“The Most Underachieving Team In The NFL”

January 22nd, 2023

Bucs general manager Jason Licht.

Two days ago, Joe shared how Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman visited with Bucs players and officials last week and left Tampa on Tuesday morning thinking Tom Brady will play football in 2023.

But that wasn’t the most intriguing public comment from Aikman in the aftermath of the Bucs getting blown out by Dallas.
Aikman, who studied lots of Bucs film this season as part of broadcast prep for ESPN, in addition to being an astute student of the NFL, told The Rich Eisen Show the Bucs were “the most underachieving team in the NFL.”

Aikman is no hot-take artist and he said that with a measured tone as if he were thinking about his words on the air. He then added that he stands by that take, which was reassuring to Joe in a twisted way.

Joe said all season that general manager Jason Licht assembled a talented roster, one very capable of winning the division easily and racking up 10 to 12 wins with good coaching. So it felt good to hear Aikman assess the roster similarly. If Aikman thinks the eight-win Bucs were the NFL’s top underachievers, then how must have believed the Bucs had enough talent to win a dozen or more games?

Aikman didn’t blame coaching, but it was a major problem starting with Todd Bowles being incapable of crossing the aisle to his offense and fixing what wasn’t working in October and November, and then again in December and January.

Joe hopes Brady agrees with Aikman. That would make it far more likely that Brady would return to play in Tampa if he believes the Bucs were close but ran into too many injuries, distractions and an overmatched offensive coach.

63 Responses to ““The Most Underachieving Team In The NFL””

  1. Vlad The Impaler Says:

    Brady will look like Marino in a Dolphins uniform

  2. Vlad The Impaler Says:

    Expect every Bucs player that’s able to follow Brady to his new team

  3. Tye Says:

    I’m expecting a mass exodus by the players who came to play with Brady and those who want NO PART of Bowles losing seasons ahead!
    Basically everyone who can WILL go!

  4. CleanHouse Says:

    Wake up and get real- the organization is trash and let us all down in every way.

    Coach is Terrible and them keeping him shows that they are an utter dumpster fire

    Clean house- it’s a disgrace

  5. Buc4evr Says:

    Not only is the coaching horrific, but after watching the playoffs yesterday, the Bucs are just a very slow team. All the QBs were highly mobile and able to extend plays. This team needs to get faster at every position including the QB.

  6. HomerSimpsonRocks Says:

    Bowles may win more with a competent OC, but he’ll never win a super bowl because too stubborn and primitive in his thinking.

  7. gp Says:

    It all starts at the top except, apparently, the fix.
    Bowles was gifted the talent (players) and organization (coaching staff) that had won the super bowl and very nearly went back to the super bowl.
    His decisions and coaching style led that same talent and staff to a losing season and embarrassing wildcard loss.

    WHY is he still in the building?!?

    Perhaps the plan is to load up on compensatory picks when all of our free agents flee this dumpster fire.

    That doesn’t sound like a very good plan to me.

  8. sasquatch Says:

    I don’t know how Bowles could have stepped in to fix the offense mid-season. Is it a sure thing anyone on that staff could have taken over OC duties and done better? From some of the things I’ve read, it sounds like it wasn’t just play-calling, but play-design which goes back to the playbook, which doesn’t get rewritten mid-season. Sure, they could add a couple new concepts here and there, but would that have made all the difference? I kinda doubt it. All we can do is speculate. In any case, this offseason is Bowles’ opportunity to put a stamp on the offense with a more creative OC. Let’s see how it goes.

  9. steele Says:

    Bowles as HC attracts no one except flies. Now he’ll really put his stamp on it, surrounding himself with his own wonderful guys, so you’ll see what true underachievement looks like.

    It is nonsensical to pin blame on “underachieving” players, when it is the HC’s job to get them to “overachieve”.

