The Beginning Of The Drought

May 8th, 2014

The Bucs draft-day chasing of defensive end Booker Reese accelerated their demise that approached two decades.

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 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.

7 Responses to “The Beginning Of The Drought”

  1. Celly Says:

    Even someone like me knew the ’82 draft was a very routine draft and the ’83 draft was filled with outstanding prospects.’’

    Would you look at that. Marino was still on the board when the Bucs would’ve been picking, too. (including HOF CB Darrell Green).

  2. William Says:

    Thank God we have a solid coaching staff. Even if we miss a few spot on this draft there is hope. With the previous regime successes was a thim intermittent light.

    The draft is a cross your fingers game. A solid coaching staff is essential to move in a positive direction.

    Lets see what kind of new “juice” is fed into this 2014 squad.

    You got to love this!

    What time is it???

    Connor Shaw is coming to Tampa

  3. ctord Says:

    remembering the bucs back then, they would have picked todd blackledge in 1983. lol. everything seemed to go wrong for them back in the day.

  4. Buc1987 Says:

    I was the ONLY kid in my high school that wore creamsicle Buc gear back in 87. I can relate to the kick me thingy. I did not grow up in Florida and moved down here not knowing the Bucs terrible history.

    I’m sure every Buc fan has heard the old joke too. You can leave tickets on your windshield and come back a few hours later and the tickets would still be there.

    Yes that’s how bad they were folks.

  5. ctord Says:


    lol. that is a good one but I think it goes: you can leave two buc tickets on the windshield and come back later to find four. lol

  6. Bucfan#37 Says:

    Oh, the inglorious past. It was still fun going to the games back then, coming away hoarse with another loss. Walk up before the kickoff, there were always 5 dollar or less tickets to be had. Welcome to the future.

  7. feelthepewterpower Says:

    Glad you posted this article, Joe. I remember getting laughed at school for wearing by bucco bruce tee. there were a couple of picks such as the 89 class where the buccs had no chance to select the hall of fame player, plus lots of teams passed on marino, etc. but we did draft horribly. I mean the law of probability dictated that the buccs at least get one out five draftees right…and we never did with the exception of Gruber.