The Legend Of Joel Buchsbaum

April 28th, 2022

(This is a repost of a published article Joe runs as an annual tradition for the morning of the first day of the NFL draft.)

Joe’s going to go slightly personal here, a rare, albeit tiny window into Joe’s background on this holiest of high football holidays.

Joe got hooked on the NFL draft as a kid from an alien-like voice that floated through the Midwestern night air and originated from a city Joe finally visited for the first time in September 2012.

Growing up, two people turned Joe into the football freak he is today. One was Joe’s high school football coach, a guy who played for a virtual who’s who of football coaches: John Madden, Tom Landry, Gene Stallings and Lou Holtz. It kills Joe how much Joe has forgotten about football from a man unknown to 99.99999 percent of the populace.

Joe warmly remembers covering his first NFL training camp. There was Stallings, the grizzled old head coach of the St. Louis Cardinals. He vividly remembered Joe’s high school coach playing for him, and Stallings treated Joe like family after learning his protegé coached Joe in high school.

The second source fueling Joe’s unwavering football fetish came from an unlikely location: an unkept Brooklyn apartment.

Joe first heard Joel Buchsbaum on a blowtorch radio station out of St. Louis, KMOX. There, every Monday prior to Monday Night Football (and Sunday nights during the offseason), Buchsbaum, the original draftnik, would talk to strangers throughout the Midwest. He provided knowledge on college football players and the NFL that, to this day, Joe finds unmatched — not even by Mel Kiper, not even by Pat Kirwan or Michael Lombardi.

People would call the show and ask Buchsbaum about (pick a player), and often before the caller finished his question, Buchsbaum would interrupt and begin rattling off the talents and drawbacks of said player, often beginning his responses with “Ooohhh-KAY!” as if he was revving up the engine of a Mustang before putting the rig into gear.

Periodically, Buchsbaum would invoke his favorite saying of lesser players, “Looks like Tarzan; plays like Jane.”

Pleasantries were not a forte of Buchsbaum. He was not rude, not even close, but he was very short and impatient with rambling callers.

Joe remembers some guy asking Buchsbaum about a player the caller claimed was a starting cornerback at Utah. Buchsbaum, in his shrill, nasally, thick Brooklyn accent, corrected the caller almost immediately. No, the player is not from Utah, Buchsbaum said, but from Utah State. And in fact he was a backup cornerback.

This did not stop Buchsbaum from launching into why the player was not starting and why coaches didn’t start him despite the promise he showed.

Mind you, this was long before the days of laptops and the Internet, so Buchsbaum couldn’t have Googled the player’s name in five seconds to pull up his information because neither Google nor the internet existed. This also was during the infancy of BSPN, so Utah State football may have well been Charles University of Prague football, for all Joe knew.

Buchsbaum’s knowledge was unreal. And in Joe’s circle of fellow football friends, guys who rarely if ever listened to an AM station, Buchsbaum was like fresh honey to flies. He was like the Rain Man.

Fast forward maybe 15 years and the Sporting News decided to name the best draftnik. They researched Buchsbaum, Mel Kiper and a third guy Joe had not heard of and still can’t remember. The Sporting News broke down each man’s final mock draft through four rounds for three consecutive years.

Buchsbaum won big.

A recluse, Buchsbaum died 19 years ago. In a perverted way Joe was jealous of the guy. All he did was study football, read football, write football, talk football and work his many NFL and college inside sources. Included at the top of the list was Bill Belicheat, who tried to hire Buchsbaum several times but was spurned with each offer.

Whenever Joe hears mock draft guys who pump out three a week starting in January brag that they have no interest in accuracy — a guy currently employed by the four-letter actually told Joe that — Joe can only chortle and walk away shaking his head. That would have revolted Buchsbaum. If the old Twitter comrades were so triggered by misinformation as they claimed, these mockers would have been thrown off the platform years ago.

So as Day 1 of the draft is here, and maybe by midnight we find out if Andrew Booth or Jahan Dotson will be terrorizing Bucs opponents for the next decade, Joe can’t help but remember Buchsbaum and that unforgettable voice.

