Inside Gruden Saturday Bash; Glazers Assessment

December 18th, 2017

Ira Kaufman is the most revered sports personality and writer in town. He has hung his hat at world headquarters since July 2016. Tampa Bay’s only Pro Football Hall of Fame voter, Ira busts out columns here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and his award winning podcasts fire Tuesdays and Thursdays. You can also see Ira every football Sunday at 10:30 a.m. on FOX-13, Scott Smith’s Tailgate Sunday.


Jon Gruden’s homecoming affair is a joyous occasion, a chance for the Tampa Bay community to express its appreciation for a Super Bowl-winning head coach as he enters the Ring of Honor.

It’s also a sad reminder of where this franchise has dwelled since that fateful evening of Jan. 16, 2009.

It was a Friday night and I was at a local dining establishment with my wife when the phone rang. Just as I was polishing off my second margarita, the office called with the news that Gruden and GM Bruce Allen had been fired.

After a few choice expletives, I asked for the check and tried to gather my thoughts. A 9-7 season had been history for 19 days before the Glazers canned the winningest coach in Buc history.

Gruden and Allen had been given extensions only a year earlier, adding to the intrigue. Nobody saw this coming, including Gruden.

“At the end of the day, every year we feel we owe it to this football team and this community to do a good honest assessment of our franchise,” said co-chairman Joel Glazer. “If at any point, we feel that change is in our best interest, we feel we have to make that change. That’s where we got to in this situation. You can’t let decisions you made a year ago affect a decision today.”

Since that change, the Bucs are 49-92 heading into tonight’s matchup against the Falcons. This will be Tampa Bay’s seventh last-place finish in the NFC South during the ensuing nine seasons.

Inside Gruden’s Private Party Saturday

The Bucs have been through four head coaches and six years of double-digit losses while Gruden slid comfortably into the analyst role at “Monday Night Football” and became ESPN’s highest-paid employee.

I was fortunate enough to be invited to a little shindig Saturday night at the original Hooters, where Gruden and 100 of his closest friends got together to toast his induction.

Warren Sapp, Super Bowl MVP Dexter Jackson and Dwight Smith showed up, along with Gruden’s agent, Bob LaMonte, who also represents Jason Licht. Former team physician Joseph Diaco was on hand and I spotted Bill Muir over in the corner.

The craggy offensive line coach of the Bucs under Gruden, Muir is now enjoying retirement in the Florida Panhandle. I asked him how he found out about Gruden’s shocking dismissal.

“I was driving up I-75,” Muir said, “when I got a call from Jon telling me we were all out. I said, ‘Stop messing with me.’ Jon insisted that he wasn’t kidding.”

As you can imagine, Muir didn’t use the word “messing,” but I cleaned it up because this is a family column.

Also in the house at Hooters were Gruden’s parents and his wife, Cindy. Jon’s oldest son, Deuce, who works for the Redskins as a strength and conditioning coach, was given a one-day reprieve by Jay Gruden and will be at Raymond James Stadium to celebrate the Ring of Honor event.

I left Saturday’s party reinforced in my belief that Gruden is seriously considering a return to the sidelines in 2018. There will be plenty of coaching vacancies and the future of Dirk Koetter remains uncertain.

Strain Game

A season-ending six-game losing streak would likely seal Koetter’s fate and the scene at RayJay could be surreal tonight with ESPN cameras rolling.

Imagine all the Glazers down on the field while Gruden delivers his brief speech to the crowd. Then imagine loud sustained chants of “We want Jon,” just as Koetter is leading the Bucs back on the field for the second half.

In the past week, we heard a lot about an alleged strained relationship at One Buc Place. What cannot be denied is the relationship between Gruden and the Glazers was undoubtedly ‘strained’ for quite awhile.

How could it not be? You can’t fire a coach after consecutive nine-win seasons, including a division title, and not expect outrage. Almost nine years have passed and those days of bitterness are over.

Monday night is about respect, an acknowledgement that Jon Gruden was at the helm when the Bucs ruled the NFL world.

“We did it, Mr. Glazer,” Gruden said while embracing Malcolm Glazer after the Bucs routed the Raiders.

Fifteen years later, Gruden may get an opportunity to do it again.

38 Responses to “Inside Gruden Saturday Bash; Glazers Assessment”

  1. BucThis Says:

    9 years have passed and 7 last place finishes in the NFC South. 9-7. The curse is over Gruden will be back.

  2. Bucnjim Says:

    Like it or not the NFL is a business and business for the Buccaneer organization has been BAD! Empty seats; bad coaching for the past decade; poor drafting up until recently; inmates basically running the asylum; HUGE lack of leadership issues on and off the field. It would take a hiring of an all star staff (on paper) to sell tickets and put butts back in the seats. The experiment of bringing in coaches with potential has failed miserably. If Koetter is replaced; I would expect the new staff would be very well known throughout the NFL.

  3. TheBucsAnthem Says:

    God I hope not.

    Gruden……………stay in booth…’re good at.

  4. TheBucsAnthem Says:

    “Bucnjim Says:

    December 18th, 2017 at 9:54 am

    Like it or not the NFL is a business and business for the Buccaneer organization has been BAD! Empty seats; bad coaching for the past decade; poor drafting up until recently; inmates basically running the asylum…….”



    what a bad thing to say…..I hope you’re kicked off this site!!!!

  5. orlbucfan Says:

    Can I throw up? Anything but Gruden.

  6. Dusthty Rhothdes Says:

    Bring back gruden and get the bucs back to winning, find some new young energetic DC and lets roll, I know the jags have the players but there must be a guy on that staff that can come be a DC for gruden

  7. Bucsfanman Says:

    Wow, I didn’t think I could be more depressed! Bottom of the division 7 of 9 years! Let me hear that again. Bottom of the division 7 of 9 years!
    Ummm, yea!

  8. TheBucsAnthem Says:

    Bucsfanman Says:

    December 18th, 2017 at 10:08 am

    Wow, I didn’t think I could be more depressed! Bottom of the division 7 of 9 years! Let me hear that again. Bottom of the division 7 of 9 years!
    Ummm, yea!

    Brutha…………….you should be WAY past depression.

    I’m like that fan from the movie waterboy “Oh no, we suck again!!!” every year

  9. Bucnjim Says:


    Please elaborate! What part of that statement is not true?

  10. BrianBucs Says:

    Gruden and Winston would drive each other crazy. They would be like oil and water

  11. FortMyersDave Says:

    If Chuckie’s brother freefalls to 6-10 in DC he could be available to be his brother’s OC. They finish up with the Broncos and Giants and a loss to either of those bottom feeders could get him pink slipped. The skins win over the Cards may have helped Jay save his job though but recall that Danny Snyder really hates losing and might decide to jettison Gruden as the Skins have basically underperformed all season; just food for thought and I agree with Big Dust about getting a young DC on board to rebuild what is a horrible D under Mikey Smith.

  12. Doctor Stroud Says:

    Team Glazer should fire themselves and then pay themselves for not owning a team. They do it with coaches and players every single year. That’s just how they roll! #GlazerLootIsTheBest #PaidFloridaVacation

  13. DAGSURFBUC Says:

    I like Gruden, but forget it. He’s not going to want to coach Tampa Bay.
    The Glazer boy’s just don’t get it. They need to hire the best President of football operations period. Then let the new CEO/Pres hire the GM. All we want from the Glazer boy’s is to shut up and write checks so our new upper mgmt office can rebuild this franchise from the top down. Even in this full rebuild and redesign project the BUCS might only be 2-3 years from being a solid playoff team. They could even be a fun 7-9 or 8-8 team with major housecleaning from the top to bottom by next year. GO BUCS!!

  14. Bucsfanman Says:

    @TheBucsAnthem- Man, most of the time I block out those terrifying memories. This one rocked me back though!
    I’m not sure that watching tonight’s game will help either!!! Looks like I’m off to the liquor store for another handle of Crown!

  15. FortMyersDave Says:

    49 wins in 9 seasons: that’s right up there with some of the Creamsicle years under Ray Perkins, Richard Williamson and Sam Wyche at the old Sombrero. Back then one could place the blame squarely on Hugh C and his miserly ways. How do Buc fans lay the blame out for this decade of ineptitude: Glazers sans Malcolm, the GMs, the revolving door of coaches? 49 wins; I am guessing that perhaps the Bears and Browns are the only 2 franchises with fewer wins, Yuk……

  16. 813bucboi Says:

    A season-ending six-game losing streak would likely seal Koetter’s fate…

    I think poor coaching, players regressing and the way he handle Winston once he got injured has already sealed his fate….ending the season on a 6game losing streak will only put 1 more nail in his coffin….GO BUCS!!!!

  17. Jmarkbuc Says:

    I dont Like Koetter.

    BUT could someone tell me once and for all how he mishandled JWs injury?

    Did he play him while hurt? did he not let him play soon enough? Every other article on this site refers to this situation, but no one has ever definitively said exactly what it means

  18. Tom Says:

    Glazers, don’t screw this up. Just hire Gruden. Gruden will bring us another Super Bowl victory.

  19. Jmarkbuc Says:

    Gruden is NOT the answer

    Its a moot point anyway, he wouldnt touch this team with a ten foot pole

  20. Joel Says:

    This franchise hasn’t been the same since Malcolm had to step down and let his idiot sons run it.

