Bucco Bruce Arians Brought Change

May 20th, 2021

Bucs GM Jason Licht explains.

The Lost Decade was a horrible period of football for your Buccaneers.

The Bucs only had two winning seasons — and a lot of really horrible football. Enough that some Bucs fans still have a hard time grasping what took place last season, ending with the Bucs not just winning their first postseason game since January 2003, but running the table and winning the Super Bowl.

Bucs fans became so conditioned to losing, this winning thing seemed like some out-of-body experience people encounter when they drop acid.

For too many of those years, Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht was sitting upstairs in the press box on gamedays, torturing himself watching the awful losing knowing he put together a better team than what the Bucs showed on Sundays.

The culture, not so much the players, had to change, Licht told Ira Kaufman and Clark Judge in a recent edition of “The Eye Test For Two” podcast.

Ira Kaufman: Jason, the lean years, 2014, you know, 2018. Did you ever think, Jason, did you ever think that it was going to turn around like this — how could you have thought that?

Jason Licht: (Pauses) (sighs) Obviously we went through some tough times. But you know, I have a fantastic staff on my end. And we have a fantastic coaching staff with Bruce and Todd and those guys. We all saw the talent here. We saw the talent. We needed to get the culture right. And, that happened when Bruce got there. It started to flip with Bruce because of the great guys we have in the locker room: Lavonte [David] and JPP [Jason Pierre-Paul] and [Ndamukong] Suh and I could go on and on. Once Bruce came it started to flip. [Players] started to believe. And then when we added Tom [Brady] at quarterback, I felt, “OK, now this really has it — we really have a chance to solidify the culture of this locker room. We have all the pieces in place.” And I thought last year at this point that there was a legit shot we could win this.

A lot of folks thought the Bucs would make the playoffs with Brady running the show. Few outside of possibly Licht and Bucs coach Bucco Bruce Arians thought they could win it all.

Few outside One Buc Palace envisioned Brady dramatically changing the culture, not just of the team, but the freaking organization.

When Brady moved into Derek Jeter’s old rat trap, which he just dumped, pretty soon veterans who had been on winning teams suddenly wanted to come to Tampa Bay.

It was like a shark just got a tarpon and the other fish raced in and get some scraps.

A new standard was established at One Buc Palace. Winning. Integrity. Accountability. No excuses.

Just think about this: The standards Brady set for guys like Antoine Winfield and Tristan Wirfs are going to pass down to newcomers for the next decade. There are kids not yet in high school who will someday be drafted by the Bucs and have Winfield and/or Wirfs explain the way things are at One Buc Palace, things they learned from Brady.

Luring Brady out of New England may be the greatest Bucs move in franchise history. Certainly right up there with trading for Chucky.

19 Responses to “Bucco Bruce Arians Brought Change”

  1. JimbobBucsFan Says:

    Amen! Amen! Amen!

    Isn’t it wonderful! I mean as a fan I still can’t quite believe it even now.

    I did see progress in the previous couple of years. But, that does not tell you that you have a real chance to grab it all. Even with the GOAT coming into the picture my “realistic” hopes were for next year (this season … 2021)

  2. SB~LV Says:

    I just did some quick math and even with the same starting QB for 5 of those 10 years it was still “The Lost Decade “

  3. PSL Bob Says:

    I agree 100%. If everything goes right, there will be another Lombardi trophy sitting in the halls of One Buc Palace after the 2021 season, and the winning culture in the locker room will continue grow. Success breeds success. Three key elements are needed to keep this thing going well into the future: a suitable replacement for Tom Brady, an effective head coach to take over when Arians retires, and continued successful recruiting by Licht & Co.

  4. Winny Testaverde Says:

    Ira is fearless…and gives zero Fs with questions like this. Mrs. Licht has forgiven Ira for calling for Jason’s head…Ira has that effect on the ladies…they simply can’t resist his charm and movie star good looks.

  5. Swampbuc Says:

    Winny — ROTFL!