Here’s a nugget from acclaimed football scribe, and friend of Buchsbaum, John McClain, Houston Chronicle emeritus.

Did you know Buchsbaum was on ESPN when the network first televised the draft? He looked like such a nerd. I imagine the network executives didn’t like the way he looked or sounded, so they hired Mel “Ki-pa.”

Chad Finn of the Boston Globe decided to dig up Buchsbaum’s breakdown of Tom Brady coming out of Michigan and with the “positives,” Buchsbaum nailed the analysis.

Positives: Good height to see the field. Very poised and composed. Smart and alert. Can read coverages. Good accuracy and touch. Produces in big spots and big games. Has some Brian Griese in him and is a gamer. Generally plays within himself. Team leader.

Negatives: Poor build. Very skinny and narrow. Ended the ’99 season weighing 195 pounds and still looks like a rail at 211. Looks a little frail and lacks great physical stature and strength. Can get pushed down more easily than you’d like. Lacks mobility and ability to avoid the rush. Lacks a really strong arm. Can’t drive the ball down the field and does not throw a really tight spiral. System-type player who can get exposed if he must ad-lib and do things on his own.

Summary: Is not what you’re looking for in terms of physical stature, strength, arm strength, and mobility but he has the intangibles and production and showed great Griese-like improvement as a senior. Could make it in the right system but is not for everyone.

Urban legend is that Belicheat, one of the few friends Buchsbaum had, took a flyer on Brady based on Buchsbaum’s recommendation. Belicheat since has acknowledged he would annually go over his draft board with Buchsbaum — a non-team employee — in the hours leading to the draft, a practice absolutely unheard of in NFL circles.

Joe will raise a Big Storm beer tonight for Buchsbaum.

Here and here and here are cool stories about Buchsbaum.

Enjoy the draft!

31 Responses to “The Legend Of Joel Buchsbaum”

  1. August 1976 Buc Says:

    Definitely one of the best post every year on JBF, always enjoying reading about
    Joel b. on morning of the Draft.
    Yes there is the USFL this year, so ok, some football, but the NFL Draft is still the main attraction by far in April.

    GO BUCS!!!!

  2. Joe in Michigan Says:

    I remember reading Bushbaum’s draft guides years ago, couldn’t wait to get them. I consider him the best.

  3. MadMax Says:

    My favorite time of the year other than the SB if we’re in it.

  4. WVBuc Says:

    I tried some Googling but couldn’t find a link to the 3rd article posted above as that link didn’t work.

  5. mg Says:

    Wow, I had forgot about him. Thanks so much for the post.

  6. Mcruzer Says:

    Every year I read this article it reminds me of Steve Martin in the Jerk. “Want a fill up Mr. Nussbaum” and “as long as we have a voucher”.

  7. FortMyersDave Says:

    I always enjoy reading this story Joe! Joel Buchsbaum sounds like the type of guy whose knowledge would put all the current draft prognosticators to shame.

    And yeah, KMOX was a blowtorch, when I lived in Tuscaloosa Alabama back in the ’90s I would tune into to Card games on it as the clear channel signal came in as clear as a bell. I could pick it up driving from T-Town to Tallahassee or Tampa at night as well.

    Gene Stallings is an amazing guy. He coached Bama from 1990 to 1996 and won a National title over Miami in the 1993 Sugar Bowl. I met him once at Dreamland BBQ in Tuscaloosa once, he had his son John Mark with him and he seems to be the type of gentleman who would have a kind word for everyone he meets. Thanks again for the great story Joe!

  8. Brent Says:

    Favourite article. One I wait for every year. Cheers, Joe. Thanks for the memories, entertainment, and product.

  9. SteveK Says:

    Love this post every year, Joe!

    Can you also include an annual “everything it’s eats” column? That one brought me to tears lol.

  10. Jor God tha Binks Says:

    If you’re a life-long JBF’er you know the meaning of Joel to Joe in any article written about such. Love it

  11. HC Grover Says:

    TX for this Joe. His analysis of Brady almost sounds he could be talking about Trask too.

