No More Peasant View Of The Throne

May 15th, 2017

Tampa Bay’s only Pro Football Hall of Fame voter, Ira Kaufman, the most beloved and esteemed columnist in town, has hung his hat at world headquarters since July 2016. His columns pop here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and his award winning podcasts fire Tuesdays and Thursdays.


The Bucs used to own the joint.

When the NFL re-aligned in 2002, Tampa Bay took command from the start as Jon Gruden hoisted the Vince Lombardi Trophy on that glorious day in San Diego.

The Bucs won the NFC South again in 2005, and rebounded from a 4-12 disaster to finish first again in 2007. Three division crowns in the first six years of re-alignment stamped this franchise as the early king of the NFC South.

That’s when the reign ended and the Bucs turned into division peasants.

The ensuing eight years saw the Bucs finish in the basement six times and in third place twice before last year’s breakthrough to second behind the Super Bowl Falcons.

This offseason couldn’t have gone much better for Buc fans clamoring for a return to the days of old. And while Tampa Bay has made exciting additions, hard knocks have come for the Falcons, Saints and Panthers, raising expectations that 2017 is the season the Bucs end that nine-year playoff drought.

Falcons Clipped

Let’s start our division tour in Atlanta, where the Falcons will christen that shiny new stadium without a critical component of their 2016 success: Kyle Shanahan, the overseer of the NFL’s No. 1 scoring attack.

He’s now working with John Lynch as the head coach of the 49ers instead of designing plays to torment Tampa Bay’s defense. Steve Sarkisian replaced him, and Sarkasian has never been an offensive coordinator at the NFL level. We’ll see how Matt Ryan operates without Shanahan’s expertise in spreading the field and creating mismatches.

There’s also the little matter of putting that brutal Super Bowl setback in the rearview mirror.

“I mean, it sucks,” says Ryan, the reigning league MVP. “There’s no getting around it, right? But such is life. You have to move on, and in terms of hanging onto it … you hang onto it for a little bit. You’re in your kind of spot, your dark place or whatever, for a little, and then realize that life goes on.”

The enormity of that fourth-quarter collapse against the Patriots could serve as motivation — or it could haunt the Falcons this fall.

Surgery Blues

The problems in Carolina run a little deeper.

Cam Newton, the league MVP before Ryan, played the final three games with a partially torn rotator cuff that required surgery March 30. The word out of Charlotte is that Newton will be ready to throw in training camp.

That’s their story and they’re sticking to it.

But why was Newton allowed to play down the stretch with a serious injury for a 5-8 team going nowhere?

“Was it smart?” Newton said last week. “People may say it wasn’t, but at the end of the day, I think the bigger picture was I’m one of the leaders on this team. I just want to set a good standard that, listen, the team comes first and I’m just going to put myself in position to try to lead this team as much as possible.”

That’s a noble thought, but players shouldn’t be allowed to make medical decisions — even if they’re Cam Newton.

And by the way, while Jameis Winston is working out relentlessly in an effort to improve his game, Newton just celebrated his 28th birthday in style on a yacht in Costa Rica, where his production crew filmed a music video.

You go, Cam.


Some Buc fans winced when the Saints added Adrian Peterson, but the last time I looked, the future Hall of Fame running back won’t make any tackles or sack any quarterbacks this fall.

New Orleans didn’t finish 7-9 in each of the past three years because Sean Payton’s group struggled to score points or move the chains. The Saints ranked first, second and first in total yards during this tailspin.

As long as Drew Brees is around, the Saints will light up the scoreboard. But even those efforts may be hampered because stud center Max Unger required foot surgery earlier this month and could be out until October.

Payton says Unger is expected back midway through the preseason, but you never know. Unger is a key in providing Brees with a cushion to step up in the pocket.

Vegas oddsmakers may be down on the Bucs right now, but Tampa Bay supporters are stoked. Look out NFC South, Winston and company have their eyes on the throne.

22 Responses to “No More Peasant View Of The Throne”

  1. Eric Says:

    People around here hate winning the Division.

  2. BucsFan93 Says:

    The Division Title will be very very tough this year.

    The Dirty Birds hangover wont be as severe as the consensus suggests

    Panthers have playmakers on both sides and will be extra juiced this year.

    Saints will have a more balanced offence for No9 (Scary). Defence will be improved, they have a no1 corner now. Pash rush should see improvement.

    My Bucs will be better against the run this year and dominant on third down. I still think top QBs (Tom Brady) and WRs (Julio) will shred us.. The Offence will go as far as JW can take it… If he makes big jump in Ball protection… we could be talking 35+TDs and 8INTS.

    Tough Division but Ill take my Bucs for better or worse.

  3. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    panthers have two up in agree DEs and two second year corners that looked suspect last season after J.No left. The media is not talking about the issues between Rivera and Cam but trust me tensions exist. I expect the cats to Dinah last in this division. Not mention my Seminoles Benjamin seems to be intent on eating his way out of the league. From a distance it looks like some issue in that lockerroom.

  4. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    Leads me to believe McDermott saw the writing on the wall and bolted to Buffalo as quickly as possible. And they don’t even have a QB.

  5. Blake_bucsfan Says:

    ^Lol at the Benjamin comment. Yeah it’s pretty bad when the HC has to deny reports of a WR showing up to camp weighing in at 280.

  6. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    😄Lastly if y’all haven’t seen that 28th birthday video Cam made you should watch it. I’m all for a young man enjoying the fruits of his labor, but man o man am I thankful Fameis is my teams QB.

  7. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    I’m so disappointed for him Blake. Not in him cause I don’t know him personally. For him.

  8. R.O. Says:

    Unfortunately I live in Charlotte now… I can’t stand Newton. I love when the Panthers lose and loved Newton’s crying at the beginning of the season last year!! Awesome that we swept them if you want to count the 2nd game last year. Hopefully we do it again!

  9. RayJameisStadium Says:

    Jameis, our defense, Folk and Anger will own the NFC South!!!

    Shoot them Cannons!!!

  10. RayJameisStadium Says:

    Although Anger may get a few games off due to our new offense.

    Go Bucs!!!

  11. martinii Says:

    Ordered new season tickets yesterday. Had to let my old ones go due to my health. But now I’m well and I am really looking forward to an improved playoff contender. The NFC South will be tough but I think we have the firepower to hold our own.
    Go Buc’s…….

  12. rayjay1122 Says:

    Great work Ira!! Tom Jones could learn a thing or twenty from you. I love how you assessed the entire division and not just blindly criticizing individual Buc players. Thanks for your great work. I always enjoy your takes.

  13. Destinjohnny Says:

    I think u can Legitally say that any team could win the south.
    I think atl is the favorite. Then it’s up for grabs

  14. Dusthty Rhothdes Says:

    Hope that anger is not the bright spots for the bucs this year

  15. unbelievable Says:

    Great stuff Ira! I believe the Bucs and Falcons will be fighting for the NFC south crown this year.

  16. darin Says:

    As much as ive always disliked tom jones, ive always liked and respected ira kaufman. Great job ira. Been enjoying ur stuff for decades. I agree completely with the aints take. People kept saying they were gona take mccaffrey and offensive guys in the draft. I kept saying if they dont go all defense the coach is gona get canned. I dont think they did enough to improve that awful defense. Lucky us. This could be the year we take back the south. Go bucs

  17. 813bucboi Says:

    @nole…I agree…I think ron is fed up with not only cam but KB too…..its sad what KB is doing to himself…he has so much talent and potential….my uncle is a die hard nole….we talked about it a week or 2 ago when the story came out that he was over weight….unk said he wasn’t surprised not one bit….he said jimbo had issues with his work ethic his true freshman which led to him getting a red shirt….. didn’t improve as much as jimbo liked so he earned little playing time his red shirt freshman years….even thought about moving him to TE because he couldn’t/refused to keep his weight down….its just sad because I know where he’s from and its a hell hole….very tough place to survive let alone make it out of….he’s been given a great opportunity but doesn’t realize what he has…..

    but it is what it is…..hopefully his extra weight and lack of offseason work will benefit VHG and Grimes….GO BUCS!!!

  18. Negative Jeff Says:

    Cam Newton was exposed as a fraud last year. This year, the world will know when the Bucs dominate him again. Running QB’s fail in the NFL.

  19. Capt.Tim Says:

    Great Breakdown, Ira.
    More good stuff!

    Cant predict injuries,,Etc.
    But if I were betting . .
    Id bet on the Bucs

  20. Steven007 Says:

    @martinii – congrats on regaining your health. Nothing like seeing the games in person. One of the buddies in my group makes big heads of the players and coaches and brings them in the game. We raise them during breaks or after big plays when the field camera guy is panning the crowd for reaction and we get on the jumbotron several times a game. And the ladies like them. Yes, they like the big heads, who knew?! As for the division, even though it will continue to be competitive we could own this division very soon. All of the elements are present now for a changing of the guard.

  21. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    That’s real talk 813..

  22. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Two games deep into the playoffs. That;s what I want…well…a Superbowl would be great too.

    “Vegas oddsmakers may be down on the Bucs right now” – IRA

    That;s because they are trying to convince people to bet against the Bucs, that way the house makes more money when the Bucs win.