons and Saints.

    On a side note, I’m no Dallas Cowgirls fan, but Tony Romo can’t blow big games forever. sooner or later the Cowboys will go all the way. He’s good enough to get them there if he doesn’t play like a bonehead.

  4. stevek Says:


    You are right, it is unfair to demand rolling heads, if the Bucs have winning season, Freeman plays well, and we just don’t make the playoffs.

    However, there is all the opportunity in the world to make the Top 6 NFC teams this year.

    We have tons of studs, across the board, and if Revis is 100%, then playoffs should be the floor for this team.

    No more excuses, no more loafing (2011), and 24-40 over the past 5 years MUST CHANGE.

    Playoffs or not, I expect this team to come out PLAYING HARD, and WINNING some games.

    All the pieces are in place, and Freeman is in year 5, time for him to be our franchise QB or step aside.

  5. stevek Says:

    Dominick has really stepped it up the past 2 years, and no coincidence the Glazers probably just allowed him to spend.

    There has been some bad football down in Tampa for the past 4 out of 5 years.

    Lack of spending, lack of hustle from the players, and a lack of consistency are all reasons for having a lack luster team.

    Our ownership has stepped up, and went “all-in”, it is time to deliver.

    This team should win 10-11 games this year.

  6. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    On the head-hunting topic, I also agree. Mark Dominick, so far, is slightly better than Rich McKay was at the same point. Same wins and losses, but Rich didn’t have a winning season, Dom does.

    Greg Schiano is safee, I believe. In fact, I suspect he will be a history-making coach for the Bucs. Even if he and Bill Belichick were not close friends, I’ve never seen a coach remind me more of Belichick. He’s like a cleaner version of the man.

    And obviously, Sully is safe. The man has put together the best offense in team history. Even if there are more injuries to the oline and as a result the offense does poorly, he gets a free pass because the offense really was not addressed this off season.

  7. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    I agree 100%, stevek.

  8. stevek Says:

    At a minimum, the Bucs better have the best record of any FL NFL team.

    If the Jaguars or Dolphins finish with a better record, then someones head must roll.

    Just like last year’s DB coach, Ron Cooper, someone will pay for a crappy team/performance.

  9. stevek Says:

    Buccaneer Bonzai,

    Great points, and I argree about Schiano. He has the “it” factor of coaching.

    Sullivan is a mad scientist calling the plays, and he could be an up and coming HC someday.

    Injuries suck, everyone gets them, and if we are a “good team”, then we will find a way to push through and show some adversity.

    Buc Football should be strong this year. I am most excited to see our new secondary. It will be nice to not have to sit back and watch that unit get gashed, ripped apart, and taken to the wood shed week after week.

    Our improved D could easily be a Top 10 unit, and if Freeman can spin it like it is 2010, then we are going to the divisional round of the playoffs at least.

  10. CMAK Says:

    Let’s go Wild Card!!!! dun dun dundundun! lol

  11. Bucs Fan #238 Says:

    The Bucs are in good hands. 1 win over 1 loss does not make or break a team up.

    The owners know this.

    The reason Gruden was fired, is because he already had 7 years in, the Bucs needed a re-build, and Gruden was Gruden… it was just time to move on from him. He was better off and the Bucs haven’t been the same ever since.

    But from what you saw last season, the offense turned it around again.
    The defense needed to be pumped with new life and the secondary needed a total rebuild.

    I love what Dom and Schiano has done, while also saving us cap space to re-sign Williams and Freeman (if he deserves it).

    What is NOT to like?

    8-8 is not going to be the nail in the coffin if something doesn’t work out: Freeman; Revis; Goldsen.

  12. Meh Says:

    2 years imo. If no playoffs this year or next year then heads should roll starting with Dom. This is a bottom line business and the bottom line is we have been losers for too long.

  13. BuccFanInHawkeyeCountry Says:

    I miss the NFC Central…

  14. Kansasbuc Says:


    Just wanted to inform you that there is no NFC Central division. The packers, bears, lions, and Vikings are in the NFC North. The Giants, eagles, redskins, and cowboys are in the NFC East.

  15. Lakeland fan Says:

    The Dolphins are going to be good this year.Could be a tough game for Bucs to win.

