An Awakening

May 4th, 2017

Fun debuts this fall.

Boy, what a shock to the system Tampa Bay fans will get come September.

How bad has offensive football been in Bucs history?Fans used to hit the food lines and beer stands when the home team had the ball!

When John McKay damned near got the Bucs into a Super Bowl, the Bucs were led by Lee Roy Selmon featuring a ferocious defense, No. 1-ranked in the NFL. The offense? Outside of a few Doug Williams bombs to Kevin House and Jimmie Giles, was pretty pedestrian averaging just 17 points per game.

When Father Dungy rebuilt the Bucs, the offense was slightly more entertaining than a test pattern. The defense was fun as hell to watch with Warren Sapp, Simeon Rice, Derrick Brooks and John Lynch flying around and laying the wood.

Now, AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht seems to be building the roster to reflect the times: a passing league.

Former Bucs beat writer Andrew Astleford, typing for, reflected upon the dark ages and how the Bucs are finally catching up with the rest of the NFL.

I covered Tampa Bay from 2013-15. I saw offensive stink bombs at their worst. There was the Josh Freeman fiasco. There was Josh McCown’s incompetence. There was Mike Glennon’s inability to become the Bucs’ future behind center after [Lovie] Smith declared the former North Carolina State quarterback to be just that.

At times, working games at Raymond James Stadium felt like watching a bizarro version of the NFL. It was like witnessing a sad carnival act in which the outcome felt determined before you parked your car. More than a few times, I asked myself from the press box, “People paid good money to skip out on the beach for THIS?!?!”

And that is exactly why Joe slapped the stadium with the “Den of Depression” moniker, a tag Joe will happily stop using when the Bucs win five home games in a season. Is that really too much to ask?

Joe remembers the Wrongo Starr era all too well, like the bad stomach flu you had as a kid.

In a 2013 home loss to the Vikings, the game was so bad and so painful to watch, during one possession Joe had to get up, go get a cold Coke Zero and watch a possession on TV. It was the one and only time in Joe’s professional life where Joe seriously considered a career change.

Now with a franchise quarterback, America’s Quarterback, Pro Bowler Jameis Winston, throwing to Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, O.J. Howard and Adam Humphries… how does a defense stop that?

My how things have changed. This should be a bunch of fun.

55 Responses to “An Awakening”

  1. gilhealy Says:

    And Chris Godwin, and Jeremy McNichols…

  2. gilhealy Says:

    ….and Cameron Brate

  3. GabeKelber Says:

    ….. and Doug Martin

  4. K2 Says:


  5. Guzzie Says:

    Now we get to see if head coach play caller (2016 bad) or offensive coordinator play caller (2015 good) is the true play caller, screw this offense up, and it’s time to give up the play calling duties, it was too much for a rookie head coach, it cost us the playoffs last year, remember that Rams game not using the timeouts

  6. Guzzie Says:

    Super stoked and have complete faith in Dirk, this will be the most exciting offense the Bucs have ever fielded

  7. Buc1987 Says:

    “People paid good money to skip out on the beach for THIS?!?!”

    “That is exactly why Joe slapped the stadium with the “Den of Depression”

    I had my first season tickets ever in 2013. It was a God awful experience on the field. We had to make the most of it. So we brought our silly signs to every game just to maybe get on the jumbotron. Made it their a couple of times and once on TV. That was our fun. Thee end. It’s when I brought my “This Sucks” sign to RJS as we were about to go 0-8 on a Thursday nighter. Everyone loved the sign and took many pics with fans, all while drunk off my ass.

    THIS…this is what I’m talking about when I say “embrace the suck”. Futility makes winning sweeter. Pats fans are like ho hum we won another game. When the Bucs go on a run, us suffering fans are going to feel it. I went through some of the crap years from 87 on. Trust me. Futility makes winning sweeter. We deserve this. My wife and I deserve this. Everyone that walked out of that stadium after another consecutive loss for the last 3 years deserves this.

    This is OUR time.

  8. Buc1987 Says:

    On that Thursday nighter the air wasn’t thick with humidity. The air was thick with hatred for Schiano. It was so thick you could cut it with a knife. You could feel the negative energy in the stadium. It was an odd experience for me and I kind of felt a little bad for him while walking out to my car. He looked right up at my sign as I held it over the tunnel and his face shrunk even more. They won a game, we made sure we went over to the tunnel to overly applaud them like we were cheering on pre-schoolers.