    Joe, why on earth would Brady look at this as some terribly great opportunity? As long as the depressing Bowles is HC, it won’t matter who the OC is. There will be no exciting offense, because Bowles doesn’t want that. He wants an old-fashioned smashmouth conservative system, even though he doesn’t have the physical roster to execute it.

  10. ViSyl Says:

    If Purdy fails sometime and the 49ers lose the SB, Brady will probably go there. Beware NFL of Brady in that 49ers team. For years now that they are just lacking a good QB.

  11. mg Says:

    Bucs fans need new owners. What idiots would hire Bowles in the first place? He stunk up New York City.

  12. BucsfanFred Says:

    Licht has done an admirable job with the roster.
    The coaching flat sucks.
    Bowlzo’s defence crumbles like a cookie against good offences and we have no offence of our own.
    Obviously, we are stuck with bowlzo for one more year.
    Will Brady play one more in pewter and red with that idiot in charge?
    I sure hope so, but I doubt it. I wouldn’t wanna play with that idiot in charge either.

  13. SB~LV Says:

    Todd Bowles is a FAILURE as a NFL HC !
    Don’t even dare march him out next year as the Bucs HC , G’Boyz

  14. Defense Rules Says:

    Sasquatch … It appears to me that you’re trying to bring logic to a brawl; majority of JBFers have made up their minds that this was a very talented but poorly-coached team that was entitled to another SB ring because Tom Brady was at the helm. In actuality it was poorly-coached in many ways, but really wasn’t all THAT talented across the board. And because of that, Tom Brady turned out to be a 45-year-old goat.

    If folks go down the 2022 roster position group by position group, each one had its own strengths AND weaknesses. And each were impacted by injuries in one way or another during the season (and that’s where depth … or lack of it … comes in). Once your highly-paid stars go down (Jensen? Shaq?) or aren’t re-signed (Suh? JPP?) you’d better have the depth or high draft picks to backfill those positions if you expect to stay competitive (we didn’t & we weren’t).

    Personally I think 2022 was inevitable & would’ve happened even if BA had remained as coach (just like it did in Arizona). IF managed properly going forward though, it’ll end up being a blessing in disguise IMO. We’ve got too many over-priced ‘stars’ under contract right now, and that’s really screwed up our salary CAP position. (Some names like D Smith, Davis, Shaq, Vea, Fournette, Gage, Brate come to mind, but there are others). Their performance on the field AND leadership skills didn’t equate to their salary, plain & simple (that’s over-priced to me).

    We now have a chance (over about 2 years) to fix that. And until we do, we shouldn’t be expecting to draw any SB-winning coaches or top-tier FAs to Tampa Bay to help us out of the quagmire that we created.

  15. Gofortheface30 Says:

    Tell me where all this so called talent is when the team continually gets injured. Where exactly do we have true A+ All pro talent? There are two players, Antoine Winfield and Tristan Wirfs. Other than that – I’m doing the Italian, running my fingers up my neck and chin motion. Our best defensive lineman, vita vea plays 50% of the time. Let’s stop acting like he’s Sapp or Aaron Donald. Our two best edge rushers were Anthony Nelson and Carl Nassib, and the latter was hurt for what, 6 games – and don’t even get me started on JTS who runs around like Bambi and plays like he’s confused. We have a ton of guys like Devin white that have regressed after the superbowl. Our receivers – in 2020 you can say they were the best duo in the league, now I’m not sure they’re top 8. We’re not a fast team, a little soft in key areas like left tackle and run blocking. No one seems to wants to answer me in regards to this alleged CULTURE CHANGE we were supposed to have. You know what’s better than winning a Super Bowl once every 15yrs. Being RELEVANT year in and yr out, being respected. Not disappearing off the map for a whole decade like a bunch of second rate losers

  16. Arn platz Says:

    Elephant in the room time. Glazers are selling their soccer team, are the Bucs next or are they going to invest more and focus more on the Bucs?

  17. SB~LV Says:

    Excellent post DR!