  21. TheBucsAnthem Says:

    Bucsfanman Says:

    December 18th, 2017 at 10:23 am

    @TheBucsAnthem- Man, most of the time I block out those terrifying memories. This one rocked me back though!
    I’m not sure that watching tonight’s game will help either!!! Looks like I’m off to the liquor store for another handle of Crown!



    I already got my CROWN XO and Mexican coke (glass bottles) ready to go for tonite!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Our Defense is worse than the last time the falgoons kicked our butts!

    Julio Jones is gonna have another 200 yd gm while they gain 100 on the ground.

  22. StPeteBucsFan Says:

    I’m not sure any of us know what is really going on with Jameis. I’m not sure Gruden knows either.

    How much power would Gruden have vis a vis #3. Koetter knew that #3 was the franchise QB and had all the power….Chucky brings his own rep and might cut a different deal with the Glazers.

    Then again for all we know Jameis’ “people” and Chucky’s “people” may be ironing out the details as I type this. LMAO

  23. 813bucboi Says:

    StPeteBucsFan Says:
    December 18th, 2017 at 12:07 pm
    I’m not sure any of us know what is really going on with Jameis


    we know exactly what going on with Winston and its dirk….simple as that!!!….same can be said with a few other players on this team….players have regressed under dirks watch….that’s whats really going on!!!!….GO BUCS!!!

  24. Phil Says:

    While I would welcome Jon Gruden coming back to coach the Bucs you have to wonder what Jon is thinking. I mean he lives in Tampa where he is a hero so anything short of winning another Super Bowl would be a failure. He’s paid over $6 million per year to work 17 weeks a year plus quarterback camp shows. Going back into coaching means he will have work 90 hours or more a week for 52 weeks a year for about the same money. I don’t see how Gruden comes out a winner in this.

  25. Bucsfanman Says:

    Cheers Brutha!

    They said Julio needs like 100 yards against the Bucs to break the all-time record for player vs. team in regular season. 250+?!!!!!

  26. James Walker Says:

    I am have Deja Vu over the old Buccaneersdotcom forums. That place was brutal.

  27. James Walker Says:

    Everyone wanted Gruden’s head on a platter.

  28. BoJim Says:

    I think the Glazers will or have thrown some big numbers at Gruden. I still like Koetter.

  29. sbucs Says:

    As much as the Glazers are at fault and their faults are monumental, they’ve been sold garbage by every football expert they’ve hired. Maybe they’ve been naive, possibly disinterested, somewhat apathetic to winning, maybe even focused on the wrong things…like immediate profits. But, hopefully they understand its ultimately more profitable to have a winning team.

    I’m not sure Gruden is the answer because the attempt to hire him sounds like desperation. On the other hand the local fans are desperate for a winning team.

    There are no easy answers to the Bucs riddle.

  30. Hodad Says:

    All I want for xmas is Koetter to be fired this week, and news Jon will be our coach again.

  31. Jim Says:

    Always amazed by how so many posters cannot tell an assertion from a fact…

  32. DoNUTS Says:

    How can we not want Gruden back?

    I mean the steamy stink coming from the current shat pile is putrid.

    As a long time fan, I would like my team to be relevant in the NFL again. For whatever reason (starting Martin is one), I dont think Koetter will accept change (new DC) and as a result he will be fired.

  33. Lakeland Says:

    Jon Gruden is as pathetic as this piss-poor franchise. The Bucs fall wasn’t because of the departure of Jon Gruden. Once Rich McKay left this Cesspool of a franchise, they went back to being the Bums that they were before McKay became GM.

  34. TouchDownTampaBay Says:

    BucsAnthem what is truly surprising to me about that 7 out of 9 statement is that there have actually been two years we didn’t finish in last place. So sad to be Cleveland South!

  35. Lakeland Says:

    The Bucs finish in last place in the NFC South twice with Jon Gruden. How is that for a fact?

  36. Ghingus Kwon Says:

    “second margarita”…..whatever

  37. Bob Higginbotham Says:

    Thanks Ira!

  38. Rod Munch Says:

    Great column like always Ira, but until Gruden actually coaches again I don’t believe it’s anything more than an act to get attention on his behalf.

    We shall see, but I’d put the chances of Gruden returning to coaching in 2018 at 0%.

    With that said while I’ve never been a Gruden fan what a huge upgrade he’d be over clueless Dirk, and it would be nice to have a team that actually had some swagger to it and a little star power. It wouldn’t hurt for FA to have someone like Gruden. At this point back to back 9-7 seasons and 1st round playoff exits sounds like an amazing dream.