One Goal Turned Team Around

May 27th, 2021

He is the reason.

Joe used to get angry texts from folks who worked at One Buc Palace, frustrated beyond belief because they claimed Joe was too negative.

Joe always thought when reading these texts, “Have these people seen the team’s record?”

The Bucs, through The Lost Decade, were one of the worst teams in the NFL. That’s not hyperbole, that’s the cold hard facts — go look it up.

The facepalm hiring of some coaches (the Smiths) and the mind-numbing personnel gaffes (Michael Bennett kicked out the door; Darrelle Revis and Donald Penn released) and the rotten parade of kickers and some of the sorriest defenses one can imagine, it seemed like it would never end. Like a merry-go-round in a Stephen King novel.

And the losing at home. Year after year after year.

It was so bad at times, Joe couldn’t believe fans didn’t hold mass protests in the streets. Joe was actually waiting for a Glazer family member to toss a suite chair onto the field, Bobby Knight style, in outrage.

Joe guessed fans became numb to it all and those remaining were mentally worn out after being beaten down so often. The thousands of empty red seats and the vacant luxury boxes spoke depressing volumes.

Then last year, like a miracle, the Bucs not just won games, but turned into a dominant team ending with a Super Bowl win. At home! It was like a Walt Disney movie come to life! The NFL’s version of “Rudy” or “Hoosiers.”

(For Hollywood historians, the Bucs’ 2020 Super Bowl season was like a John Ford movie with Tom Brady playing an Errol Flynn-type hero to save a town invaded by a soulless, evil horde.)

Last week speaking on the “Eye Test for Two” podcast, the director of this Hollywood movie-dream of a football season, Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht, had said of the culture of the Bucs locker room, “It is the best — absolute best — locker room I have ever been a part of.”

So Licht was asked why that was, a locker room fully deprived of drama yet a locker room that is not short on egos and personalities.

Basically, Licht said, the players were disciplined and fed up with losing.

“I think we, because for so many years here we were close to making it or had so many games where we had an interception or a fumble or whatever it was — a missed field goal — away from, maybe the record was 5-11 but there were so many games where we would have been 10-6,” Licht began.

“But [the players] were just tired of losing. And the players saw the talent that we had, the coach that we had and it was time to stop messing around. Stay focused and let’s just worry about winning.

“So Mike Evans, he never complained if he had one catch in a game. Chris Godwin the same. Gronk — it goes on and on. Tom Brady doesn’t care if he throws for 150 yards as long as we win the game.

“I think it starts with [Brady] and his selfless attitude and that just kind of bleeds into everyone else. Defense as well. Everyone had their eyes on the prize. That’s the first thing that Bruce talked about every day in the team meeting. It’s we have one goal, and that’s to put a ring on our finger this season. Forget about everything else and everybody just followed it.”

Joe thinks Licht was a bit too modest. It absolutely started with Brady.

Joe was skeptical of Brady because never in NFL history had a 43-year old had the kind of season Brady did. Never.

 “Never” is pretty simple and often a very bad gamble.

The stories Joe has heard about Brady since he came to the Bucs is everything good you can imagine. When Brady walked through that door at One Buc Palace, people said to themselves, “Sh!t’s gotten real now.” Standards were raised. Expectations were demanded.

Joe cannot begin to count how many times hearing Player-X busted his tail more than ever because he didn’t want to let Brady down.

All of a sudden, with Brady on board, players — good players — wanted to be here. Wanted to ball out. Wanted to excel. Joe is convinced Jason Pierre-Paul and Ndamukong Suh were gone if not for Brady coming to town.

And now the Bucs have risen from a team the TV networks almost had to be forced at gunpoint to televise in primetime, to the nation’s biggest draw on TV.

None of it happens without Brady. That’s really all there is to say.

29 Responses to “One Goal Turned Team Around”

  1. AKicknTheBucNuts Says:


  2. Defense Rules Says:

    You’re right Joe … “None of what we saw and experienced the past year happens without Brady.” But I’m still convinced that he came here for a reason: the Bucs had talent, LOTS of talent, and the Bucs had an exceptionally solid coaching staff. They needed a FIELD GENERAL and Tom Brady filled that square.

    Tom Brady ended up being ‘the force multiplier’ as I heard so many times in the military. His STATS were pretty much in-line with what he’s produced yearly during his whole career, but his LEADERSHIP is what we’d been missing and put us over the top.

  3. Reddington Neck Shores Says:

    BA was on his way to a successful team. The pieces were all there. He just needed a qb that wouldn’t throw the game away. We would have won games and made the playoffs with someone else but without the goat we wouldn’t be world champs.

  4. Dew Says:


  5. Bird Says:

    One of the best pieces i have read on joebucsfan in some time

    Great stuff guys !
    I am effing pumped for this season.
    Got my tickets and ready to roll from o-town

    If we stay healthy , no reason we cannot run it back.

