The Legend Of Joel Buchsbaum

April 23rd, 2020

(This is a repost of a previously published article Joe runs as an annual tradition for the morning of the first day of the NFL draft.)

Joe’s going to go slightly personal here, a rare, albeit tiny window into Joe’s background on this holiest of high football holidays.

Joe got hooked on the NFL draft as a kid from an alien-like voice that floated through the Midwestern night air and originated from a city Joe finally visited for the first time in September 2012.

Growing up as a kid, there were two people who turned Joe into the football freak he is today. One was Joe’s high school football coach, a guy who played for a virtual who’s who of football coaches: John Madden, Tom Landry, Gene Stallings and Lou Holtz. It kills Joe how much he has forgotten about football from a man unknown by 99.99999 percent of the populace. Joe remembers covering his first NFL training camp warmly. There, grizzled Stallings was the head coach of the old St. Louis Cardinals. He vividly remembered Joe’s high school coach playing for him. After learning Joe played for one of his protegés, Stallings treated Joe like one of his family members.

The second source fueling Joe’s unwavering football fetish came from an unlikely location: a Brooklyn apartment.

Joe first heard of Joel Buchsbaum on a blowtorch radio station out of St. Louis, KMOX. There, each Monday night (prior to Monday Night Football), and Sunday night (during the offseason), Buchsbaum, the original draftnik, would talk to strangers throughout the Midwest, giving listeners knowledge on college football players and the NFL that, to this day, Joe finds unmatched — not even by Mel Kiper, not even by Pat Kirwan.

People would call the show and ask Buchsbaum about (pick a player), and often before the caller finished his question, Buchsbaum would interrupt and begin rattling off the talents and drawbacks of said player, often beginning his responses with “Ooohhh-KAY!” as if he was revving up the engine of a Mustang just before putting the rig into gear.

Periodically, Buchsbaum would invoke his favorite saying of lesser players, “Looks like Tarzan; plays like Jane.”

Pleasantries were not a forte of Buchsbaum. He was not rude, not even close, but he was very short and impatient with rambling callers.

Joe remembers some guy asking Buchsbaum about (name of the player long ago forgotten), who the caller claimed was a starting cornerback at Utah. Buchsbaum, in his shrill, nasally, thick Brooklyn accent, corrected the caller almost immediately. No, the player is not from Utah, Buchsbaum said, but from Utah State. And in fact he was a backup cornerback.

This did not stop Buchsbaum from launching into why the player was not starting and why coaches didn’t start him despite the promise he showed. Mind you, this was long before the days of laptops, so Buchsbaum couldn’t have Googled the player’s name in five seconds to pull up his information (partially because neither Google nor the Internet existed).

It was unreal what this guy knew. And in Joe’s circle of fellow football friends, guys who rarely if ever listened to an AM station, Buchsbaum was like fresh honey to flies. He was like the Rain Man.

Fast forward maybe 15 years and the Sporting News decided to find out who was the best draftnik. They researched Buchsbaum, Mel Kiper and a third guy Joe had not heard of before and still can’t remember. The Sporting News broke down each man’s final mock draft through four rounds for three consecutive years.

Buchsbaum won not only the race, but he had more correct picks each year.

Buchsbaum, a recluse, died 17 years ago. In a perverted way Joe was jealous of the guy. All he did was study football, read football, write football, talk football and work his many NFL inside sources, which included at the top of the list, Bill Belicheat, who tried to hire Buchsbaum but was spurned with each offer.

So as Day 1 of the draft is here, and in a few hours or so we find out if Isaiah Simmons will be terrorizing opponents of the Bucs for the next decade, Joe can’t help but remember Buchsbaum and that unforgettable voice.

Here’s a nugget from acclaimed football scribe, and friend of Buchsbaum, John McClain of the Houston Chronicle.

Did you know Buchsbaum was on ESPN when the network first televised the draft? He looked like such a nerd. I imagine the network executives didn’t like the way he looked or sounded, so they hired Mel “Ki-pa.”

Chad Finn of the Boston Globe decided to dig up Buchsbaum’s breakdown of Tom Brady coming out of Michigan and with the “positives,” Buchsbaum nailed the analysis.

Positives: Good height to see the field. Very poised and composed. Smart and alert. Can read coverages. Good accuracy and touch. Produces in big spots and big games. Has some Brian Griese in him and is a gamer. Generally plays within himself. Team leader.

Negatives: Poor build. Very skinny and narrow. Ended the ’99 season weighing 195 pounds and still looks like a rail at 211. Looks a little frail and lacks great physical stature and strength. Can get pushed down more easily than you’d like. Lacks mobility and ability to avoid the rush. Lacks a really strong arm. Can’t drive the ball down the field and does not throw a really tight spiral. System-type player who can get exposed if he must ad-lib and do things on his own.

Summary: Is not what you’re looking for in terms of physical stature, strength, arm strength, and mobility but he has the intangibles and production and showed great Griese-like improvement as a senior. Could make it in the right system but is not for everyone.

Urban legend is that Belicheat, one of the few friends Buchsbaum had, took a flyer on Brady based on Buchsbaum’s recommendation. Belicheat since has acknowledged he would annually go over his draft board with Buchsbaum in the hours leading to the draft.

Joe will raise a bottle of beer tonight for Buchsbaum … after the draft and when Joe is finished banging out story after story.

Here and here and here are some cool stories about Buchsbaum.

22 Responses to “The Legend Of Joel Buchsbaum”

  1. EA Says:

    Cool story, the negatives about TB 12 still hold true but that hasn’t held him down from being dominant. It’s all about being smart and working hard, that’s what the great ones have in common.
    Like Bob Knight said “The key is not the ‘will to win’…everybody has that. It is the will to prepare to win that is important.”

