The Ghost Of Bo Jackson

December 31st, 2014
Depending on who they hire as an offensive coordinator, the Bucs could have another Bo Jackson situation on their hands, suggests Peter King.

Depending on who they hire as an offensive coordinator, the Bucs could have another Bo Jackson situation on their hands, suggests Peter King.

It is an issue Bucs fans remember well, a chapter in the franchise’s storied history of bumbling. The story makes Bucs fans ill just thinking about it.

It was 1986, following the Leeman Bennett-led 2-14 season, which Bucs coach Lovie Smith just matched for futility. Like 28 years ago, the Bucs won the first overall pick in the draft.

Tampa Bay had its sights set on the best player available. That would have been Bo Jackson, the exhilarating running back from Auburn.

But to hear Jackson later tell it, it was a set up by then miserly Bucs owner Hugh Culverhouse, who purposely hatched a scheme to wreck Jackson’s baseball aspirations.

(Jackson was flown into Tampa by Culverhouse who, per Jackson, had the trip cleared with the NCAA. Jackson was still playing baseball for Auburn. But the trip, in fact, violated NCAA rules and Jackson lost his baseball eligibility.)

Jackson was so enraged that he told the Bucs if he was drafted by them, then he would never sign. Culverhouse, ignoring Jackson’s words, still drafted Jackson, who took his baseball talents to Kansas City.

Jackson never wore a Bucs uniform.

Joe never thought that would happen here again with the Bucs on the cusp of drafting a needed quarterback in Aprial. But in a hilarious diatribe of a letter to Bucs-uniform-frowningAllie-LaForce-smittenBig-Ten-Network-hatingpedestrian-bumpingolive oil-lappingpopcorn-munchingcoffee-slurpingfried-chicken-eatingoatmeal-lovingcircle-jerkingbeer-chuggingcricket-watchingscone-loathingcollege football-naïvebaseball-box-score-readingNPR-listeningfilthy-hotel-stayingfight-instigatingbarista-training Peter King and, a letter that was also laced with the truth, a man from Oregon suggested Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota should pull an Eli Manning and give Bucs coach Lovie Smith the finger because of Lovie’s documented history of offensive offenses.

FORCED DRAFT-DAY TRADE? When Eli Manning refused to sign with the Chargers and forced a draft-day trade, I thought it was an unnecessary move. However, we now have a situation where I believe Marcus Mariota or Jameis Winston should absolutely refuse to play for the Bucs. More specifically, I would refuse to play for Lovie Smith if I was either one of them.

In his 10 seasons as a head coach, Lovie has demonstrated a stunning lack of understanding of offensive football and the quarterback position. I would be surprised if he did not ruin the quarterback he drafts within two years. That leads me to two questions: do you think either one of these QBs would refuse to play for Lovie? And if you were in the position to counsel them, would you recommend they hold out and force a trade if drafted by the Bucs?

—Jared, Portland, Ore.

I wouldn’t be as concerned about Lovie Smith being the head coach as I would be with knowing who the coordinator and quarterbacks coach will be. The Bucs are in the market for a new offensive coordinator after the departure of Jeff Teford earlier this month. Smith is not a guy who’s particularly hands on with his quarterback, and so I don’t view the influence of Smith as the most important element in whether a quarterback succeeds or not. The Bucs offense stunk this year for several reasons, and I don’t think a primary one was because Lovie Smith was the head coach. Tampa was without the ailing Tedford, who was the only experienced offensive hand on the staff in terms of calling plays and creating an offensive structure. (Tedford had a heart ailment that limited his participation in team activities for most of the season.) An assistant ill-suited to be Tampa Bay offensive coordinator this year, Marcus Arroyo, was the biggest reason for the poor offense, followed by poor quarterback play most of the year, and a leaky offensive line. I also think you have to remember that very seldom does a franchise quarterback entering the draft go to a good team. If I were Mariota, I’d actually want to go to Tampa with a relatively small media presence and its offensive weapons (Vincent Jackson, Mike Evans, Austin Sefarian-Jenkins).

