Brazen Robbery, Dictating Coverage & Wild Times With Bucs Fans

April 28th, 2017

Tampa Bay’s only Pro Football Hall of Fame voter, Ira Kaufman, has hung his hat at world headquarters since July 2015. His columns pop here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and his award winning podcasts fire every Tuesday and Thursday.


You should have been there. Maybe next year.

There was quite a celebration in the Bucs war room Thursday night, but those high-fives and cheers were nothing compared to the delirium going down at Sports Legends in Clearwater.

That’s where hundreds of rabid Buc fans gathered for the first round of the NFL draft, a raucous party led by Justin (Jason) Pawlowski, otherwise known as The Commish, host of the Bucs Uncensored podcast.

Rock Riley was also on hand, along with one of the two owners of this website, which is gaining many thousands of new visitors each month.

What a blast. (Video here!)

When the opening round began, a majority of Buc fans I spoke to wanted Dalvin Cook in pewter if he was available at No. 19. But as the evening wore on and the beers flowed, those sentiments changed because a mighty big stick was somehow still on the board.

That’s when Pawlowski took over the sports bar, leading Tampa Bay fans in chants for “O.J. Howard, O.J. Howard.”

And when the big moment finally came, Port Richey Lou and John from Sarasota were also on board. So was Mike from Clearwater, Adam from Pinellas Park, Chris from St. Petersburg and Brandon Hendricks from Oregon.

Ultimate Value

And don’t forget about Javier.

Wearing a No. 55 Derrick Brooks jersey, Javier flew in from Panama City, Panama just to join the festivities. He arrived brandishing expensive cigars and good vibes, holding court in a corner with The Commish and his disciples.

As the draft unfolded, Buc fans quickly realized things were falling into place for Jason Licht and Dirk Koetter. Teams kept trading up to grab quarterbacks, leaving higher-rated prospects still available.

When 15 picks went by and Howard was still there, Koetter couldn’t believe his good fortune. He might have had Licht in a headlock by that point, asking him to consider a trade up, but Tampa Bay’s GM stayed cool.

As usual, Licht trusted his instincts that the Bucs had good intel on what other teams were looking for. He let the draft come to him and when Licht picked up that phone to call Howard, the Glazer brothers pumped their fists in delight.

As far as Jameis Winston is concerned, the Bucs are already 2-0 on the season after adding DeSean Jackson and Howard. Factor in Mike Evans, Cameron Brate and Adam Humphries, and you can bet Koetter is already playing fantasy football in his head.

Minutes after the first round ended, ESPN analyst Todd McShay was asked for his opinion on the best value pick. There was no hesitation.

“O.J. Howard to the Buccaneers at No. 19,” he said.

Power Playcalling

By that point, some fans were leaving Sports Legends. Finally, there were a few empty seats in the joint.

The Bucs staged their own draft party at the stadium for season-ticket holders, but the die-hard fans were across the Courtney Campbell Causeway, whooping it up.

Among the many chants, some were not suitable for young ears. Buc fans there will never forget the excitement, the anticipation and the yummy wings.

At the end, even the Dalvin Cook supporters realized the Bucs had just committed a brazen robbery. There are other good backs to be found the rest of the way, but there is only one O.J. Howard.

“I think he’s a future Greg Olson,” says NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock. “That’s who I see. He can get down the field and he’s tough enough to catch the ball in the crowd.”

Koetter admits he loves tight ends who can catch. Now he has two of ’em, giving him the power to dictate coverage.

Even if Dalvin Cook rushes for 1,200 yards this year for somebody else, it won’t take away from the joy at One Buc Place.

O.J. Howard’s a Buc.

Pawlowski got the party started in grand style Thursday evening. The real fun begins in September.

The following draft party video is NOT safe for work or young children.

23 Responses to “Brazen Robbery, Dictating Coverage & Wild Times With Bucs Fans”

  1. Tampa Tony Says:

    Irv, what do you think about trading Brate?ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha haha

  2. R.O. Says:

    Gonna be a run on OL, RB, DB at the top of the 2nd..

  3. BuccaneEric75 Says:

    I wish I was there! Holy $hit!

  4. Topdoggie Says:

    Ira do you think we will still get a good running back?

  5. LifeOfABucFan Says:

    A very happy group with OJ Howard being selected! Just got my chills back again..

    Just hope no one drove

  6. Chris Outlaw Says:

    Great recap Ira! That place was rockin’, and at the end of the night we all were happy with the steal of the draft. The Commish is a party professional, if you missed it last night… well, you missed it. You have another chance tonight. Let’s go!!!

  7. Mike Johnson Says:

    I don’t think our Bucs go running back in the 2nd at all. Its either an O lineman or a Defensive player. Watch Mr. Martin come back and have hellava year.

  8. LifeOfABucFan Says:

    Agree mike Johnson…I’ve said it..we were going TE in the 1st and everyone laughed..

    Now a shiny new weapon for Smitty would be nice..

  9. Blake_bucsfan Says:

    Finally, some sense being made on JBF.

    Always knew I could count on you Irv.

  10. DavidBigBucFan99 Says:

    MJ you know what I’m sayin? It’s the odd year so Martin’s bound for 1400 yards again. Make Joe Mixon a Buc let him get up to par with the pro speed feed him more rock candy near the end of season and next year he’ll be the man and musclebackuphamster can be change of pace. Next year Mixon will have a new video out of him beating up d lines like they were college girls, this time no need to apologize !

  11. Mick Says:

    Perine in the 3rd round today, calling it.

  12. tdtb2015 Says:


    OJ Howard is a BUC!!!!

    Fire them CANNONS!!!

    Great Party!!

    Go Bucs!!!

  13. Ben the Ga Buc Says:


    The man can draft and his intel is amazing, getting better and better each year. Can’t wait to see what tonight unfolds for the Bucs.

  14. nate12345 Says:

    Oj howard is a stud! good luck saints panters and falcons doubling on evans jackson and howard.. BECAUSE YOU CANT!

  15. Maze Says:

    Cook fanboys still in tears

  16. MarineBucsFan Says:

    I think Ira summed it up very well. I was (or am because he is still available) on the Dalvin Cook train, but OJ Howard was indeed a gift from the football gods and too good to pass up. UnFreakinBelivable!!! This offense is going to be explosive.

  17. JonBuc Says:

    Icon Ira…the real Buccaneer “rockstar”.

  18. Callum Says:

    Mixon in 2.

  19. bucNation Says:

    @maze not gonna lie at first i was a little hurt but i knew we were taking oj there is no way he should have been there and depending on what happens tn we could end up with the best overall draft of any team just like 2015

  20. darin Says:

    Id be good with that. I hope marlon macks there in the 3rd n we get him. He is much more explosive a player, n we know thats been the word since the season ended. N OJ freaking Howard, what a pick. He is explosive for sure. The offense is gona put up some points this year! Cmon Licht keep it goin tonight. Go bucs

  21. Maze Says:

    Yes sir Howard has a chance to be great

  22. greg Says:

    was at the party…it was pretty amazing and it was great to be there with the real fans. I was hoping for Cook until about the 14th-15th pick and then realized that we had a shot at Howard…which nobody would have thought was a possibility. Great job Commish, Sports Legends Ira and Rock

  23. jameisaintnopunk Says:

    that’s right, speak softly and carry a big mofo’n stick