Freedom, Fun & The Bucs Faithful

July 23rd, 2020

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Four years go by quickly when you’re having fun — and it’s been a blast.

It’s been 48 months, the span of a presidential term, since the brain trust of the most popular Buc site on the planet elected me to represent them as a columnist.

Six hundred columns later, I appreciate the opportunity more than ever. Yes, four Buc seasons have passed since Steve and Lee (the Joes) scooped me up from the unemployment line and trusted me to weigh in on a struggling franchise yearning to be relevant.

“Ira, it’s a televised news conference, you’re supposed to stand in front of me.”

After 14 years with United Press International and a quarter-century at The Tampa Tribune, I relished the chance to utilize my contacts and experience in a new way. Since that eventful day in late July, 2016, JoeBucsFan has kept its promise to feature me in an unfettered manner.

No one tells me what to write or what to say on our twice-weekly podcasts. I have been defended consistently when readers object, whether they’re suggesting I am too pessimistic or hinting I’m on the team payroll.

This freedom to speak one’s mind is liberating, especially when addressing a fan base so passionate.

Highlights, yes, there’s been a few.

The Fans

The greatest joy has been meeting so many members of Buc Nation and being showered with compliments about my coverage of the team since arriving in Tampa in 1985.

Sage Ira mingles with fans at a JoeBucsFan watch party in 2019. (The Sage will be back among the people for road games this season at Big Storm Brewing Co. taproom in Clearwater.)

A big thank you goes out to Javier, Travis, Scott and all the others I’ve met around town while representing JoeBucsFan.

To the many sports writers I’ve worked with and beside who are loath to interact with their readers, I offer a simple message: shame on you. You don’t know what you’re missing.

You can learn a lot from Buc fans — if you listen. It’s important to feel their extended pain and sense their excitement about the upcoming season.

The folding of the Tribune in May of 2016 was jarring, tossing hundreds of people out of work at a moment’s notice. But given the sad financial state of print journalism, we will see more newspapers shuttered.

The real surprise came when I was able to land another quality job quickly, while remaining in the field and remaining in our beloved region.

I’ve been able to retain my NFL contacts and credentials, and that’s been a blessing. I’m still the Tampa Bay representative for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, a rare privilege.

Seeing our weekly chats emerge as the most popular Buc podcast in the land is rewarding, even if Steve seems to go out of his way to disagree with me at every turn.

How can I complain? These guys even gave me a nickname.

According to the dictionary, the word “sage” refers to “a profoundly wise man, especially one who features in ancient history or legend.”

Well, I’ve certainly got a lot of ancient history under my ever-expanding belt. The “profound” part is definitely a stretch.

No Stopping

Buffet-fueled and ready for another four years

After all, it was yours truly who predicted a 10-win season for the Bucs in 2017, only to see the Hard Knocks cameras roll into town and the 5-11 Bucs freeze like they had stage fright.

Only a fool would try to predict events four years down the road, but the current rate indicates I’m less than three seasons removed from 1,000 columns. That would be a nice, tidy number to prompt considerations of retirement.

Heck, by then even Tom Brady might have hung up his cleats.

It’s been quite a ride and quite a privilege. And it’s too late to stop now, considering all the intrigue surrounding this franchise. There are playoff berths to secure and more Buc icons worthy of a bust in Canton.

Four gratifying years have come and gone, yet I get the sense that the best is yet to come.

Enjoy Mike Alstott’s June interview on the Ira Kaufman Podcast.

Bill Currie Ford
5815 N. Dale Mabry Hwy.
Tampa, FL 33614

Ira Kaufman’s column is presented by Bill Currie Ford. Click on Ira to visit Huge buyback offer this weekend!

23 Responses to “Freedom, Fun & The Bucs Faithful”

  1. Chuckstutz Says:

    And still the best! Thank you Ira!

  2. No Risk It No Biscuit Says:

    Congrats Ira!!!!

  3. kyle Hoge Says:

    Thank you Ira, you are a true professional and should be on Tampa’s sports media Mt. Rushmore!