  18. Warrenfb12 Says:

    I understand the logic of keeping him, but Glazers need to be bold and oust Bowles…esp if Brady is gone. 2023-24 will be a total wasted season otherwise. This coaching staff will not win with a retread qb and should not be trusted with a young one. Waste.

  19. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    This mass exodus of players following Brady…..who would those be…

    Not Jensen, Evans, Godwin, Wirfs, Winfield…..they are all under contract…

    So….who will leave?……..Hicks….and a couple of FAs…….bye, bye

  20. gp Says:

    I am usually in agreement with you on most things and you’re quite right that Tom Brady is aging out of the game.
    But your point about talent is proven wrong by one very glaring truth.

    There are less talented but better coached teams playing this weekend.

    Primarily because they have made an effort to prepare for their games.
    Our single, ‘static’ game plan for the entire season is what got us embarrassed Monday night. That’s NOT good coaching.

  21. SB~LV Says:

    Tampa, in my rebuild world I would trade everyone on your list with the exception of Winfield only because of his age and usefulness going forward. There are others too , including VV .

  22. gp Says:

    Every team in the league has injuries and back-ups filling in.
    This is a weak argument for failure when mister irrelevant is doing well as QB on one of the ‘favored’ teams.

  23. Allbuccedup Says:

    Tampabaybucfan if Brady goes to another team I am sure a couple of players will ask for a trade to join him.

  24. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    I love the Bucs…but keeping Bowles only makes sense in one instance…money.

    Making him HC was a no-brainer. It was probably a promise made to get him here for Arians. We were all in, so that made sense at the time.

    But now…well, I don’t know the details of Bowles contract…maybe they can’t fire him this year?

  25. SB~LV Says:

    If you love someone you must set them free…
    Folks we are rebuilding, well JL should admit that, we need extra draft picks over the next 3 years. We can not swinging for the QB of the future.
    It’s healthy to plow the fields under at times like these .
    The talent difference watching the games yesterday was dramatic!
    Brady should retire!

  26. FrontFour Says:

    I’ve been hammering all season on this idea we have all this talent. Look no further than the trenches on both sides of the ball – other than Wirfs and Jensen, horrible. Vea is a part time player. Fournette is not good. R. White shows promise. WR depth is not good. I think Otton started to come around and WILL BE good. My favorite Buc LVD is on the other side of his career and D White is not consistent. We’ve got good, not great CB’s, although Davis can be great in coverage – when he’s not injured and Dean is a solid B+. Winfield is a Stud.

  27. FrontFour Says:

    And I’m fine if Brady moves on. He got us a Super Bowl. Thank you Tom. But notice all the QB’s that made it past the wild card round are in their early to mid 20’s. Mahomes at 29 is the old man of the group. Brady and Rodger’s are the past. Time for the Bucs to look to the future. No idea who that is, but I don’t see looking back and I don’t think it’s TB.

  28. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    There is no doubt…the Buccaneers are at a crossroads.

    This draft is extremely important. If Trask is not good enough to start, then we need someone who is goid enough. Not in 2024, but now.

    The simple truth is that Brady wants to take his time to decide. That’s all well and good for him.

    But it put the team in a state of limbo. The Bucs have no choice but to move forward

    And that is where the crossroads comes in. Commiting to Trask or drafting fresh.

    We don’t know what Trask can do…but we know his coaches were not goid, so his development probably was not good.

    So, in my mind, that means it’s draft or bust. We have some momentum going into the draft. We have trade capital.

    If there is a sure fire QB, do whatever it takes to get him. We can fill other holes for a couple years through free agency if we have to trade a couple first rounders.

  29. Timbo Says:

    Liete messed up the salary cap so bad that for the next few years expect 4-5 win seasons. Hwere comes the old bucs back from the 80s.

  30. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Trade Mike Evans and our first to get the number one pick.

  31. Curse of Gruden Says:

    What happened to the “New Culture” we had in the building? Did it exit the door along with Bruce? At least the new coach checks the box.