  16. the_buc_realist Says:

    How fair was it for Bucs fans to pay for and watch the team go 4th,3rd, 4th, and 4th in the division!

    the pop-star should be fired for hiring a Offensive Coordinator with no playbook! let alone all the bad drafts he had.

  17. William Says:

    With all the key free agents acquire this off season it will be disappointing to see the defense not be on the top 10. With the acquisition of Tight End from Green Bay and 2 probowlers in the offense of line coming back it will be disappointing for the running game not to be in the top 10. Now add a two off seasons of preparation and learning…. along with a season under Freeman’s belt it will be disappointing for Freeman to have less good games than last year this coming season. All this coming together is like the coaches preach is not about the other teams Is All about How You as a Player Perform!
    From this point of view it would be a lack of effort to miss the playoffs. We are no longer driving a Cadillac now we have a BMW to handle the road beneath us. I hope the coaches know how to best use their vehicle. I’m pulling for the coaches and players to have a successful drive past 16 regular season games…

  18. Sneedy16 Says:

    If you look at the Bucs schedule they should and will pull off 10 wins. The hardest team based on last year are the Patriots, Saints 2x, Falcons 2x, Seahawks, and 49ers. The remaining teams were Jets, Cardinals, Eagles, Panthers 2x, Dolphins, Lions, Bills, and Rams. They should be able to get a win off of the Falcons and/or Saints in Tampa.

  19. J 2.0 Says:

    If the Bucs go 11-5 and do not make the playoffs somehow, then Dominik has a chance.

    I dont think Sciano is on the hot seat at all, only chance is if they go 6-10 or worse, which I would be shocked at.

    The 5 year drought along with how the Rays have been recently and the Lightning’s recent failures have Tampa sports fan very edgy.

    In the mid 90’s it was not such a big deal, but kickstarted by the Bucs resurgence of the late 90’s and Super Bowl in ’02 and the Lightning Stanley Cup victory along with the Rays starting to win and make the playoffs, Tampa fans actually aren’t satisfied with mediocrity anymore. And I understand it completely.

    The Bucs schedule this year is not very difficult. Yes we play on the road against NE and SEA, and those will likely be losses. With that said the rest of the schedule kind of lines up in our favor. SF, a very tough game, will be played here so that is a slight advantage to us. We play NE and STL on the road at the end of the season, but I think our team will have something to play for and can win those games. We’ll see how it all unfolds, but I expect playoffs this year.

  20. J 2.0 Says:

    *NO at the end of the season

  21. Tbuc Says:

    Playoffs or bust. No more excuses, no more rebuilding. Time for this regime to get results on the field.

  22. Bucnjim Says:

    The Bucs have a chance to control their own destiny by winning at least one of the games between them and either the 49er’s or Seahawks. Head to Head is one of the biggest tie breakers if records are the same.

  23. Bucfan Says:

    The team is built around freeman and it’s strong and deep. Freeman’s seat is scorching and probably hotter tha any other player coach or gm. I think Dom has done enough to cool the flames for this season unless a disaster occurs.

  24. lightningbuc Says:

    After yesterday’s thread ridiculing SteveK and I, I agree with what Joe says. Even if the Bucs don’t make the playoffs, the alleged “rock star” should stay. Another year, two years. Hell, who cares – how many ever years it takes him. Dom is the MAN!

  25. Marlow Says:

    We are getting better, not worse, so firing anyone is a ridiculous notion. Of course if we collapse, then we may need to reevaluate, and make some changes. However, due to our extremely tough schedule I think a winning record would be admirable. To use a common cliche’ “Rome wasn’t built in a year.” Anyway, I firmly believe we will push for a playoff berth, but it may come down to the last game of the season and some much needed help from another team to have an upset.

  26. Cassidy Says:

    It’s relative to how the team performs this season. If the defense can’t generate pressure on quarterbacks and as a result we lose 10 games, then it is fair to question the GM who is responsible for building that unit with many high draft picks and a philosophy of building through the draft. Like Dungy said, it all starts up front, and the d-line is the biggest question mark to me (sans GMC).

  27. Jonny 3.3 Says:

    If Freeman plays like a good QB and our roster is mostly healthy, we are good enough to make the playoffs. The only scenario where we may miss out in this situation is freak fumbles and STs debacles that hurt Chargers in 2010 when they had the #1 offense and defense.