Well, at least Joe has a new nickname to work with, “ill-suited” Marcus Arroyo.

Joe never considered the Bucs could have another Jackson moment on their hands, but what the letter-writer spelled out makes all the sense in the world. And as King states, that is why the offensive coordinator hire is so, so critical.

If the Bucs hire Mike Tice — which Joe fears could happen — the agents for Winston and Mariota would have every right to tell their clients not to put pen to paper with the Bucs.

The ghost of Bo Jackson lives.

54 Responses to “The Ghost Of Bo Jackson”

  1. Buccfan37 Says:

    Bo knew football and bad football. Stiff the Bucs and you’re on my crap list forever.

  2. bucrightoff Says:

    Hiring Mike Tice would be so awesome. We’d have another #1 pick to look forward to next year.

  3. Florida Hillbilly Says:

    Kinda hope we get Mark Trestman for OC

  4. Rays8Jenningsfan Says:

    I don’t believe that Mariota or (god forbid we draft him) Winston would spurn us. I feel that the ability to turn around a ship in one year gives at least hope to anyone drafted anywhere.

    Plus, I don’t think Mike Tice would get the job. Kevin Gilbride seems like an interesting name to bring up, though. Experience running the Run-and-Shoot Offense, the predecessor of the Spread, and help Eli Manning actually look like a competent Quarterback.

  5. Eric Says:

    28 years ago…..still stings bad.

  6. RachelWatson'sthong Says:

    That thought has crossed my mind numerous times. If something embarrassingly bad will happen to a franchise, it will happen to the Bucs. Although Bo was an awe inspiring athlete and made some great TV commercials, I didn’t shed a single tear when his hip decided to retire.

  7. JC De La Torre Says:

    I refuse to believe Lovie would stake his coaching career on Mike Tice. He has to get this one right.

  8. kh Says:

    Read anything about Mariota and you’ll know pulling some punk Sheli Manning move is 1000% against his character. Dumbest question ever.

  9. Architek Says:

    Oh yeah if we get the wrong OC this franchise is ruined and will be and should be banned from the NFL and shipped to another town.

    It’s been a embarrassment for over a decade and continue to reach new depth of embarrassment with two questionable prospects refusing to come to Tampa- of all these factors the Glazers have to own this.

    Cmon glazers do the right thing and put your bad hire on ice.

  10. biff barker Says:

    Trestman, Chud maybe Norv Turner.

    Without a QB guru as an OC is like feeding a rookie QB to the lions.

    After Lovie’s recent Kim Jong Il’s supreme leader comments, I’d be hard pressed to believe that he is as hands off as some profess.

  11. Architek Says:

    Hiring Mike Tice would be so awesome. We’d have another #1 pick to look forward to next year.

    LMBO –

    So true tank part 2

  12. lion Says:

    I think Dungy would have some kind of influence over convincing at least Mariota that the Bucs would be a great place for him to go.

  13. biff barker Says:

    Architek Says:

    Cmon glazers do the right thing and put your bad hire on ice.
    Sad to say but Love and learn Architek, Love and learn.!

  14. Joe Says:

    I think Dungy would have some kind of influence over convincing at least Mariota that the Bucs would be a great place for him to go.

    Why would anyone listen to advice about quarterbacks from Dungy?

  15. BIG SIR Says:

    Winston has already not so subtly hinted that he wanted to play for the Bucs. Mariota is a humble modest guy without that type of ego.

    Sorry Jared from Oregon, your hard on to keep Mariota in Oregon so you can continue to fantasize about him forever and always will come to end come Draft day.

  16. MadMax Says:

    I thoght they had no choice but to play for who drafted them. Thanks for clearing that up.

    But all of this can be avoided by using our 1st on Williams.

  17. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Speaking for Pablo

    “Pablo is disturbed by all the negative speak on his boy Arroyo…and Pablo was all good with Mariota until he found out that he was part Samoan & German….now Pablo wants to bring in Sanchez”

  18. gt40bear Says:

    If you were a top tier QB and were drafted by the Bucs, would you want to play for them, especially if you had the baseball option open???