  9. WhatdaBUCisthis Says:

    I’m thinking 34ppg sounds about right

  10. Pawel Says:

    Every time I think we have O.J. Howard, Brate and Evans, then I forget we have Jackson.

  11. darin Says:

    I had season tickets for the first time before 1985, so yes i agree it is time. There has been some incredibly bad offensive outputs over the years. Good ole trent dilfer being the worst in my eyes. Whew how the times have changed. Coming off 9 and 7 and picking up a ton of offensive talent feels great. Gona be an exciting season. Im not caught up in the we need a better running back deal either. Hope im right but i just feel the offense as a whole will be much much better. Go bucs

  12. Tarzan the Bucs Fan Says:

    Cant wait to see this offense on the feild on sundays. Of the offense plays like expected and the defense plays decent this could be a really really really good footbalk team

  13. Buc1987 Says:

    Pawel….Godwin and Hump too.


  14. 941BUC Says:

    Joe its even entertaining to watch when Bryan Anger gets the ball!

  15. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    I stopped buying season tickets when they changed uniforms. After years of losing, it was the last straw, because I hate the current ones with a passion. Suddenly, driving 50+ miles to watch losing football under a sun that gives me migraines was not worth the effort.

    It’s a shame, because I used to take a bunch of kids with me from clubs (I had a dozen tickets). After that, I started taking the kids to Lightning and Rays games (God, I hate baseball…but it was for the kids) on individual game instances. Eventually, even that tapered off because of various reasons such as health and my career demands.

    I don’t know if I will ever attend a live Bucs game again. I loved going, but these days I don’t know if I can handle the effort of getting there, the migraines (and having to drive home with one) and other inconveniences. TV works fine for me.

  16. Rrsrq Says:

    I agree this should be exciting an offense that we have seen, but would still love it when the Bucs was running that clock down with Alstott, that was classic because you know that nobody wanted to tackle him by the fourth quarter.

  17. tdtb2015 Says:

    Are we forgetting 2016??????

    We went 9-7!!!! 4-4 at home!!!!!!! The Den of Depression?

    WTH is going on here????? said Lombardi.

    I can understand some naysayers having doubts because of Raheem and SheAnus eras. But after last season calling the stadium the den of depression is baffling!

    Only three things make sense to see that name coming from Joe:

    1. He still having nightmares of his bromance Johnny Football as a Buc throwing 5 interceptions at the stadium and waking up sweating.
    2. Joe still roots for his childhood team – the Rams
    3. pushing buttons to create comments for “entertainment purposes” wink, wink

    Seriously “The Den Of Depression?” Experiencing Winston, Koetter and Smitty last year flushes that name down the toilet Joseph. LMAO SMH Really?

    I still love you guys!!! Seriously!!!

  18. The Buc Realist Says:

    I want to thank all of the posters that stood up and took a stand during all those dark years here on JBF!!!! All the people that were in the trenches as we fought side by side because what was on the field was beyond garbage!!!!
    We were labeled as not “true fans” and “agents of chaos” and “Haters” and even called “racists”!!!!!!!!

    But we constantly told the truth!!!! And most of us still have the same names from back then as we do now!!!! I am Thanking all the “true fans”!!!! and we will now be rewarded the treasure for our services!!!!!

    Go Bucs!!!!!!!!!

  19. ben Says:

    Bucs qb needs to really improve his accuracy or Mr.Winston will be the guy looking bad on offense.

  20. feelthepewterpower Says:

    I want to thank all of the posters that stood up and took a stand during all those dark years here on JBF!!!! All the people that were in the trenches as we fought side by side because what was on the field was beyond garbage!!!!
    We were labeled as not “true fans” and “agents of chaos” and “Haters” and even called “racists”!!!!!!!!

    But we constantly told the truth!!!! And most of us still have the same names from back then as we do now!!!! I am Thanking all the “true fans”!!!! and we will now be rewarded the treasure for our services!!!!!

    Go Bucs!!!!!!!!!
    Been here since the inception in 2008, I want to say. Most of us were going through those dark days well. well before JBF ever existed. In fact, the losing during the post-super bowl years is a drop in the bucket compared to the bleak outlook the shrouded this franchise for over two decades. I remember getting laughed at in school for wearing my Bucco Bruce gear…

  21. BucFamous Says:

    We still need our opponents to respect the run to open the pass. And we’re not there. We also need time in the pocket for Jameis.

