So Gratifying

December 28th, 2020

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A grim year is ending amid jubilation for Buc Nation.

You know who you are — you’re the Buc diehards who kept the faith through a tumultuous stretch. You’re the ones who braved the heat and the traffic and the ticket prices to show up at Raymond James Stadium year after year, keeping hope alive through the dark days.

Six head coaches have walked the sideline since the Bucs last prepared for a postseason game. Three general managers have presided over football operations since this franchise mattered on a national scale.

Buc supporters, the real ones who never took a dive off the bandwagon, have been through a lot. That’s why they deserve to celebrate today, anticipating a playoff road game in Week 18.

And if Tampa Bay sweeps Atlanta, the Bucs will be favored … whether they head to Washington, Dallas or New York.

Can you believe what Buc fans have endured since the start of the 2008 season?

First, there was the failed pursuit of Brett Favre in the summer, followed by a December collapse of epic proportions that spelled the end of the Jon Gruden era.

The Darkness

As expected following a purge of veterans, the Bucs were awful in 2009, but Josh Freeman emerged the next year as the catalyst for a 10-6 season. The Bucs sat on their wallets and got what they deserved in 2011 as the team gave up on Raheem Morris after a 4-2 start.

Come on down, Greg Schiano, and bring that thermostat with you.

Schiano won seven games his first year, but 2013 was bizarre – even by Buc standards. Freeman went sideways, MRSA entered the facility and Tampa Bay opened 0-8 before finishing with the worst offense in the league.

Ownership then turned to Lovie Smith to straighten out this cockeyed pirate ship, but a 2-14 record ushered in the Jameis Winston era, characterized by a flurry of giveaways and one winning record in five seasons.

Who can forget free-agent underachievers like Dashon Goldson, Anthony Collins, Swaggy Baker and DeSean Jackson? Who can forget draft busts like Vernon Hargreaves, Noah Spence and Mark Barron?

We haven’t even mentioned the annual quest for a kicker to replace Matt Bryant.

If all those scoreboard failures weren’t tough enough to stomach, Buc players kept finding trouble off the field. Aqib Talib, Mike Williams, Winston, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Freeman, Doug Martin, Tanard Jackson and Jerramy Stevens are just some of the miscreants who have worn a Tampa Bay jersey during this dry spell.

Oh, and who could forget the Darrelle Revis fiasco?

Dues Paid

The Bucs yielded a first-round pick to the Jets for Revis and paid him $16 million, although he was coming off a torn ACL. He wasn’t 100 percent for the 2013 season and when Lovie Smith replaced Schiano, the Bucs dumped a healthier Revis, getting nothing in return. Bill Belichick swooped in and Revis promptly helped the Patriots win the Super Bowl.

You can’t make this stuff up.

There are enough Buc foibles during these 12 lean years to inspire three new series on Netflix. That’s why this 2020 season has been so special, so gratifying.

Tom Brady may think he knows the pain Buc fans have endured, but he has no clue.

While Tampa Bay was finishing last in the NFC South seven times within an 8-year stretch, Brady’s Patriots were in the midst of a dynasty — the likes of which this 100-year-old league had never seen.

Buc fans, rejoice. You’ve paid your dues and your invoices while asking for very little in return. All you wanted was a little relevancy, some meaningful football in late December.

We’re about to flip the calendar and Buc Nation isn’t consumed with the 2021 NFL draft. The Bucs won’t have a premium pick.

Ain’t that good news, man ain’t that news.


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15 Responses to “So Gratifying”

  1. Hodad Says:

    Ira, I was feeling good till you brought up the resent past! lol.

  2. buc15 Says:

    yes sir…let’s enjoy it…we earned this

  3. Thomas51 Says:

    Thank you TB!! Although he didn’t do it by himself, he is definitely the difference maker! Thanks to all the Buc players that play their hearts out every week. Let’s go!!!

  4. Buc4evr Says:

    Too early to even think about anything but our next opponent. Then the playoffs which will determine how we look back on this season. Time to kick down the door and take the championship! No looking back. Go Bucs !!!