  2. FortMyersDave Says:

    Ah the days of clear channel radio…… KMOX was one of the mega watt stations I used to pick up at night when I lived in Tuscaloosa. I heard Buchsbaum on the air with his draftology extraordinaire takes. He was a heck of a lot better than a -baum we had in Central Alabama: Big Orange homer Paul Finebaum on WJOX. Clear channel radio was a great pre internet source to info from other markets unfiltered by the national media. I picked up a lot of intel on the Saints by listening to Buddy D at night on 870 WWL New Orleans as well another 50 dash 100k blotorch. Great article Joe.

  3. geno711 Says:

    I first became a draftnik in 1987 because of Buchsbaum draft guide or scouts guide.

    A friend of mine, Doc (RIP), purchased his guide before the draft in 1987 and after reading the details on it, Doc and I came to a complete agreement on who the Buc’s should draft.

    I can’t remember what round we were suggesting but it was the Texas nose tackle Jerry Ball. He ended up getting drafted by the Detroit Lions and had a lot of strong games against the Buc’s the next 10 years. I tend to obviously think that Joel’s guide had him highly rated as well.

    It always became a part of my and Doc’s conversation if the Lion’s defense had a good game against the Buc’s offense. We should’ve drafted Jerry Ball. We knew it. We were right.

    I think Joe’s guide is why I am such a fan of Dane Brugler and his current draft guide. I think Brugler has taken over with the detail of players more than anyone else. Brugler rates 1000 players this year but more importantly has strengths and weaknesses on 420 players this year.

    Here is Brugler’s report on Sean Murphy Bunting who he had rated higher than most other analysts last year:

    SUMMARY: A two-year starter at Central Michigan, Bunting lined up at left cornerback for the Chippewas, playing both press-man and zone coverages. He recorded multiple interceptions in each of his three seasons, adding several impact plays on special teams, including a blocked punt and 60-yard scoop-and-score after a blocked field goal. Bunting has the athleticism to run better routes than the receiver and although his undisciplined mechanics lead to mistakes, he is usually in position to recover. Despite his thin build, he competes with a cover-and-clobber mentality throughout the lifespan of the route and can eliminate the mismatch advantage larger pass-catchers usually have vs. cornerbacks. Overall, Bunting needs to get stronger and become a more technically-sound player, but he plays loose and suffocates the catch point, projecting as borderline starter as a rookie and full-time starter in year two.

    GRADE: 1st-2nd Round (#29 overall)

  4. TheBucsAnthem Says:


    Every year you bring this guy “Joel Buchsbaum”

    …….it’s cool for new readers on this site

    but not for us OGs

  5. mdsbuc Says:

    I appreciate the annual tribute to Joel B and still miss my PFW fix. I’ll raise a bottle here.

  6. Bruce Blahak Says:

    Cheers to Joel!

  7. Stanglassman Says:

    I’ll be thinking of Macabee today. It’s strange not comparing draft thoughts with him today.

  8. Alaskan Abdominal Snowman Says:

    Always pumped to see this article!!!!!
    Let’s gooooo!

  9. adam from ny Says:

    midwood brooklyn stand up for joel the football genius…

    he was all football and nothing else…

    i heard belichik gave the eulogy at his small funeral of like 10 peeps

  10. StAugBuc Says:

    Favorite day of the week as a kid was when Pro Football Weekly showed up in the mail. Couldn’t get enough of it.

  11. adam from ny Says:

    macabee rip

  12. ModHairKen Says:

    The article had good content and insight but was ruined, as usual, with the incessant repetition of a tired play on a person’s name to score cheap laughs. It detracts, Joe. If you say so. It detracts so much that here you are first thing in the morning. –Joe With this dumb America’s Quarterback moniker, you practically turned every neutral reader against Jameis before he even had a chance to blow it himself with years of throwing equally stupid picks.

  13. Erick Says:

    Here’s a thought BucsAnthem, simply scroll past the post instead of taking the time to complain about something that Joe won’t be changing. Hence, why the first words in article state it’s an annual tradition.

  14. Buddhaboy19 Says:

    a true computer nerd, not like that Eugenicist Bill Gates.

  15. ModHairKen Says:

    Yes, Sensitive Joe, you are the best reporting on the Bucs. I do check every morning, afternoon and night. But Sensitive Joe, your style is sometimes off-putting. Still, the site is really well done and you are diligent in posting new information. I do appreciate it. So, please Sensitive Joe, forgive me for being critical. Ken did not have his morning coffee and his hair was in a funk.

  16. Joe Says:

    i heard belichik gave the eulogy at his small funeral of like 10 peeps

    Thinking that is true.

    Thanks for the compliments guys.

  17. Larry Says:


    Thank you. I look forward to reading this again each draft day. First thing I looked for and went to when I arrived at JBF today.

    Nice tribute sir.

  18. miken Says:

    I have read this article many times. Pretty cool of Joe to do this annually. Joe is a good guy, but I disagree with him on occasion. Wish Joel was still around in this new technology world. To have the respect and attention to probably the best coach in NFL history is awesome. Joe- I’ll raise a glass tonight to him as well!

  19. Colin in Canada Says:

    A great draft day tradition!

  20. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Hat-Tip Joe

  21. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Wow I didn’t know macabee passed away.

    Sleep well bredren.

  22. Joe Says:

    Wow I didn’t know macabee passed away.

    Middle of last football season. Thinking November.