  32. Gofortheface30 Says:

    Buccaneers Bonzai – if it meant getting Bryce Young, I’d do it in a second. Mike Evans is EXACTLY what the Bears are missing. Now, idk if Evans is Top 5 receiver at this point. Doubt it would be enough to move up to Number One, but in a pretend world – I’d do it. Now cue all the people that will factor emotions/nostalgia in to a business decision

  33. Zwak Says:

    I agree Bonzia, if we can get a first round pick for Evans do it!

  34. stpetebucfan Says:

    @Vlad the Impaler

    “Brady will look like Marino in a Dolphins uniform”

    Yep a statue with a great arm although in terms of pure arm strength and throwing ability I give the edge to Marino, in terms of leadership and other intangibles Brady wins hands down. Bottom line is that the Dolphin OL was in the mid teens as far as pass protection last year and that was for a mobile QB. IF the Dolphins are going to grab Brady their first two draft picks better be OL.

    BTW Vlad…there is a great series on Netflix right now about the Ottoman Empire. Season two is about your boy Vlad Dracula aka Vlad the Impaler.
    If you watch it you may wish to change your handle..Vlad was such a ghoul he makes Hitler look wishy washy. His HORRORS are the reason we remember him as Vlad “The Impaler” and the reason the name Dracula was given to the blood sucking vampires.

    @D.R. As always a very informed post and I largely agree with your analysis.
    Realizing that we must “learn” from our mistakes I get the venting that’s going on here at JBF.

    I OTOH am ready to move on. Let’s talk about the future.

    Here’s the problem D.R. People keep saying the Bucs are in cap hell without even knowing what the next cap will be. I read many articles proclaiming the new TV deal is set to blow the cap up and the increase will be significant.

    Since you’re our JBF “capologist” I’m curious as to your thoughts about the ACTUAL cap going forward.

  35. NEfan Says:

    DR, the Bucs lost Gronk, Suh (replaced by Hicks), Hainsley handled his own so all that was missing was a left guard. Agreed Shaq was a loss but he and LVD got hurt last season and JPP was toast. The secondary got stronger but still sucked no different than prior 2 seasons and AB was tossed mid season. The Bucs D has always been plagued with injuries and the oline was a skeleton by the Rams PO game, yet if not for Turd Bowls poor play call they would have returned to the SB.

    The way I look at it is Bowles made changes that didn’t work for this team and if Bowles and BA had a backroom handshake to keep BL, well that’s on Bowles to. This was not a talent issue or aging problem this is like a bad match up, Bowles is the square peg, BA’s team was the round hole.

    Poor game plans, schemes, adjustments both sides of the ball, poor in game and of field management = poor results.

  36. Tony Says:

    Maybe they can trade Bowles & Licht?😀

  37. Beeej Says:

    Was watching Eagles do to the Giants what they WOULD have done to us. Amazing the push they got from their O line. I probably could have gotten 4 yards a carry behind those guys. Very innovative play calling TOO

  38. NEfan Says:

    I would say the Raiders were the .ost underachieving team this season.

  39. HC Grover Says:

    Coach is morphing in to a Lovie Clone.

  40. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    I love the Bucs, but honestly feel that they are worse than they think they are.
    NFL stands for “Not For Long” and other teams have caught up and surpassed us.
    WE just are not as good as we thought we were.
    The Dallas game was a case in point, we could not manage ANY Pass Rush unless we did corner blitzes, and Prescott made us pay for it.
    Yes, I know Shaq is hurt, but still, we should have had SOME kind of pass rush.

  41. NEfan Says:

    Chris, the Dak bootleg is the perfect example of poor coaching and lack of preparation. EVERYTIME you line up in a goalline the players on the edge are responsible for containment protecting from a bootleg, reverse, quick pitch or some other outside play. The coaches always scream this out or should prior to the snap.

  42. Your Mom Says:

    How about Bowles being unable to inspire/correct Devin White? White seemed repeatedly like he didn’t want to be here.

  43. Buc1987 Says:

    SB~LV…newsflash…Bowles is coming back.

  44. Jeff’s grandpa Says:

    At least the fans that always complain and want to get rid of everyone will be back to there regularly scheduled bitching and moaning by October of every season

  45. TombsEN Says:

    Have some of you all just started watching football??? I think Bowles is of the mindset that he will tolerate you until he can replace you. Give him time before you all want to run him off, and you all do realize that even if we beat the rams last year there was still another game to play. Back away from and ledge, let the off-season play out and see where we’re at. Just because a head coach failed at a previous stop doesn’t mean he can’t be a successful coach.

  46. TombsEN Says:

    Also, Bowles was stuck with BL, expecting him to fire BL during the season and the offense turning around is asinine, this is Madden. You don’t install new playbooks during a bye and just start winning. Name one franchise that has done that, that went on to win a superbowl let alone playoff game. I wish there was a board where rational fans could talk about this team, instead of having to sift through the “trash” to see good well thought out comments.

  47. Rod Munch Says:

    Said it all year, but go loss by loss during the regular season — BUT put Arians back in at head coach, and what is this team’s record?

    It sounds insane to say it, but 15-2.

    Again, go loss by loss, and tell me what games are the Bucs losing if they didn’t have the 2-headed loser monster coaching this team…

    They’d have lost the KC game and the SF game, during the regular season, that’s it. They weren’t losing to GB, to Pittsburgh, to Cleveland, to Carolina, to Baltimore, to Cinny.

    If you want to argue on a game or two, OK, I’ll take it, I’ll give you 2 games, now they’re 13-4.

    That’s the difference good coaching makes, and literally everyone knows that Bowles and Leftwich are trash coaches and the team is doomed while they’re here. That’s also why Brady isn’t coming back.

  48. Rod Munch Says:

    TombsEN Says:
    January 22nd, 2023 at 11:44 am
    Also, Bowles was stuck with BL, expecting him to fire BL during the season and the offense turning around is asinine, this is Madden. You don’t install new playbooks during a bye and just start winning.


    I agree that Bowles was stuck with Leftwich, and I don’t think he had any say in it, but you had three former NFL OC’s on the staff who already knew the playbook. The playbook wasn’t the issue, the issue was the idiot calling the plays since he was insanely predictable and made zero adjustments. When people as dumb as those in this comment section, and sit there during the game and call out plays before Leftwich ran them, that tells you everything.

    I don’t know if Bowles would have fired Leftwich during the season if he had the authority to do so, but I don’t think Bowles would have hired Leftwich in the first place, as I do not believe Bowles thinks much of Leftwich based on his comments and the general look of disdain he had whenever he was forced to answer about Leftwich’s stupid play calling. Also, other sites have reported that Bowles actually went to Leftwich and encouraged him to open up the playbook more, run some fresh concepts, and was rebuffed.

    With that said, I absolutely do not think Bowles is a good coach, but I do know he will be better without Leftwich.

  49. alton d green Says:

    this is a little off subject but i read this morning that the NFL fined Brady for “tripping” in the Dallas game. What the frick????? isn’t that what the penalty for tripping is for??? It took a few minutes to realize this> This has Goodell’s stank all over it. He hates Brady and Brady hates him. This started because Goodell was made to look like a dumba^& child during the “deflategate” horse crap. The NFL reminds me of the Left going after Trump hahaha By the way do y’all know what Goodell’s salary is? It’s over $40 million and this was several yrs ago In my 6 decades of watching I’ve never heard of a fine for tripping. I think they should have made him sit in the corner for 10 seconds

  50. alton d green Says:

    BTW the fine was a little over $16,000

  51. Hodad Says:

    At least we’re the best at something.

  52. Allbuccedup Says:

    When Rex Ryan said the Bucs were old and slow he was not only referring to their age but modern football has passed this team by in two years they need a younger thinking not necessarily in age but coaching. The days of 3 yards and a cloud of dust are gone.