  6. Evolvingbucsfan Says:

    People said that Brady was dink and dunk type player, i did too, or was it Belicheat who was making him a product of the system with less faith in him each year., especially with the roster they had towards the end. Imagine Brady after dealing with BB for so long looking at Tampa Bay and saying how fun would it be to go down there and sling it all over the place with those proven receivers and to work with a coach like Arians. Tom must have been drooling to get a chance to break out of Belicheats system and rules and prove people wrong, which is what TB12 lives for. Then he gets Gronk, Fournette, AB, and still doesn’t click till the playoffs. What a dream year it was but now imagine what a TB12 with full confidence of the plays and scheme and all 22 starters. It’s hard not to drool myself. TB12 is living his dream scenario at 43 with only himself and father time as his biggest rival it seems, hope he plays for as long as he has the passion to play. I am so damn excited to watch it play our this year which, hopefully wont be his last.

  7. August 1976 Buc Says:


  8. Casual Observer Says:

    One GOAT turned the team around. Typo.

  9. sgrd0q Says:

    Truly inspirational story. Amazing!

  10. Crack3rK Says:

    Now that they have the “Ring” and covid rules are relaxed, it will be interesting to see how this team handles the media attention and spotlight. If anyone can help lead them through the noise, it’s Brady.

  11. Joe Says:

    One of the best pieces i have read on joebucsfan in some time

    Thank you for the kind words! Very much appreciated.

  12. #1bucsfan Says:

    @joe. I don’t think you were harsh enough on our team thru the lost decade. We were absolutely terrible the worst losing franchise in SPORTS history. Read that again people. We deserved every bad word and thought. Our team was the fire hydrant of the league and people want to get at you cause your speaking the cold hard truth. Soft pansie arse people. So glad BA and Brady came to change this culture and turn this franchise around. US the fans deserve it especially the ones who have bin watching for 20 plus years. Thank you team glazer and everyone person at one buc for what we got to witness last year. Still in a daze lol let’s go bucs

  13. Joe Says:

    Thank you #1!

  14. Eddie Marz Says:

    It’s true Joe, Brady brought out the best in all of them. What a great bunch of players, they we’re all willing to put their egos aside but didn’t have the direction or know how to do it. All it took was for one guy to show them the way and they ROSE to the occasion. What a great TEAM they’ve become! GO BUCS!

  15. lambeau Says:

    Excellent column.
    As a New Englander who’s followed Brady for 20 years, I agree with Evolving that the best is yet to come. The first half of the season was very disjointed, as Brady learned the offense. Clearly he and Byron integrated BA’s offense with some Brady preferences (play action, motion) to produce the playoff run–2021 will be epic.

  16. Youngbucs Says:


  17. PSL Bob Says:

    Agree 100%. No question.

  18. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Bird Says:
    May 27th, 2021 at 6:48 am
    One of the best pieces i have read on joebucsfan in some time

    Yes it was….and it was moniker free!!!!

  19. Señor Harry in Costa Rica Says:

    Spot on Joe.

    “Sh!t’s gotten real now.” Standards were raised. Expectations were demanded…”

    Said by LVD, JPP, Suh, Jensen, Marpet, all the old vets. ‘THIS is finally our opportunity. Let’s not waste it. We can’t let Brady down as the whole world is watching and if we fail, its ALL on us.’

    And that trickled down to the young guys; even Donnie stepped up his game – good for him! Leadership at its MAX

  20. ToesOnTheLine!!! Says:

    This article speaks the truth! Especially the line Brady = “sh!t’s gotten real now.”

  21. Buc1987 Says:

    The GOAT.

  22. HeyItsAdam Says:

    “….so many games where we had an interception or a fumble or whatever it was — a missed field goal — away from, maybe the record was 5-11 but there were so many games where we would have been 10-6,” Licht began……

    I lost count of how many games Jameis left the field tied or with the lead, turning the game over to Special teams or the Defense and then watching them blow it. Over and over and over……

  23. Casual Observer Says:

    A player might complain about the number of catches he had if he had an incentive laden contract.

  24. Jack Burton Mercer Says:

    The number one example of the Brady Effect was Donovan Smith. He stopped taking plays off, and taking points off the board, and started living up to his potential.

  25. Bucshot Says:

    Hello Captain Obvious…….

  26. stpetebucsfan Says:

    I know how serious Brady takes his craft but this was the first year in a LONG time it looked like TB12 was having fun.

    Another poster mentioned his dink and dunk rep in BB’s offense and all the talk of how he would struggle in BA’s no risk it no biscuit offense with so many bombs.

    Turns out Brady RELISHED flinging the ball down the field and he clearly erased his rep as just a dink and dunker.

  27. Keith Henig Says:

    Defense wins Championship. The Chiefs scored 9 points. Brady and the Offense was amazing but let’s give some credit to the D.

  28. johnny o Says:

    hey kids: Tommy would be the first to say it was the team, not him. and he’d be right. but golldarnit, I got a feeling he’s going to do it again…er.. the team is going to do it again. GO BUCS!

  29. newbucsfan Says:

    I am a sad Pats fan living in the cold North. So glad for Bucs fans to have Brady to help the team there like he did here. Find myself following the Bucs now more than my Pats.., Wonder why. Hope team can get him #8 even if he beats Pats to do it!