  6. chris L Says:

    this is better than chucky. hands down the best move we have ever made. we had tough years but when you think about it, two championships in 18 years? not bad. also consider within those 18 years patriots won 5 super bowls, giants and steelers won multiple, and now i guess us? dont think i am missing anyone else. you take the rest of the teams that won just one super bowl in the time and damn are we lucky. never forget the championship seasons. some fans never get to experience one in their lifetime. lean years for sure but it shaped the true buc fans that we are and cant change history. if we werent terrible and jameis flaming out – do we ever get brady? probably not.

  7. Cannon Says:

    Fun fact…

    Our Bucs are tied with Pittsburgh and Baltimore for have the second most Super Bowl wins in the past 20 years (behind New England’s 6 wins)


  8. 74 Bucs Fan Says:

    Hey Joe – can you find the clip of Mike Evans taking with Gronk just after the Super Bowl game ended where Evans said something like” I can’t believe you guys came down here”, referring to Gronk and Brady, and Gronk replied “we came here to do it with you”. Such a cool clip and one not seen very often. Not sure where I saw it but it was cool. Thank man – you guys are the best!!

  9. Miller5252 Says:

    I still believe that the last season for Dirk was going to be it for Licht. Halfway through that season I think Licht had already been talking to Bruce and was getting him on board. I don’t think the owners keep Licht if it wasn’t for the fact that he already had Bruce on board.

    Good read Joe’s!

  10. Chuckstutz Says:

    He also changed the coaching staff. What a Huge difference! Arians Coaches are
    The biggest difference. A lot of them, but used to perfection.

  11. Jaymiss Pick6 Again Says:

    “like some out-of-body experience people encounter when they drop acid.” Yep – kinda like that. But seriously…this has been my team since that first preseason game in 1976…I could Google it but I believe it was against the Rams.

    My Dad and I were fishing on the Hillsborough river. I was 12. I remember rushing him so we could get home to watch that game.

    Pat Yasinskas, of the then Tampa Tribune, wrote an article about me being a lifelong fan when he spotted me at the Pro Bowl when I lived in Hawaii. I was the only fool wearing a Bucs jersey.

    Yea Joe – this win over the Chiefs was kinda surreal. It was sort of on par with the win over the Raiders but I felt like that win was a forgone conclusion with Gruden having the Raiders offense still in his head.

    Both times our SB food of choice was Cuban sandwhiches – a nod to Tampa here in Richmond VA.

  12. SlyPirate Says:

    “Bruce and Todd and those guys …”

    Looks like we know who the next head coach is.

  13. SB~LV Says:

    Jpick 6 it was against the Rams and I was there. I parked on a side street near the stadium and I guess someone didn’t like the new game in town. We barely made it into the drive in Plant City, with a tire going down and a big nail in it.

  14. Swampbuc Says:

    Who was the stupitard who said BA was washed up and “old stale biiscuit?” Has that fudgepotato had anything to post recently?

  15. Buczilla Says:

    To quote the late, great, George Peppard (Hannibal Smith with the A-Team for you youngsters) “I love it when a plan comes together”.

  16. Alvin Scissors Harper Says:

    Yeah, that acid reference hit home. Last season almost seems like a really good acid trip. I was at a party once many, many years ago with hits of acid buried in the fruit in the punchbowl. I do remember taking a leak and watching my face melt in the mirror. Giddyup!

  17. Tye Says:

    Looking back now from the other end of the tunnel (lost decade), all those horrible choices a HC and qbs since firing Gruden it just seemed like the Bucs were cursed and never going to get it right…

    Thankfully that seems to be broken and brighter days ahead!

  18. Fred Orlando Says:

    Even Licht has the humble, team-first spirit Brady displays.
    I think our chances of running it back look brighter and more promising every time I look a little closer.
    And even the future bodes very well, even if BA retires.

  19. BA4President Says:

    I would say the Brady signing IS the greatest move in franchise history.

    Remember that not only did the trade for Gruden result in a Super Bowl win (the #1 goal), but it soon also lead to Gruden running out Super Bowl GM, Rich McKay.

    Running out Rich McKay, took us from the glory years of the late 90’s and early 2000’s, to 16 years of Bucs rosters without a playoff win.

    R. McKay’s loss to the team is the 2nd worst in franchise history. 1st is us not resigning Doug Williams, resulting in us going from 3 playoff appearances in 4 years, to an immediate 14 year playoff drought. I am sure Joe would throw Michael Bennett in there as one of the biggest losses.