  19. lion Says:


    What college kid wouldn’t respect Tony Dungy? What I was referring to is that fact that Dungy has ties to Oregon and Mariota being that his son played with him at Oregon. Any college kid that would ignore advice from Tony Dungy would be foolish. Dungy is also responsible for Peyton Manning’s sole super bowl ring, is he not? That right there is all he needs to say.

  20. bucs4lyfe Says:

    this dude is from Oregon that should tell you all you need to know about that comment. Bo Jackson had a reason for turning away from the bucs and it was the owners more than it was the team as the story is portrayed. eli comes from the manning family, its even said his brother went back to college so he wouldn’t be drafted by whatever team at the top of the draft…neither one of these guys have that kind of football family history and Winston is dying to get that top pick contract, mariotta I don’t know him but florida isn’t a bad place to play football especially since were always sitting at home during winter season

  21. 1bucfan88 Says:

    Lol Joe I was thinking the same thing when Dungy sent out that tweet imploring Lovie to just take Mariota. I was like, “And just what do you know about QBs?” Great guy that Tony Dungy, but he only got his ring because he got handed Tom Moore and Peyton Manning.

  22. SSG Mike Says:

    Very different situation. The Bucs of the 80’s were less than 5 years removed from the mishandling of Doug Williams who was in line to be one of the highest paid black players in history at the time. Plus the NCAA permission debacle. Culverhouse was pretty much a racist and an idiot. Not to mention after the strike season, where they backed into the playoffs, they were in a perpetual rebuilding all the way into the 90’s. Sam Wyche was the real ground breaker in Tampa, drafting Brooks, Lynch and Sapp. Putting the Bucs on the right path through a solid draft foundation. The current Bucs have a reasonable organization, meaning not “Al Davis” “Jerry Jones” destructive. Like Peter King states, we have a low visibility market. Sanchez was going to be the next coming of Namath until NY ate him up. We also have an excellent stable of RB’s, two of the top WR’s in the game and an up and coming defense. Our O-Line is our biggest problem unit (outside of current QB’s). Once we grab our QB in the draft we can get a couple of Linemen, Offense and Defense. Our team is not as bad as our record would indicate. The right OC and a few solid linemen on both sides of the ball. If Lovie can put all the pieces together, we could be a solid team on the rise. Why would either of these QB’s NOT want to come here if we have the right OC and QB Coach in place prior to the draft.

  23. StPeteBucsFan Says:

    Again people who know Mariota and pay attention realize how far fetched this story is. If the Bucs want to make him the #1 pick in the entire NFL draft he’ll jump at the chance, not for himself but for his culture and for the culture of “island football” in Hawaii and Samoa.

    When he won the Heisman Mariota and dozens of other NFL polynesian stars who have gone before Mariota were excited because of what winning a Heisman meant for their race and for their Island football heritage. The same thing is true about being the #1 pick.

    Yes football is a business but the #1 pick of an entire draft still has prestige and Mariota will claim that prestige for all the right reasons. Not selfish me, me, me…but islander we, we, we. This kid is going to be a great ambassador for the Bucs and a wonderful influence on the entire team.

  24. gatrbuc17 Says:

    Why would anyone listen to advice about quarterbacks from Dungy?
    LOL, we shouldnt listen to Dungy but we Should listen to you right Joes?

  25. gatrbuc17 Says:

    You have never had to strike one of my comments Joes. So why are they always “awaiting moderation”?

  26. Dave Pear Says:

    I remember reading an interview from Doug Williams where he is supposed to have told Bo Jackson that Bo shouldn’t come to Tampa because Hugh Culverhouse was a racist.

  27. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Dungy is a coach looked up to by many Christian players……that added to Lovie’s strong faith should impress Mariota.
    The new OC along with the skills of Jason Licht should get the job done.

    The problem with Winston is that he could use Baseball as an excuse to shun the Bucs…..I just don’t see Lovie wanting him.

  28. Eric Says:

    They can sign whoever they want before the draft. If Winston even gives the slightest hint of baseball they should.

    Unless they changed that rule.

    But I imagine both QB’s will love Lovie.