    The future definitely looks bright, but it’s still the future and not the present. A few more pieces on the line and in the offensive backfield and we’ll be cookin with gas!

  22. DBS Says:

    1 9-7 season shows nothing!!! The last game was given because Ron did not want over time!!!!. Get to the playoff’s then you have proven something!!!!
    And change the hideous uniforms!!!!!

  23. Tom Edrington Says:

    Ah, a post that talks about football in the year 2017 PASSING ATTACK, finally didn’t gripe about the running backs…….Joe will be a closet Minnesota fan because his guy (you all know who it is) is up there……

  24. gotbbucs Says:

    These are the type of passing offenses that make middling talent running backs look like pro bowlers.
    If they can get down the field on scoring drives in 7 or 8 plays, instead of 10 or 12 plays, they should be able to get at least two more offensive possessions per game. That makes a big difference in the end.

  25. buc15 Says:

    I have a feeling once Martin returns he will go off this season.

  26. Dewey Selmon Says:

    From what i understand, the uniforms were a 4 year contract. This is year 4. Any tweaks next year?

  27. Bucsfanman Says:

    Man, you guys took me for a trip down memory lane! I had season tickets for 2 years in 1995 and 1996. In ’95 we signed Alvin Harper and I remember being in the same endzone when he finally caught his 1st touchdown catch as a Buc………only to be thrown out of the game for grabbing the ref!!! I got to see Sapp’s TD as a rookie. That was the Sam Wyche era. We were terrible. Going to see Chicago or GB was like being at their stadiums, there were so many Bears and Packer fans!
    Our history has not been good. For a mere decade or so we were a winning football team. The moniker, “Den of Depression” is well earned. I will be happy when we can retire it for good! I will burn my orange, creamsicle Zubaz in effigy when we start winning regularly again.

  28. OJ "I Got The Juice" Howard Says:

    @ben, He will be throwing at 3 guys who are 6’5 or taller as well as Godwin who jumps up and grabs contested catches. Its hard to overthrow Jackson on the deepball when he is so damn fast. I actually think we will be seeing Jackson in the slot and Godwin on the outside sometimes. That’s how well Godwin is good on the 50/50 ball.

  29. ruggyup Says:

    Be aware of typical pre-season irrational exuberance. In can be a hiney biter after about 5 games in.

  30. Lord Cornelius Says:

    When I started commenting on this site it was between the Schiano/Lovie times and I got into it with Realist after Lovie’s 1st season; mainly because I saw progress on the defensive side towards the end of that year specifically and those were usually our off season arguments; but I think I’ve been on the same page with him since the week 1 blowout loss to the Titans onward. Wish I could have seen the signs earlier but I honestly just looked at what Lovie did in Chicago and assumed he knew what he was doing. At least I can admit I was wrong unlike so many others here who never will….cough cough.. “Dirk Tomsula” predictions..

    I gave Schiano a chance but was done with him pretty early. Dude just didn’t have the respect of his team at all. Never liked Mike Glennon. Never liked most of Domnic’s drafts but always tried to be optimistic. Hated the Revis trade. Basically hated a lot of moves we’ve made until the last few years with Aguayo being the worst transgression. But before the last couple years it seemed we made 2-3 Aguayo type moves every off season.

    Also – Buc87 – what’s the 87 referencing? That’s my birth year

  31. Stpetebucsfan Says:

    I got no problem with Joe’s “Den of Depression”. For him though it might be personal…all those failures with the Buc cheerleaders.

  32. greg Says:

    Kevin House was not on the 1979 team…he showed up in 1980

  33. JonBuc Says:

    Those were some stinky times…and the uniform change didn’t help matters much. I think we’re all glad Joe didn’t change careers to male modeling…would have been a shame. Things are looking (way) up in Buc World.

  34. BucinJax Says:

    Great post 87. It is OUR time.

  35. '74 Bucs Fan Says:

    Were any of you at Sapp’s first practice where Wyche made him sing to the crowd? Now that’s a classic moment! Or how about the game with Erick Rhett pounding out the game in the 4th in the middle of a down pour – with the fans throwing hand fans on the field? Remember that – that was awesome (Chris Farley). Or when Testiverde walked out of a girl’s apartment that wasn’t his girlfriend, and my friend yelled “I see you Vinny”? yeah you probably don’t remember that. lol

  36. Joe Says:


    Joe still roots for his childhood team – the Rams

    Joe has never been a Rams fan.

