Dirk Koetter’s Awkward List

November 20th, 2019

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Never known as Mr. Personality, Dirk Koetter just provided Buc fans with one of the most intriguing quotes of the year.

Speaking to the Atlanta media in advance of Sunday’s matchup against Tampa Bay, Koetter was asked about any emotions churning before he faces the franchise that dismissed him after three seasons.

“The worst part of any game is the two hours of waiting at the stadium before the game,” Koetter said. “Obviously, you’ll see some people that you’re fond of — and maybe some that you’re not.”

A huge grin swept across Koetter’s face at that point as laughter filled the room.

Koetter said he was kidding, adding, “It’s over, man. You can’t live in the past.”

Koetter is now calling plays for the suddenly revived Falcons, and he’d like nothing more than to shred the NFL’s worst scoring defense.

He said he was kidding, but was he? It’s easy to say let bygones be bygones, but nobody likes to get shown the door in what is likely his only shot at calling all the shots at the pro level.

Here are some of the people Koetter may hope to avoid at Mercedes Benz Stadium:


Joel and Bryan Glazer never miss a Buc game, so there’s no reason to believe the co-owners won’t be kibitzing on the field before the kickoff. It was their decision to jettison Koetter after a second consecutive 5-11 season left him at 19-29 at the Tampa helm.

Koetter felt he deserved to finish out the final year of his contract and prove he was the right man for the job. He was given a vote of confidence in 2017, when the Bucs were 4-11, but only after rumors swirled for more than a month that the Glazers were interested in bringing back Jon Gruden.

During all the speculation, the Glazers never issued a public statement of support in Koetter’s direction.


Although Koetter’s ascension from offensive coordinator to head coach after the 2015 season came at Licht’s urging, it didn’t end well between the two. Koetter is well aware of Licht’s history with Bruce Arians and the likelihood that the hiring of Arians saved Licht’s job. In fact, the presence of Arians triggered a contract extension for Licht.

Like virtually every NFL head coach, Koetter probably felt Licht and his personnel crew should have done a better job building the roster. The Bucs were always short in the trenches during Koetter’s 3-year tenure and erratic kicking contributed to several losses.


Koetter’s no-nonsense style generally went over well in the locker room, but his critical relationship with Jameis Winston came under scrutiny in 2017 when Ian Rapoport of NFL Network suggested there was a rift between Tampa Bay’s starting quarterback and the head coach.

Koetter described his relationship with Winston as “consistent” and Winston didn’t give the report any credence. When Koetter was asked about Winston this week, he said, “Except for the two games when we play him, I’m a Jameis fan.”

Still, there are legitimate questions about the Koetter-Winston relationship. Someone leaked that story to Rapoport, and you can bet the source wasn’t Dirk Koetter.


Koetter is well aware that Buc Nation turned on him at some point.

When the Gruden rumors emerged in the fall of 2017, more than a few Tampa Bay supporters made their feelings known that they preferred to see him stalking the sidelines rather than Koetter.

In retrospect, Koetter was victimized by a 2-0 start last season that energized the fan base and raised expectations. That made the 2018 collapse even harder to stomach for Buc fans desperate for a winner.

Koetter is far from naïve. He knows the NFL is a bottom-line business and that any coach who averages six wins per year won’t be in business for very long.

Stay classy, Buc fans. If you happen to see Koetter on the field before the game, say hello and wish him personal success. Act like you’re one of the people he’s fond of — then hope he trips over his play sheet once the game begins.

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Ira Kaufman launched his professional NFL coverage in 1979, back when Earl Campbell was the toast of the league and Lee Roy Selmon was defensive player of the year. After a lifetime at The Tampa Tribune, “The Sage of Tampa Bay Sports” joined JoeBucsFan.com in July of 2016. His twice-weekly podcast and three columns per week appear here year-round and are presented by Bill Currie Ford. Tampa Bay’s only Hall of Fame voter is a regular on SiriusXM Mad Dog Radio and a part of the FOX-13 Tailgate Sunday show, in addition to his other appearances. You can hang out with Ira during every Bucs road games at Buffalo Wild Wings. His schedule is linked here.

16 Responses to “Dirk Koetter’s Awkward List”

  1. Pete I Says:

    So he is not wanting to see the owners who have a massive losing record since their dad was taken ill?

    A GM with a 30-60 Record?

    A QB with a 24-40 Record?

    And the 20 or so Buc fans in the stands? See unlike the black and gold that filled Ray Jay last Sunday and stood out amazingly, the red of the Bucs 20 fans won’t stand out in the Red filled falcons stands.

    Ha…bet he won’t find the few minutes after the clock strikes 0:00 not to his liking. Bet he gives a wink and a thumbs up to them then!

  2. Hodad Says:

    The Basement Bowl will be played this Sunday in Atlanta. Can the Bucs retain their title? Most likely yes. Atlanta has come off the mat like Rocky. They’ve K.O.’d two division opponents, including division leader New Orleans, and look to make it three in a row with the hapless Bucs coming to town. If you have Matt Ryan, or any of his receivers in fantasy this week you’re in luck. Play them.

  3. Sport Says:

    Koetter knew what Arians and staff now know.

    JW = Fools Gold

    No defensive plan and the fact stated above, is what got Dirk fired.

    In BA I Trust!

  4. Loyaltotheend Section 312 Says:

    Koetter can’t wait to put it on the Glazers and Semi Retire Arians twice this year

  5. SmittyToiletBowles Says:

    Unfortunately every coach and player seem to have too big of an ego to let anything go. He didnt get it done. No reason for any fan to say anything negative to him tho. He got more wins than we did. Bad time to be getting that Atl defense tho. Another former Bucs coach has them humming. Raheem back to defense and noone can get a TD on them. Good job Raheem. Stay home Sunday

  6. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    I always thought Coach Koetter was a class act.
    But, we not only face him this week, we also face Raheem Morris!
    That is 2 ex head coaches.

  7. 813bucboi Says:

    raheem morris will be an HC candidate from this game alone…

    GO BUCS!!!!

  8. TheBucsAnthem Says:

    This Franchise should’ve kept Koetter……..PERIOD!!!!

    Bruce Arians hire will go down as one of the worse mistakes in Franchise history ranking up there with Raheem Morris.

  9. TheBucsAnthem Says:

    I fully expect this game to be a blowout with Koetter destroying this pitfull secondary………

    Julio Jones will have atleast 150 receiving yards.

  10. zzbuc Says:

    Nothing but respect for this classy true gentleman. He had to deal with a lot of stuff on that locker room….JW and his off fields issues and on field issues, Desaen Jackson, Baker, TJ Ward and his tweets and several more. He had a VERY bad roster. He never had a good kicker and how many games did we lose?
    On the other side he payed a fair price for keepeing loyal to Smith and his disastrous defensive sistem…..But NEVER forget bucs fans, Smitty was having meetings with the Jaguars and the Giants and every single fan was praying for him to stay with us……
    I undesrtand we have to move form Koetter, but let´s be honest, wouldn´t be better if todays ofensive calls were done by Koetter than Letwich….I know I do…..

  11. TheBucsAnthem Says:

    @ zzbuc

    Very well said.

    I’ve been saying this now a for a few weeks after what we’ve seen outta the offense…….Koetter’s offense was better and more creative and atleast he knew how to get TEs involved which helped Jameis out tremendously.

    It is absolutely driving me crazy how this offense is now:

    1st down: Run

    2nd down: pass

    3rd down: more than 3 yards – pass / less than three yards – run

    4th down: Punt

    This offense is so damn predictable……ridiculous.

    Mike Evans has even called out the playcalling too…but done it politely……he never said that about Koetter’s offense.

  12. Pete Mitchell Says:

    Imagine Koetter giving Jason Licht a hearty chest slap/karate chop similar to what Sean Payton did to him a couple years ago.

  13. teacherman777 Says:


    You are a cool cat.

  14. Mike Johnson Says:

    Koetter will get the ultimate revenge come Sunday..A win. The falcons are playing like they are, Born Again with overwhelming consecutive victories over Winning divisional opponents Saints and Panthers. No easy task. They made coaching changes during their bye and have not misses a beat. I got their Defense smothering Jameis. They are ballin their GD A’s off buc fans. Now don’t say I did not warn you.

  15. John Sinclear Says:

    Koetter gets the last laugh here !

  16. TexBuc Says:

    Bucs Win