    He’s a players coach. Perfect guy for Jameis to have IMO.

  29. Tampabaybucfan Says:


    Joe is always “awaiting moderation” on my posts too…..maybe their are key words that trigger the action….????

  30. MadMax Says:


    Must be something they’re dealing with. Its usually only a few minutes until it posts.

  31. MadMax Says:

    ….and confirmed by his latest headline.

  32. Buc Fan South Tampa Says:

    Agree with Joe on Dungy. I heard what Dungy said on Football Night in America last Sunday about Lovie drafting Mariota. Dungy can pick the DBs and NTs but not a QB. Also remember that Lagarrette Blount was given the blessing by Dungy and we see how that happened. Think Dungy needs to stick with broadcasting.

  33. TinBucToo Says:

    This just in…PFT announced Connar Barth AFC Special Teams player of the month. Yet another one we let get away.

  34. Hawk Says:

    @ SSG Mike

    While I agree that it was Sam Wyche who got the team moving in the right direction, *I* believe it was when he convinced Hardy Nickerson to play here, that the ‘losing’ culture started changing.

  35. ctord Says:

    well there goes the only positive thing to happen this season. thanks Joe. ugh..

  36. Kaptain Morgan Says:

    Interesting…in theory. I would give this more credence if the head coach was Rex Ryan more so than Lovie Smith. I’m not even (currently) a Lovie Smith fan, but I don’t think I have seen anywhere yet where Lovie has ruined any QB’s careers. He’s just hands off when it comes to offense; unlike a Rex Ryan who probably ruined Geno Smith’s (confidence) career already.

    I agree with ‘kh’, Mariota’s character is nothing like that of Elway from back in the day; nor has the Bucs done anything to burn any bridges (yet) to not make this (still undeclared Junior) from wanting to come to the Bucs.

    Final point, when the Bucs do hire their Offensive Coordinator, you will know based on the resume of the guy who the Bucs ultimately would like to see play QB here in the future. If the OC runs a traditional pro-style offense like that of Winston is used to running or a spread style offense like Mariota (a-la Chip Kelly uses) is used to running will give a “clue” to the direction maybe the Bucs will want to draft. I still say however, everything is way too early since no one has declared yet; no individual pro-days have happened; no scouting combine has occurred…I am hoping there is someone else that stands out ahead of these two because I’m not yet blown away by either!

  37. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    If something like that was going to happen, it would have happened to the Jags years ago.

    This situation is nowhere near the same. Culverhouse was a racist pig who refused to pay blacks equally. He treated none of his players with respect and was already known to refuse to invest in the team properly.

    Not to mention we did not have a players coach and there was the ncaa violation.

    The situation is completely different now.

    We have owners willing to spend, a state of the art training facility, owners that spend, great WRs to throw to, good RBs…and we’ll have a brand new offensive coordinator and staff.

    I see a lot of claims that this is the worst the team has ever been. Those people are the ones that have no clue and have not been around long. Try twenty-two losing season, a winless season, a nearly winless season, the Bo Jackson fiasco, our CB getting in the face of the head coach in a public London Hotel lobby, numerous pot smokers, a wife abuser, MRSA…so much more.

    Get a clue people.

  38. Champ Says:

    Sir, don’t make things up and insult Joe. –Joe

  39. Architek Says:

    Bonzai –
    You’re crazy if you think the NFL or general populous cares about this team. The Glazers are filthy earth changing rich but what does that have to do with reputation and relevance.

    You get a clue and take your HC with you. What does a new OC and training facilities got to do with the price of tea in China!??? Has nothing to do with squat in this discussion. This franchise is a BAD team and has been the doormat for well over a decade and there is no excuse for the hires and decisions made.

    From personnel to the drafting and the contracts and coaches – this team has been a model of Junior Varsity!

    Don’t you go saying no one hasn’t been around long enough when many of us that are sick of losing have. There are collegiate programs ran better than the Bucs and since you brought up amenities and spending, the league mandates a percentage of revenue and cap be spent so there’s that point smashed.