    Entering the 2016 season the Bucs had the worst home record in the NFL since 2009 and was not even close. So “Den of Depression” is well-earned.

  37. Matt407 Says:

    I think as fans we are getting overhyped. D-jax is injury prone. Oj Howard didnt do much for alabama in the passing game and evryone seems to think hes going to step into the nfl and be a difference maker…? No running game..questionable oline…not sold on this defense…tough division… I want the bucs to be good just as much as anyone. But lets come back down to earth a bit

  38. Brian Says:

    “I stopped buying season tickets when they changed uniforms”

    Are you kidding me with this? You stopped going to games because of a uniform? Wtf kind of fan does that? Let’s not forget this team was 6-2 the last half of the season. The “den of depression” days are over!

  39. DBS Says:

    And let’s not forget when they were in the playoff hunt , they collapsed in true Bucs fashion. Fans that know this team keep taking it one game at a time. Not thinking they have won the Super Bowl already.

  40. Lord Cornelius Says:

    “Oj Howard didnt do much for alabama in the passing game”

    Cuz they didn’t throw him the ball. Go watch him vs Clemson for what he can do when he’s actually used correctly.

    F*ck coming back down to earth. I’m excited as sh1t and no one is gonna stop that for me lol

  41. Joe Says:

    Oj Howard didnt do much for alabama in the passing game

    Hard to do much as a tight end in the passing game while playing in a run-first offense with a shaky quarterback.

    Imagine what Vincent Jackson would have done, for example, if he had Jameis in his prime instead of Josh Freeman, Mike Glennon and Wrongo Starr.

  42. NFLNut Says:

    Coke Zero is POISON.

  43. tickrdr Says:

    Joe Says:

    Imagine what Vincent Jackson would have done, for example, if he had Jameis in his prime instead of Josh Freeman, Mike Glennon and Wrongo Starr.

    Joe, you can’t tee them up like this without a response.

    On second thought, never mind.


  44. rayjay1122 Says:

    I am fine with O.J being used the way he was at Alabama. Usually players coming out of Alabama have a lot of tread worn off as Saban asks so much of them. We are getting a TE with a lot of trad on his tires who possesses a rare skill set as a receiver and blocker. The sky is the limit for this guy. I really do not get the people who say anything negative about O.J. I guess it is like someone winning the lottery and then saying “yeah, but have you seen how much tax comes out of it?” We hit the lottery with that pick so be happy about that and enough with the nit picking.

  45. NFLNut Says:

    ^ Great post and I agree with you 100%

  46. LongSeason Says:

    Kevin house was not on the 1979 team and that is the team I believe is being referred to. Morris Owens, Ike Hagins, Larry Mucker, Gordon Jones were receivers in 1979. Jimmie Giles and Jim Obradovich were tight ends. The Bucs bought a House in 1980. They made playoffs twice with house but were not even sniffing the SB at that point.

    Happy Winston is not throwing to that group.

  47. LongSeason Says:

    You mention the Defense with Sapp, Brooks and Lynch laying the wood. Well, I know an even older Buc linebacker who could lay the wood, chop the wood and deliver the wood. That would be Richard ‘Batman’ Wood (54)

  48. Buc1987 Says:

    Lord Cornelius….that’s the year my mom moved me to Florida at 16. I became a Bucs fan not knowing anything about the team. Like nothing at all. Tampa Bay was so irrelevant I didn’t even know they had a football team in Tampa.

    Sapp’s my favorite player of all time, because I got picked on sooooo much for being Bucs fan. I felt he was my voice. It was….PIPE DOWN time and I loved him.

  49. Buc1987 Says:

    As for you guys that went through all the crap before I became a fan. God bless your little hearts. You poor bastards!!!

  50. NFLNut Says:

    ^ Hahaha, amen to that … I only became a Bucs fan the day Jameis was drafted!

  51. Buccfan37 Says:

    Making the playoffs would match the excitement of the Bucs early years, they mostly stunk then but man was it some exciting stink.

  52. The Buc Realist Says:


    “Sapp’s my favorite player of all time”

    I thought it was Future, First Ballot Hall of Famer Rhonde Barber!!!!!!!!!

  53. Getaclue Says:

    Also if they somehow are able to keep everyone covered there should be massive holes for Winston to take off and get some yards

  54. Buccfan37 Says:

    Bonzai… that’s called couch potatoism.

  55. DevilDogBuc Says: