Tourniquet Time

August 14th, 2019

Ira delivers in his thrice-weekly column.

The Sage of Tampa Bay Sports

When players leave the Bucs and are asked about their tenure in Tampa, they invariably salute fans for their patience.

Now we know why.

The new NFL Record and Fact Book is out and as far as Buc fans are concerned, some of the pages could have been written by Stephen King.

Scary stuff, detailing just how far this franchise has fallen off the rails since Jon Gruden’s dismissal after the 2008 season.

First, some perspective.

Since the 1970 merger, the Bucs have the worst record in the entire NFL at 260-415-1, a brutal .385 winning percentage. The supporters who have stuck with this forlorn franchise since the 1976 inaugural season deserve a creamsicle badge for loyalty.

The Bucs are last in home record (157-180-1) and last in road record (103-235) among all competitors since they first took the field under John McKay.

This knack for losing goes way back, well before the Glazers purchased the team in 1995. Despite three head coaches who have entered the Ring of Honor, the Bucs have come up short time and again since that initial 20-0 setback at the Astrodome, with Steve Spurrier under center.

The last decade has been particularly grisly.

Basement Beasts

Painful memories

Since Gruden was handed his walking papers, this franchise is learning to crawl. Tampa Bay is last in the NFC with a 55-105 mark, last in the conference at home (29-51) and last in the NFC on the road (26-54).

Yes, Bruce Arians and his staff have a heck of an opportunity to stop the bleeding.

It starts with the season opener against the 49ers at Raymond James Stadium, where Tim McGraw may decide to add “Not a Moment Too Soon” to his set list during a pre-game concert.

The moment is at hand to end a ridiculous decade-long struggle. The Bucs went 12-4 at home during Gruden’s final two seasons, but they haven’t rewarded their fans with a single winning season at home in the past 10 years.

That’s nuts. That’s crazy. No other team can match that futility — including the Browns.

But there’s encouraging news in the record guide for Buc fans… if you look hard enough.

In the last decade, 13 teams have vaulted from last to first in their division, including the Bears and Texans last season. It’s done all the time in a league that prides itself on competitive balance.

Energy & Optimism

Yes, the Bucs are in a rugged division, arguably the NFL’s best, but Arians has already proven he can turn things around in a hurry. The Cardinals improved from 5-11 to 10-6 once Arians arrived in the desert in 2013, when the NFC West was ruled by powerhouses in San Francisco and Seattle.

Bucco Bruce Arians

The 49ers and Seahawks combined for a 47-16-1 record in 2012/2013, so don’t tell Arians the NFC South is too difficult. Teams that go 6-2 at home and .500 on the road have every right to expect a playoff berth.

McGraw’s presence might pack the house in Week 1, but winning is the key to keeping those turnstiles clicking along Dale Mabry.

I’ve talked to enough fans during training camp to sense the enthusiasm at One Buc Place. A lot of people outside Tampa are sleeping on this team, and Arians loves the underdog role.

In this 100th season of the NFL, what better time to make a little history be ending an 11-year playoff drought?

If Arians and crew can bring out the best in some premium draft picks who have yet to make their mark at the pro level, starting with Jameis Winston, the Bucs won’t be pushovers anymore.

And when the 2020 NFL Record and Fact Book comes out next summer, it’ll be a fun read for Buc fans the world over.

That’s a fact.

Ira Kaufman launched his full-time NFL work in 1979 as a beat writer for the New York Giants. That’s right, nineteen freakin’ seventy-nine. The Sage of Tampa Bay sports joined in July of 2016. He can be seen on Tailgate Sunday during football season on FOX-13, and he’s a Monday regular year-round on BayNews 9. You can also hear Ira twice-weekly on the wildly popular Ira Kaufman Podcast, and he’s a national star on SiriusXM Mad Dog Radio Wednesdays at 5 p.m. from early September through the Super Bowl. 

20 Responses to “Tourniquet Time”

  1. Doctor Stroud Says:

    Thanks, Ira! I will wear my creamsicle badge for loyalty with pride! Proprioception since 1976!

  2. Mike Johnson Says:

    Hellava article here Ira. Enjoyed it a lot. But I’ll go further than the creamsickle awards. If you’ve been a fan of this team since inception, I think you are owed game ticket for your loyalty. My wife buys me a fifth (of Liguor) of my chossing every Sunday our Bucs play. She says it calms me and keep me from throwing things at the Big Wide screen My wife’s a winner aye? I’m cautiously optimistic with this team. I don’t want Arians to become the next..sacrificial lamb we..hurl insults at. Here’s (tippin my glass), to an improved season. 8-8 would be a great start for these losing seasons.

  3. Barack's Crack Pipe Says:

    “That’s right, nineteen freakin’ seventy-nine.”

    Way to rub it in, Joe. =]

  4. Tampa Bay Demon Says:

    Ira, you are a wonderful writer and an incredible contributor to JBF.

    Please work your magic and lets get #20 and #47 in the HALL.

  5. Barack's Crack Pipe Says:

    Doctor Stroud Says:
    “Proprioception since 1976!”

    If that means “I’ve been a Bucs fan since…”, then yeah! Me, too.

  6. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Where is my creamsicle badge……

  7. 1sparkybuc Says:

    I did electrical work in the lockeroom and the skyboxes in the expansion of the Tampa Stadium. No matter what, the Bucs are my team. For most of the next three decades I worked from one end of the country to the other. For the last fifteen years I have lived in fleagle territory. Win or lose, no matter where I am, the Bucs are my team.

  8. Ghost of Darrell Henderson Says:

    I’ve been a fan since before Culverhouse, John MacKay and LeRoy Selmon were even in the picture.