  53. Carl L Says:

    Hiring and keeping a Head Coach with a losing record expects to lose a lot of games. Having a inside linebacker on defense Secretary that gets involved in 2-3 plays a game gauarantees losing games.

  54. Cobraboy Says:

    Fix the cap.

    If it means Bowles manages the tank, fine with me.

    Just don’t tell us the team is “re-loading.” That’s horsepucky.

    Just don’t get Trask (or Gabbart) killed.

  55. ScottyMack Says:

    Not sure if I would go that far – only because there are arguments to be made for other underachieving teams that were as much or more underwhelming vs. their pre-season predictions. To name a few …

    Rams, Colts, Cardinals, Raiders, Broncos, Packers, Saints, Titans.

    Yeah, the Bucs were underachieving but they had a whole lot of competition as far as crowning them the “most” goes!

  56. sasquatch Says:

    What idiot wants to trade Evans? That’s fookin’ crazy. Evans + Godwin is still one of the best 1-2 receiver combo, especially if we can get a decent O-coordinator.

    I’d trade Devin White in a heartbeat, cuz there’s no way I’d be planning to pay him what he’s certainly going to be looking for next year.

    We have a lot of work to do to put together a decent roster next year.

  57. FlBoy84 Says:

    If Brady moves on as expected, actually fine with giving Trask a shot, along with any other cheap competition they feel comfortable with. Let’s face it, Trask’s development hasn’t been the focus/priority since his arrival, ’23 is def the year to see what he can do with proper coaching. After the season we just witnessed, don’t believe the Glazers and Licht are blind to the fact that Bowles is completely out-of-his-depth as a HC and are simply keeping him in place to man the helm during a lost year where they reset the roster and bite the bullet on the salary cap. Def not a situation that you want to bring a new HC into, but do believe whatever OC that’s hire has a high probability to be promoted once Bowles is jettisoned either during or after the ’23 season. Would prefer O’Brien, but Reich or Monken would be viable candidates as well. The end of the Bowles era can’t come soon enough though.

  58. Tony Says:

    I would’ve drafted Josh Allen over Devin White from the beginning.

  59. Tony Says:


    We’d trade Evans to bring Antonio back.😀

  60. Tony Says:


    Donovan is somebody I would’ve let go by now, too! I would’ve let him walk after he became a FA the first time. I’m really surprised Brady hasn’t punched him by now.

  61. Rod Munch Says:

    sasquatch Says:
    January 22nd, 2023 at 1:49 pm
    What idiot wants to trade Evans? That’s fookin’ crazy. Evans + Godwin is still one of the best 1-2 receiver combo, especially if we can get a decent O-coordinator.


    Certainly, currently that is the case. But the Bucs aren’t going to be competitive for years. In 3 years is Evans still going to be a top 10, top 20 WR? It’s doubtful. In the teamtime, with Trask at QB, the Bucs are going to be competing for the worst team in football. If the Packers came to the Bucs, said they’d give up a 1st and 3rd for Evans, you’d have to listen.

    With that said, I don’t think you’d get that great of a return on Evans because of his age and just the way the NFL works, people love their lottery tickets. Also, to be clear I’m not for trading him at all. But I understand the talk.

  62. Rod Munch Says:

    BTW, here’s what the Dolphins turned that Tunsil trade into….

    Johnson Bademosi
    Julién Davenport
    Noah Igbinoghene
    Solomon Kindley
    Jaylen Waddle
    Jevon Holland
    Tyreek Hill
    Channing Tindall
    Erik Ezukanma
    2023 first-round pick

    You might know some of those names. That’s why you’d listen to anything. Doesn’t mean you’d do it, but you always listen.

  63. Wild Bill Says:

    The short version. The defense was very decent. The offense, including Brady, sucked. If you can’t score points you lose. If you can’t dominate time of possession you lose.