  12. OrlandoBucFan Says:

    Buchsbaum was the best! I bought his draft guide each year for a decade or so. I used to have them stacked in my bathroom for casual reading while on the throne. Thanks for sharing the memory.

  13. D-Rome Says:

    Belicheat since has acknowledged he would annually go over his draft board with Buchsbaum — a non-team employee — in the hours leading to the draft, a practice absolutely unheard of in NFL circles.

    Amazing tidbit of information.

    Amazing article. I hate to say it but I think this is the first time I’ve read about Joel on JBF and I’ve been visiting this site since near the beginning of its existence.

  14. firethecannons Says:

    Saw this last year–cool stuff, makes you miss the old days, now we have mock drafts–thousands of them. Will read your links later, thanks Joe! Happy draft day to both of you and Ira and go Bucs!

  15. Wade Landry Says:

    Thank you for re-membering J.B. This should be declared as his day…..his entire week ! ! Thank you also for all the info. LFG Bucs !

  16. JA Says:

    Without doubt, the most amazing thing about the guy is the time and effort he committed to analyzing college football players without assistance from the internet.
    Think about it!
    Back in the day stat sheets were rare. The best one could hope for was The Sporting News. And game film on a player, even with contacts, was next to impossible to acquire without incessant phone call beg—a—thons. The level of dedication to obtain the knowledge he possessed is beyond ineffable. Not bad for a nerd living in some old Brooklyn neighborhood.
    Guessing he wasn’t a hit with the ladies, but his loss was our gain.

  17. Smashsquatch Says:

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane “…on a blowtorch radio station out of St. Louis, KMOX.” I used to pickup KMOX at night, ever so faintly, to listen to Jack Buck & Mike Shannon call the Cardinals games back in the 80s. It was the only way to stay connected. “I’ll betcha a frosty cold Budweiser Willie takes off on this next pitch.”

  18. Buczilla Says:

    I still have some old pro football weekly draft guides from the late 80’s and the 90’s tucked away in a box. Draft day!

  19. Joe Says:

    I’ll betcha a frosty cold Budweiser Willie takes off on this next pitch.”

    To this day, if you walk into a bar in St. Louis and order a “frosty cold” you don’t even need to say the name of the beer. They know. 🙂

    Mike Shannon used to get so trashed at games. LOL Joe can hear him saying that and then he would snicker as he took a drag off his cigarette.

  20. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    I love this article!
    KMOX is a Blowtorch Station, and their transmitter is actually in Illinois.
    They have 50,000 watts of power, on a clear channel, so their signal can even be sometimes heard on ships cruising the ocean!

  21. StickinUp4Centers Says:

    “Did you know Buchsbaum was on ESPN when the network first televised the draft? He looked like such a nerd. I imagine the network executives didn’t like the way he looked or sounded, so they hired Mel “Ki-pa.””

    And Mel Kiper doesn’t look like a nerd?

  22. Lamarcus Says:

    Sean Payton said he told Jerry Jones to draft Brady in the 4th round

  23. adam from ny Says:

    one day someone should ask tommy b about joel buchsie…

    he might have an interesting tidbit or two

  24. SPARKY Says:

    I’m not a great college football fan, so I don’t know who to say we should draft. Good thing there are guys like that around. Great story.

  25. Colin in Canada Says:

    Thanks again Joe’s for all the great content on the draft and for the tradition. I’ve been following this site for years and I appreciate the long hours and the dedication. Go Bucs!

  26. geno711 Says:

    Joel Buchsbaum draft guide was always a must read for me.

    Had a dear mentor 25 years my senior that turned me on to his guide.

    I remember in 1987 going through the draft guide with “Doc” and us picking out Jerry Ball from SMU and how we thought he would be a great fit for the Bucs.

    He ended up being drafted by the Detroit Lions in the third round and being a thorn for the Bucs for years.

  27. ClodHopper Says:

    I always like reading this.

  28. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Time Honored Tradition Here On JBF

    Cheer to you Joel!!

  29. Bush's Coke Spoon Says:


  30. Nicholas Carlson Says:

    Love it! Every year!

  31. Eddie Marz Says:

    He blew it like everyone else. GOBUCS!