Tristan Wirfs Still Upset How Season Ended

February 4th, 2022

Tristan Wirfs at Pro Bowl practice yesterday.

If you are on the fence about what Bucs player’s jersey you should rock this fall, this might motivate you to buy No. 78.

Tristan Wirfs is one of the best additions the Bucs have ever made. Yeah, it is early in his career, way early, but this guy seems like the rock of the franchise.

(Think about the haul of an offseason Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht had in 2020. He trades for a Hall of Fame tight end [Rob Gronkowski] signs the greatest quarterback ever [Tom Brady] and drafts an All-Pro right tackle [Wirfs] and a Pro Bowl safety [Antoine Winfield]. That’s living large!)

There is nothing not to like about Wirfs. Excellent player. Super nice guy. And now a leader on a defending Super Bowl champion.

Joe caught up with Wirfs yesterday at the Las Vegas Ballpark. It was a very chilly day for Pro Bowl practice but the sun was so bright, Joe got fried like a fisherman in the Gulf in July. Joe forgot his sunscreen (you don’t normally think of packing sunscreen when you are wearing a coat and the temperature is around 40).

(What a sports weekend in Vegas. On Saturday night, Clearwater’s Keith “One Time” Thurman fights, the NHL All-Star Game is played and the next day it’s the Pro Bowl.)

Joe doesn’t know which injury was the worst for the Bucs this season, Chris Godwin’s knee or Wirfs’ ankle. Joe guesses you could argue Wirfs because the Bucs were two wins from the Super Bowl and without Wirfs, the Bucs’ front line buckled under the fierce Rams pass rush and lost by three.

Wirfs tried to return to the Eagles game after going down with his ankle to open the playoffs and it was unwise, he confessed yesterday. But Wirfs said he just could not sit on the bench and watch his teammates bust their tails and get hurt themselves with him not trying to gut it out.

“When I came out of the game, [Ryan] Jensen [then] got a little tweaked and Josh [Wells] got tweaked,” Wirfs explained. “I said, ‘I have to go back in.’ I tried. And, yeah, there was nothing [there].”

Wirfs lost all mobility with that bad ankle as rushers flew past him. It was both depressing and ugly. Joe thinks every Bucs fan in the stadium that day gave Wirfs props for trying to fight through what at the time seemed like a major injury.

“It probably wasn’t the smartest [decision],” Wirfs said of getting back in the game. “I was convincing [the Bucs medical staff], I was hiding it. ‘No, I need to go in. I’m fine, I’m fine.'”

But he wasn’t.

Wirfs did everything he could think of to try to get his ankle healed just enough that he could play against the Rams. And there was an outside shot he could go as late as game day.

“All week I was doing everything I could to try to come back,” Wirfs said. “I remember I got to the stadium that morning and I tried to do stuff and I just couldn’t do it.”

The way Wirfs talks, it almost sounds like he is partially putting the Bucs’ loss on his inability to play that day. His body language revealed it still bothers him.

“It was really frustrating to have the season end like that. Especially [it] turned out to be Tom’s last game.”

“Tom,” of course, is Tom Brady.

“It was frustrating,” Wirfs said. “It was my first time not being out there.”

One reason Joe doesn’t like the term “leader” in football is that no one can define it. It’s football mysticism. Joe’s a production guy, not into fluffy, invisible ca-ca.

But Joe will say this: The way Wirfs is still upset about not being able to contribute in such a big game shows you where his heart is. And Joe will proudly go to war with guys like that anytime, anywhere.

Enjoy Thursday’s Ira Kaufman Podcast.

29 Responses to “Tristan Wirfs Still Upset How Season Ended”

  1. SKBucsFan Says:

    Maybe there is hope that Tom Bradys approach and commitment to the game has rubbed off on some of the players.

  2. Scubog Says:

    And to think there were actually folks who bemoaned the pick.

  3. Listnfrmafar Says:

    It does make you wonder if the med staff or BA just said no, maybe he could of played in the Rams game. Didn’t he go out a 3rd time after his second collapse? Wirf, I admire your dedication, I wish your coaching staff had your competitiveness. They fell asleep at the wheel.

  4. DavidBigBucFan99 Says:

    His loss was the deciding factor why Brady had a hard time passing in the 1st half. If we could’ve scored at least 6 points more in the half we would’ve won.