  5. Alvin Scissors Harper Says:

    Jeez Ira, harkening back to the Lost Decade (as Joe likes to call it) almost sent me into a corner in the fetal position. The Revis signing was God awful. Picking Jay Miss at #1 was God awful. Goldson and Swaggy were God awful free agent signings. Lovie was a joke as was Commander Schiano.
    I still don’t know why Josh Freeman sh#t the bed, though the rumors are out there. I liked him much better than Jay Miss.
    It is enjoyable to watch this team when they are “on.” Hopefully, they can be “on” all the way to Tampa. There was a time I thought KC was unbeatable. I don’t believe that anymore. Let’s GO!

  6. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Brady has turned it over just 12 times……if you include the 1 handoff fumble…

    JW turned it over 41 times……

    That stat alone is all you need to know to understand why we are headed to the playoffs.

    We’ve also cleaned up the penalties & haven’t choked a game or two with a kicker.

  7. unbelievable Says:

    Well said Ira.

    I am enjoying that we are finally playoff bound again. It’s been 13 long, agony-filled years.

    And an even longer 17 years since we actually won a playoff game. Let’s end that streak as well!

  8. Chesapeake Bay Bucco Says:

    AND, imagine next season after a season of coming together of new faces, a spring with OTAs, a summer of more comprehensive practices, and per-season games. This show should get even better the next several years!!!

  9. Drunkinybor Says:

    Wow it has been rough for a loooong time. I cant tell you how much crap ive eaten over the years from random jack apples. I have a huge bucs skull tattoo on my forearm. So its a licence to walk by and say bro your team sucks lol lol lol. I even had a dumb little kid yell at me about 3 weeks ago when I was wearing a Bucs jersey “Bucs Suck!!” Now this is never said to my face im thinking cuz im 6 foot 2 and 300lbs. But I hear it alot mostly from 49er fans, Raiders fan dont say too much except the new stupid ones. If a Raider does say something I say ” Just Cry Baby!” 48-21. Im in Sacramento thats why im surrounded by these 2 teams fans in particular.

  10. JimbobBucsFan Says:

    This show should be better for at least the next two years. After that we should be able to maintain, retool, etc. and then … who knows?

  11. Chris L Says:

    I along with many of you including the Joes have been through a lot. Finally a playoff game! No let’s go kick the falcons ass and do some serious damage in the playoffs!!

  12. Memphis Buc fan Says:

    Double tap. ❤️

  13. Gofortheface30 Says:

    Why would any dil-do like Freeman more than Jameis. I wanted Jameis gone 3 years ago so I’m no apologists, but do you even have any idea of the rumors floating around about Freeman? In addition to the verifiable fact that this guy slept in meetings, missed practices, late for practices, didn’t love the game, lazy, crackhead, and was every bit, if not more inaccurate than Jameis. The guy is a piece of crap ok. Jameis, for all his warts was atleast enthusiastic, showed up early, loves the game, studied, he atleast tried really hard to be a leader. Give me the latter all day. Freeman was the absolute worst in every conceivable way

  14. Evolvingbucsfan Says:

    ” All you wanted was a little relevancy, some meaningful football in late December.”

    Amen Brother, Amen. We just wanted to have hope, there was very very little over the last 10 plus years. Respect must be earned and we haven’t earned much till recently, we aint there yet but the view finally looks better than the crap on our wind shield that we have been seeing for so long.

  15. #1bucsfan Says:

    Buc fans we have endured a lot. Not only from all the losing but we have bin also the laughing stick of the nfl and honestly any sports team. People laugh at us make jokes about us rightfully so because we’ve bin so bad. I think what has made it hard for me is I started watching football in Trent dilfer last season with the Bucs which our defense was Fierce. Our defense would put the fear of god into other teams it was awesome to watch as a kid growing up so that was the standard I got use to then we went through the lost decade and man it has bin tough but now we celebrate go Bucs