  4. Don_RyJo(e) Says:

    In all fairness, you’ve slapped down the Joe(s) on more than one occasion! Your Sage wisdom comes with a healthy dose of Shaolin-Monk-Fierceness! I’m a huge fan of your columns and podcasts and hope you stick around a long time! If I ever meet you, the Reuben is on me.

  5. Mikadeemas Says:

    Cool stuff! Go BUCS and Go Ira!!

  6. Sumosam Says:

    It is a real pleasure reading your material. I have loved this Bucs through thick and thin and the best part of my day is reading this sight. Don’t let the Joe’s kid you. Your thoughts are valuable and fun and they know it.

  7. Barbosa Says:

    Congratulations Ira on reaching the 4 year milestone. It was a pleasure to meet you at Buffalo Wild Wings in wesley chapel and river view. Here’s to 4 more years!

  8. james west Says:

    i nominate IRA and DECKERHOFF to the bucs ring of honor, make it so Glazers, these two men deserve it

  9. BucsfanstuckinTn Says:

    I got to read some of your work while I was on vacation once. This was pre-internet days. I enjoyed it so much that your name stuck with me to the point I remember you being one of the first things I searched for when online became a thing

  10. Rick Says:

    Congratulations Ira. I’ve been a fan from the very beginning 76 and love reading your articles.

  11. Jim Says:

    You’re the best, Ira.

  12. Bruce Blahak Says:

    Nobody knows the game like Ira!

  13. '79Defense Says:

    I enjoy your columns, Ira. It’s nice having someone around from the old days who truly understands what it’s like to be a Bucs fan.

    I’m sure you heard the stories before you came to Tampa, but if you arrived in ’85, those back to back 2-14 seasons must have helped greatly to prepare you for the mental anguish it takes to support this team. –But hey, unlike the rest of us, at least you get paid for it.

    Looking forward to several more years.

  14. Chris l Says:

    Thank you ira! One day we will meet! Huge Bucs fan from Toronto. Tampa football is my life!!

  15. «Delusional Intelligence» Says:

    “… The “profound” part is definitely a stretch.”

    I beg to differ Sage! I would describe you as sagacious, of which sage is a synonym.

    If the reuben or pressed cuban fits…. eat it

  16. Eric in Denver Says:

    Congratulations! Thanks for all that you do Ira! My life wouldn’t be the same without you!
    – Season ticket holder

  17. Buczilla Says:

    Ira, you are far and away my current (no shame in being second Joe’s since you guys are awesome too.) favorite sports writer and I put you right up there with the late, great, Tom McEwen as my two favorites of all time. I’ve been reading your stuff for like ever and even though I don’t agree with you (Mike Evans is the best man) on everything, it’s pretty damn close. I look forward to another 4 years of your excellent writing and though the thought of you retiring makes me sad, it will be well earned. Love ya man.

  18. Señor Harry in Costa Rica Says:

    You are clearly the “SAGE” Ira – it is a perfect moniker. Years ago, I only read two sports articles: Ira and Joebucsfan. Now I only read one.

  19. Buc fan sometimes when it fits for me Says:

    From all fans who split loyalty between teams I give a big THANK YOU! No one does duel fandom quite like you Ira. Keep up the great work!

  20. Razor Ramone Says:

    Ira, your columns are must reads! And I look forward to the podcasts with the same enthusiasm that I saved only for the late, great Chris Thomas!! Go Bucs and go Cosmo!

  21. Kalind Says:

    You’ve been a fabulous addition Ira! We don’t always agree, but fella, these pages are far far better for your input.

    Keep it up!

  22. Bush's Coke Spoon Says:

    What everyone else said^^^^^

    Except for the one a$$hole who never goes away!

  23. stpetebucsfan Says:

    Congrats Ira! We ole dudes have to stick together. Glad to see that you are able to keep on keepin on. Tom McEwen was before my time in Tampa but didn’t he work to a ripe old age?