  5. Razor Ramone Says:

    Yep, hopefully TB12’s legacy lasts with the guys who got to play with him. Wirfs learned well.

  6. PassingThru Says:

    I’m still surprised (if not dubious) that Wirfs was even considered a starter for that divisional playoff game. High ankle sprains are not only painful as hell they also inhibit your flexibility. You’re going to have serious trouble containing a DE or LB when you cannot move laterally, let alone trying to put significant pressure on it as you engage in one-on-one combat.

    I thought the whole thing was a smokescreen, but Wirfs is one tough dude.

  7. Listnfrmafar Says:

    Rams/ Cincy SB? Bucs were a coin flip away. 49ers perfect match up. How? How, can ANY DC in the NFL make that call and still have a job? 64% blitzes on a QB know as one of the best to beat the blitz. Sorry Bucs fans but every time I see a SB promotion I get sick to my stomach. BA & Bowles should have been fired on the spot. 26 seconds left and let the BEST receiver in the league run free. That was epic Todd Bowles Jets HC material at its best.

  8. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Our lack of a pass rush was a huge factor in our loss…….JPP & Shaq still nursing injuries……very little pressure from the front 4.

    If every DC that made a mistake in a game got fired on the spot….all DCs would be looking for jobs.

    Remember…..this is the same DC that presided over a SB where KC didn’t score a TD……

    Wad it a mistake, yep….was it bad…..yep…..

  9. LJS4th Says:

    When we lost Godwin and then AB I knew we had other receivers not as good but capable of catching and playing, but when Wirfs went down, I knew it was over! The line was a wall for Brady and it made everything work but with no Wirfs and a hurt Wells against the Rams pass rush it was an impossible task even though we still almost pulled it off!!! Whoever is the QB next year, they will have a wall to work behind which will make the transition from Brady much easier. Keep Jensen and get well Wirfs!

  10. Listnfrmafar Says:

    Tampa, yes DC’s can make bad calls but not the obvious at the most crucial time in a playoff game. I just read Jerry Jones is still contemplating dumping Mccarthy for his last play call. Coaches have one main job, do NOT choke on game winning decisions. Bowles and BA choked.

  11. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    How did BA choke…….he actually made great call to go for a FG when we were down 4 scores……made it 3 and gave us a chance to come back.

    BA didn’t run the defense……our offense was down Wirfs, AB, Godwin, Rojo, Grayson, Perriman…..and a somewhat injured Jensen…..& still scored 27 points…..

    You can make arguments about BA on other games/issues…..but not that game.

  12. PSL Bob Says:

    Guys, no one laments the loss to the Rams more than me, but you gotta let it go. We’ve all commented about who’s fault it was and what if, but it’s over. Let’s focus now on the future, a future without TB12 at QB. How do the Bucs retain FAs, anoint a new QB, and draft potential starters?

  13. mike Says:

    He Whirfs doesn’t get hurt, we are playing next Sunday, end of story.

  14. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    PSL Bob Says:
    February 4th, 2022 at 10:03 am
    Guys, no one laments the loss to the Rams more than me, but you gotta let it go. We’ve all commented about who’s fault it was and what if, but it’s over.

    PSL Bob,

    The article is about Wirfs not getting over the loss…….when the players & Joe get over it then so can we.

  15. Buddha Says:

    Get over the Bowle’s narrative. The Buccaneers were extremely lucky to be in that game at all. How often do teams recover all four fumbles by the other team? Answer: almost never.

  16. Cobraboy Says:

    I had Wirfs tagged as, by far, the best OL in his draft class. I cannot believe he dropped so far.

  17. Mark Alsott Says:

    Absolutely LOVE this young man! He’s a stud that should anchor this franchise for the next 10 years. Get better young man!

  18. David Says:


    You mentioned the NHL All-Star game, probably the best All-Star team going right now, but they’re all kind of worthless.
    But… The greatest thing in all of the All-Star competitions happens tonight. The NHL skills competition. Way better than the NFL‘s, and of course the home run derby and NBA dunk contest are practically worthless at this point.
    The NHL skills competition is awesome to watch.