    We are only saying that Freeman should not be a Buc if he plays bad and we don’t make the playoffs. He cannot be even the smallest factor preventing us. He has to play as good as any QB in our division as well to give us a better chance to win against them with more talent on our roster.

  28. Bucnjim Says:

    A top 15 defense & we would have made the playoffs last year. This team at least on paper looks like a beast. The secondary WILL be vastly improved and so will the D line barring any more severe injuries. Everyone healthy and this team Makes the playoffs! Trust me; this is going to be an exciting year for Bucs fans.

  29. BirdDoggers Says:

    With only two wildcard spots and every division sporting tough competition, it will be tough to make the playoffs. Realistically, every division has at least two teams that could have 10+ wins. Some analysts predict the Bus could be a 10 win team, but that might not be enough for the playoffs. Although, things change fast in the NFL and the season could go much different than projected.

  30. Tiny tim Says:

    Totally agree Joe. A lot of fans are not even aware of how strong other teams are. I mean the Rams are going to be a force to be reckoned with as well and the Detroit game is no gimme either.

  31. Joe Says:

    Tiny tim:

    I mean the Rams are going to be a force

    Rams could very well be a sleeper team.

    Good point.

  32. WestCoastBucsFan Says:

    Hate to be THAT guy but you mentioned Dom’s “five seasons” more than once stevek. There has only been four seasons of football under Dom. Also, the top six teams in the NFC don’t make it every year. Seahawks made it with 7-9 awhile back. They were definitely NOT a top six team.

    Either way, the Bucs really do need the playoffs for everyone to feel comfortable in their seats at One Buc. However, I can see a scenario where a 10 or 11 win team that doesn’t make the playoffs will NOT get everyone fired. Joe makes a great point that there are a lot of “stacked” teams in the NFC right now.

  33. stevek Says:

    Tiny Tim,

    No excuses, we need to rise up to the occasion, or changes will be made.

  34. stevek Says:

    West Coast Bucs Fan,

    We have been a bad team for the past 4 out of 5 years.

    We have no excuses for not making the playoffs this year.

    None, zero, nada.

    We need to see results this season, and that means winning 10+ games. If we win 10+ games, and don’t make the playoffs, than so be it.

    However, there is no justification for finishing with a crap record, and maintaining mediocrity.

    Keep it coming West Coast, I need the correcting, but please don’t feed hypothetical excuses for losing because that just makes our team look like a bunch of pansies.

    This is the NFL, and these players are paid to compete at the highest level of Football. We (Bucs) need to make some noise this year.

  35. stevek Says:

    West Coast,

    Remember the 7-9 Seahawks bounced the defending SB champion (saints) out of the playoffs that year.

    So, the Sea Hawks earned a 7-9 playoff berth, after all they beat the defending champs.

    We need to find a way to surpass the Falcons or the Saints, most likely the Saints.

    If we fail put together a strong 2013 campaign, then some things must change, most likely QB (if I had to guess, or give my “opinion”).

  36. WestCoastBucsFan Says:

    “We have been a bad team for the past 4 out of 5 years.”

    Unless you are talking about the last year of the Gruden Era then NO, they haven’t.

    2009: 3-13
    2010: 10-6
    2011: 4-12
    2012: 7-9

    That is four years stevek, not five.

    We have no excuses for not making the playoffs this year.

    A couple good teams don’t make it every year for various reasons. It happens. Giants last season didn’t make the playoffs last year but have won two out of the last five Super Bowls. Think expectations are maybe a little higher in New York?

    I am not sure where you come up with this crazy notion that I think losing is even marginally acceptable. I have never claimed such a thing. We definitely SHOULD make the playoffs this year but don’t act like there aren’t scenarios that could change our expectations. If Freeman goes down are we a playoff team? Dougernaut? GMC? All it takes is one…

    “the Sea Hawks earned a 7-9 playoff berth”

    NO, no team “earns” a 7-9 playoff berth. It was a circumstance where a crappy team in a crappy division was the least crappy team of the division. Anything can happen so they did win a game in the playoffs but that doesn’t mean they”earned” the right to be there. There is a reason the Super Bowl champs don’t go undefeated every year. They are not infallible.

    “Keep it coming West Coast…”

    Where is this coming from? I pointed out something obviously incorrect in your post. Stop being so defensive. Rah and Dom took over in 2009, do the math, that is four seasons, not five.