    Let’s see you defend that – I didn’t think so; you can’t judge anyone for their opinions! Lovie, Schiano, and Raheem stunk! Whats the common denominator the Glazers! I don’t have a personal problem with them I have a problem with their management and oversight of their investment into the hands of incapable people….

  40. Hawk Says:

    @ Architek

    It could be worse. We could have grown up being Washington, Dallas, or Oakland fans.
    While the Glazers are ‘meddling’ owners, they are not qualified to choose ‘football’ people. If they would turn over ALL football decisions (hiring/firing coaches) to a McKay/Wolf type of GM, I believe we would see a change in the quality of the product on the field. And it may just be that Licht would be a great GM… if he had more power.

  41. Zam Says:

    I remember hearing that Hugh Culverhouse told Bo Jackson he couldn’t be dating white women when he was here. Was that just an incorrect rumor?

  42. Joe Says:


    Never heard that and just guessing how often Bo Jackson has blasted the Bucs, he very likely would have mentioned that a time or two on record.

  43. Architek Says:

    Agreed – imo Licht comes with more credibility than Lovie regarding personnel. I’m just over the double talk and arrogance from a coach living on his half empty success with offenses.

    Defense – well ok but on offense Lovie resume is beyond suspect.

    All I ask for the Glazers to get a football guy In to balance their Lovie.

  44. Joe Says:

    Agreed – imo Licht comes with more credibility than Lovie regarding personnel. I’m just over the double talk and arrogance from a coach living on his half empty success with offenses.

    Thank you.

  45. WINdycitybuc Says:

    Tice would be an upgrade as O-Line coach. That is his capacity. Lovie’s biggest problem is that he wants absolute control which contributes to counter-production (ego). We are very young on offense and if we want to succeed we need an OC that is contemporary with a touch of old school (not afraid to run it). Anyone come to mind?

  46. Joe Says:

    Tice would be an upgrade as O-Line coach.

    Maybe. Remember, Tice, before he became Lovie’s OC, was Chicago’s offensive line coach. And they were pretty much a sieve, too.

  47. Bucsqb12 Says:

    I don’t see team Glazer pulling anything slimy like. Culverhouse thought he could use crass business tactics in football. Hugh don’t know Bo! The best thing Culverhouse ever did for the Bucs was to die.

  48. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    “the league mandates a percentage of revenue and cap be spent so there’s that point smashed.

    Let’s see you defend that – I didn’t think so;…”

    Okay, for years you complain they don’t spend. They prove you wrong and you claim the league mandates it. Except it really doesn’t. They can still use tricks to save money. Incentives, etc.

    The truth is, you have always hated the Glazers and blamed them for nearly everything. You can deny it, but some of us have been here long enough to know the truth. Just like you have never liked a Bucs coach from Gruden forward.

    Oh, you go back on your word a lot, try to rewrite history by saying things like “they should never have fired gruden“ or Schiano was better“, but at the time, you wanted them gone.

    And I KNOW YOU are not a fan from the beginning, because you admitted it a good while back.

    So throw your tantrem now. Call me a liar and hope no one uses the search tool.

  49. jo_mama Says:


    I am pretty sure Jo_”freaken”mama posted the same thing on your web site several times.

    No need to go to Oregon to get valuable info just listen to people smarter than you in your own back yard.

  50. Fort Myers Dave Says:

    Thanks for the article Joe; the truth is that while our 2014 Bucs were awful at least it is not the Leeman Bennett years of 1985 and 1986. Being a fan of the Bucs back then was a real test of fortitude. LeRoy Selmon was retired and the only decent players on the whole roster were Jimmie Giles and James Wilder. Hugh Culverhouse had no interest in winning games, he was content to collect TV revenue, have crowds of 30 to 35K at the Sombrero unless the Bears came to town (back then the Packers stunk too so they did not draw like they did this year), threaten to move some games to the old Tangerine Bowl in Orlando, and help the NFL create tax loopholes to aid himself and the other NFL owners make more coin while paying less to the Feds. While the Glazers appear to be incompetent at times since Malcolm had the stroke I do believe they do want the team to succeed; they simply have not done anything right since the Gruden era. Perhaps hiring the right OC and drafting the right qb will get this team back to respectability again; I just hope to God that L&L do not hire Tice; if they do forget about drafting a qb and just trade down with the Skins or Jets and hopefully get a RG3 like return in draft picks and hunker down for another 2-14 until there is a regime change. Bad for us fans now? YES but it is better than the Culverhouse regime. Happy New Year to all and hopefully 2015 will be a good year for everyone including the lads at One Buc Place….