    As for Wirfs, love him! He’s fantastic.
    Hopefully this draft, which is deep in D lineman, they can find another rock to put next to Vea

  19. David Says:

    So many people are just blinded and think every play needs to be perfect and executed perfect. The reality is they never are and the other team is filled with NFL caliber players and coaches who are trying to stop you.
    Todd Bowles was fantastic this year. Fifth fewest points in the NFL. You can complain about third down defense and yards given up all you want, but when you don’t play with your starting defense the entire year, and play with guys off the street and your defensive backfield every other week, adjustments need to be made. Unless not forget JPP was a shell of himself and SUH looked old so the front 4 pass rush lacked drastically.

    Yes he made a mistake at the end with a bad call, but maybe if Winfield didn’t stand there and let the receiver blow by him it would’ve ended up different.
    OR if the blitz would’ve got to Stafford everyone would’ve been singing his praises and how what a bold call that no one expected.
    Regardless, he still made a bad call in blitzing at that point but I am grateful he’s gonna stay here as the DC.

  20. Listnfrmafar Says:

    Tampa, BA is on his Walkman listening to every play call and if he doesn’t agree the HC chimes in. He is just as guilty as Bowles he let it happen and he to should of know you simply DON’T blitz Stafford. Should of been 4 man rush and once and a while send White or a safety. If you watched KC/Cincy, Cincy rushed three and eventually sacking Mahomes to force a tying FG. That’s what a good DC does.

  21. August 1976 Buc Says:

    Wirfs has RT locked down for at least a Decade…

    Any talk about the Rams game is just plain sour grapes.
    The Bucs got beat in the Trenches, plain and simple.
    Week 3 it was the same thing in the loss in LA.
    Rams were the better team again 2 weeks ago.
    Brady faced the 2nd most pressure in his 2 years with the Bucs 2 weeks ago.
    The Bucs had their their Azz handed to them by the Rams.
    The hell with excuses.

    GO BUCS!!!!!

  22. Listnfrmafar Says:

    David, 5th fewest points because the offense scored 30+ forcing the opposing team to be on dimentional. Do your homework and count how many teams the D let back into the game where the end result was a nail biter? Oh, and.please don’t give me the O started slow or sputtered in the final quarter, if a team scores 30 they should win no matter when the points were scored.

  23. Swampbuc Says:

    Tristan, what did you think of the job your defensive coordinator did in the final 42 seconds of that game? I’ll bet you would have called a defense that involved blanketing the Rams best offensive weapon. How did you like that Cover Zero Percent of Kupp defense he called? Genius, eh?

  24. jopaz Says:

    imo, Wirfs down was key to the loss but Donovan Smith did not hold the blind side. Tampa should have adjusted and had either Gronk or Brate help with Donovan or Wells because Von Miller was too fast for either tackle. Brady just didn’t get that extra second or 2 to do his progressions. Von Miller forced Brady to step in too much into the pocket where Aaron Donald was regularly penetrating.

  25. unbelievable Says:

    Love this kid.

    Great draft pick.

  26. unbelievable Says:

    And yes, Donovan had a terrible game. Was abused all day long but every pass rusher for the Rams.

  27. Bucamania Says:

    Wirfs was sorely missed. Stud pick.

    Wish Donovan Smith would’ve raised his game to pick up the slack, but nope, played worse.

  28. JBBucs06 Says:

    Agree with all, we ALWAYS had a chance and would be playing this weekend if we had Wirfs. Even w/ Brate as our slot receiver, give Brady time, and he would have found ways to make plays and we would not have been down 27-3.
    Great pick! Great future with Winfield for our team.

    Now we reload w/ a competent QB and see where the chips fall in 2022.

  29. David Says:

    Lstnfrm ….

    It wasn’t just the office putting up points because the office didn’t jump out to a lot of commanding leads. A lot of it was the fact that they can shut the rundown which forces the other team to be one dimensional. I’m by no means saying they played great but they were a hell of a lot better than people give them credit for. Especially when you factor in the injuries they had to deal with on defense. Todd Bowles did a hell of a job. Better than 90% of the defensive coordinators out there.
    I guess it’s the culture here in Tampa, you guys are used to a revolving door with coaches and just want to fire everyone and get new ones in here constantly. That is nothing but a recipe for disaster. The current coaching staff, and yes they had Brady helping, but they just led the Buccaneers to their greatest two years in a row in buccaneer history including a Super Bowl win. I don’t want any of them to leave except maybe the special teams coach