  37. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    WCF is right on this one.

  38. 4everBucsFan Says:

    It’s going get harder and harder now to make the playoffs with so many teams mandated to spend 90% of their yearly cap. In a couple of years once things level out you will see an incredible amount of parity. A lot of worst to first scenarios over the span of one year. Teams will rise and fall quickly. There is going to be more even competition, where sadly, only the teams with the best QBs will still have the advantage.

    Picking up Glennon was a huge future investment. If he is developed right, his worth could be to our advantage, even if we do keep Freeman.
    For all that bash Dominik don’t get him. The man thinks ahead, and he knew what with the cap spending and the importance of having a franchise QB could mean and be worth in the future.

    Glennon will be sought after, maybe not now, but in the future. Hell maybe we’re grooming him to be Belicheats next Tom Brady.

    Dominik and Schiano will be here next year regardless whether we get to the playoffs or not. Just like Joe said, it would take a complete collapse 4 – 12 or worst to cause there firings.

  39. Adam Says:

    Awesome… we have a page full of excuses already.

  40. PRBucFan Says:

    Only one head HAS to roll IMO if we don’t produce wins this season.

    It all starts with #5

  41. PRBucFan Says:

    I will say that after a full season of nothing but Negative Nancys this is refreshing BUT let’s not set our team up for failure now with crazy super fast expectations.

    The new pieces will have to gel

  42. stevek Says:

    West Coast,

    You mean the 9-4 Gruden’s last team? Yeah that was HORRIBLE to lose your last 4 games.

    Ask Former Raider RB Michael Bush how much he enjoyed playing football against us towards the end of that year.

    Kiffin announced his resignation, and Derrick Brooks was given the boot shortly after that: for GENO HAYES AND QUINCY BLACK. Dog sh!t football, IMO.

    It has been stressful to be a Buc fan for the past couple of years. We had a 10-6 record in the 2010 season, but no playoffs. After starting out 4-2 in 2011, we went to London and had a phenomenal @ss pounding dropped on us. Hell, last year we were 6-4, off a 5 game winning streak, only to 5 down the next few weeks.

    In the middle of all of the up and down play, we have been hit with flashes of excellence from our QB. I would love to see our QB really hone it in and develop his mountains of potential into a star player.

    Our ownership did not spend the dough necessary to correct crappy drafting prior to 2011.

    2013 gives us fans so much hope. There is a lot riding on this season, it is time to stop the rebuild crap and hit the ground running.

    Playoffs, Josh Freeman, or leave and win a super bowl elsewhere. Lord knows it won’t be the first time.

  43. stevek Says:

    While playing baseball D2, our football team had a 4-6 record my Freshman year.

    The coaches hung up signs in all of the doorways “4-6” record.

    The next 3 years they lost 3 times, twice in post season play (2 of the 3 losses came from: Shippensburg- John Kuhn, and Bloomsburg- Jahri Evans)

    7-9 should be up and aware for this team, and I fully expect them to come out swinging this year.

    Give Schiano another year to get his pasta right.

  44. WestCoastBucsFan Says:


    So now we are lumping Gruden into this?


    I only chimed in because of your comment:

    “24-40 over the past 5 years MUST CHANGE.”

    24-40 is only four seasons worth of football games, not five. 24 + 40 = 64 games and 64 games divided by 4 seasons is 16 games a season. Dom has only been the GM for four seasons of football.

    I want the Bucs to win. So do you. Lets leave it at that.

  45. stevek Says:

    West Coast,

    Thanks for breaking out the calculator.

    24/64= 0.375, or 37.5% winning percentage.

    10 of the 24 wins came in 2010,

    Remove 2010, or 16 games, and the record is 14-34 which equals a 29.2% winning percentage.

  46. WestCoastBucsFan Says:

    What? What are doing? I said nothing about winning percentage. This is about you saying Dom has had 5 years instead of four. NOTHING ELSE.

    I think I am done here because every time I make a post you respond with something completely unrelated and you think I am somehow saying you are not allowed to have an opinion and insulting you.

  47. WestCoastBucsFan Says:

    Also, your point about removing a season to make it 29.2% makes absolutely no sense AT ALL. You cherry pick one season out of four to make your point? Well if I just overlook the Giants two Super Bowl seasons they aren’t really that great either.