  51. Architek Says:

    Bonzai- (LOL)
    Oh, you go back on your word a lot, try to rewrite history by saying things like “they should never have fired gruden“ or Schiano was better“, but at the time, you wanted them gone.

    And I KNOW YOU are not a fan from the beginning, because you admitted it a good while back.

    So throw your tantrem now. Call me a liar and hope no one uses the search tool.”

    Please do go back and search buddy and actually me assist you on a couple of points you made that were half true.

    Truth 1: the Glazers DO NOT have to revenue share on stadium concessions and profits from the stadium but they do have to pay their bills and taxes on it so on that you’re correct. Oh but make no mistake they absolutely MUST spend to meet the minimum for the salary cap spending.
    Translation: they will go get FAs but the question is much like DOMINIK will Lovie pick the right groceries. Hmm, I guess 2014 results proves he will. (Just in case you’re a apologists) no comment

    Truth 2: Ive never liked any coach since Gruden – BINGO you nailed it and I’m proud to see I’m batting 1000. It’s not always about where you’re from or your resume but in the NFL scheme, pedigree, and credentials says a lot.
    Translation: see O’Brien in Houston putting on a clinic on how to compete with no QB! STOP MAKING EXCUSES FOR FAILURE SON!!!

    Truth 3: I wasn’t and haven’t been a Bucs fan since day one – unfortunately I sometimes hate falling in love with this cursed franchise because I can’t leave them if I tried and trust me I tried but they are a bad Girlfriend with good sex. The glory years on the 90s and early 2000s were the pinnacle of a historically bad franchise and we that love to hate them for obvious reasons had to relish those seasons.
    Translation: I’m a realist not a homer. Hopefully when you search you will see I despised Williams, Freeturd, Raheem, Schiano (Bozo) the Clown, and eventually DOMINIK for his fatal love for his failed picks (Myron Lewis and Limpkin – FA)

    Truth 4: the Glazers and my opinion of them. You are damn right there from 2008 – 2012 they did not open their wallets to acquire credible FAs or coaches. All their attention and resources were devoted to the dominant ManU – while I’m happy for their success, I could give a rats arse about that soccer team. I travel from Tx to Tampa every to see the home openers and I had to stop because the product was a mess.
    Translation: No one is lining up to be Bucs fans sir like Pack and Cows and Steelers and other steady franchises. There is no waiting line for this franchise and instability is the payback for fan loyalty.

    One statement for you Bonzai, I actually like you and your posts but you don’t have a right to tell me or there how to criticize repeated failures. Let’s lool at it like this opinions are free and moderated but nonetheless I can say and feel how I want without your snide comments. You keep believing things are okay in this organization while others are watching and cheering in January and the substance is in front of you – #1 pick in the 2015 NFL Draft and early pick in 2016.

    School is over GN Bonzai – ps I still will like your posts

  52. Architek Says:

    Oh BTW since you got me wound up-

    Just Answer this simple question. Will Lovie lead his team to .500 next year??

    We will review after next season.

  53. Pierce Says:

    I think king hit the nail on the head when he talked about Lovie’s lack of understanding offense. I got tired of hearing how it’s Marcus’s fault when the head coach should be able to help. As a head coach you should have a decent understanding of the offense so if your coordinator is failing to get the job done you can step in to help. I am very unimpressed at Lovie’s lack of knowledge on the offensive side of the football.

  54. ddneast Says:

    That’s right Biff Barker and the rest of you Lovie haters, don’t believe what you read from a hundred reliable sources that have more reliable information that you do.
    Just go with the feeling in your gut. It’s got so much more intelligence than your feeble brain.