    Where’s my badge?

    We need new owners.

  9. SenileSenior Says:

    Thank you, Sage, for putting things into perspective. You have done us all a service by setting the stage for what could be a a most important year for this regime and for the team especially. More importantly, it could well prove a pivotal year for this NFL franchise. The foundation for success seems to be being layed for many years to come.

    I am impressed with what I’ve seen so far with Bruce Allen and the coaching staff he has assembled. In BA I truly trust at this time. I see high a quality NFL program emerging. Yes, I see something comparable to the Dungey/Gruden era coming soon.

    I have been watching college football most of my life. I’ve been watching NFL football more closely for the past 35 to 40 years as a fan.

    I have studied this team more and tried to understand what we have more than I have ever before. The changes in defensive scheme and philosophy forced me to “go back to school” in order to keep up with our team. I have listened to every coaching staff interview that I could find since BA began assembling his people. I have read many articles, listened to various podcasts and listened to sports radio. I have digested many fan comments here at JoeBucsFan and at other sites. I am confident that my optimism regarding our Buccaneers is based on a much deeper insight than in any previous year as a fan.

    I am a retired person so I can devote a little more time to the Bucs than many typical fans can.
    Go Bucs!!!

    P.S. Happy birthday, Sage! I’ve got you by several years. I think the next few years are going to be very exciting for Tampa Bay Buccaneer fans and local reporters alike! Our general sports community will be uplifted too.

  10. Rayjay1122 Says:

    Bucs fandom should be a qualification for medical marijuana.

  11. Mike Johnson Says:

    Hell, I’ll Smoke to that Rayjay!!!

  12. Br luceletdadogsloose Says:

    Rayjay , I thought that was already the case ? I’m not much of a drinker therefore the only thing that somewhat calms me during bucs games is us winning and halftime breaks outside the bar with fellow patrons since I do not have NFL Sunday ticket at home in Canton Ohio..when we made that run a few years ago beating the chiefs , Seahawks , bears and a few others , I thought I could put down the Mary Jane as I was even finding myself loving her during each quarter but then committing to many penalties during the raiders game and losing to our own division like we do year after year I must say my lungs hurt !! Guys , I really do think alot of it is coaching because I see just as much talent on this team as winning teams have but it’s up to the coaches to piece them all togeather & knowing the ins & outs of game management , player evaluation , game planning ” even changing it series to series ” and all that comes within a game/season..I really trust B.A & staff in that department so much more than the man he just replaced , hell more than all of them this last decade…now I can not say much about the G.M because he has proved to me that he is all over the place in regards to putting a team togeather and that’s just the honest truth but let’s hope he learns alot from B.A and can earn another contract with the bucs ! Guys the season is getting really close now & we will find out shortly if B A can make jameis into a top 10 QB and the bucs can win !

  13. Jean Lafitte Says:

    Hear, Hear, on my creamsicle badge!

  14. Defense Rules Says:

    Superb article Ira that puts our turbulent history in perspective. Despite many many years of losing, there have been a couple bright spots, and 1 Super Bowl victory.

    You mentioned that we now play in arguably the toughest division in football, and I agree. But what folks often forget is that BEFORE that, the Black-and-Blue division was ALSO considered to be the toughest in football. For a warm-weather team to annually play Green Bay, Detroit, Minnesota & Chicago TWICE each season … one of those games in northern stadiums that weren’t domed at the time … was a bear for our players. Also I remember how poorly we always did against the West Coast teams, probably because of the travel requirements as much as anything.

    And many also forget that the Bucs have only had 2 owners. Culverhouse wasn’t exactly an open-wallet, and he had as much to do with our losing history as anyone IMO. I was excited when the Glazers bought the team, but after the Glazers bought Manchester United and ‘The Boyz’ started running things, they didn’t exactly pour money into this franchise either. Still … it’s never too late. Better days ahead.

  15. SenileSenior Says:

    Some of our long suffering fans might need to get their doctors to prescribe sedatives for them. They might not be quite so depressed and pessimistic about our Bucs then. This might be necessary for some of those who I have styled as nattering negativists.

    The true trolls are another story. They may need more intensive therapy. [Calling them nasty names won’t do them any good either. Be of good cheer.] 🙂

    The majority of us will only need a winning season to cure what ails us. Here comes the next emotional roller coaster ride of a season!
    Go Bucs!!! Win Now!

  16. BucsFan727 Says:

    New owners? I wounder if that will ever happen? The should sell the Bucs and keep Man U.

  17. SenileSenior Says:

    Malcolm Glazer is the entrepreneur who built his financial empire. Then he purchased the Buccaneers and oversaw the creation of a Super Bowl winner. I believe he was also behind the purchase of the Manchester United soccer franchise. Then he had a stroke (or whatever) and finally he eventually passed from this earthly realm.

    His heirs had to learn first how to manage the empire. They went through some rocky time beginning about 2008. They earned a reputation as cheap and/or incompetent owners of the Buccaneers during this several years. Finally, the “Glazers Four” found their footing and stabilized the conglomerate. Only then did they turn their attention back to seeing if they could also get this franchise back on track.

    That is how I see the situation from 1995 to the present.

    I am not looking at this from the point of view of an expert businessperson. I am observing these things from some distance.
    Go Bucs!!!

  18. BringBucsBack Says:

    Yup, the worst W-L récord in ALL professional, N. American sports and it’s not even close (8-10 percentage points). Calling ourselves “Cleveland South” is an insult to the Browns.

    APB for Eddie De!

  19. #1bucsfan Says:

    I’ve bin saying it all summer joe #ENDTHEDROUGHT let’s go Bucs

  20. D-Rome Says: