Changing The Calculus

February 18th, 2023

Click on through to shop at Bill Currie Ford GM Sean Sullivan is ready to help you PERSONALLY and give you the Ira Kaufman discount. Just ask!


Before Tom Brady came along, the Bucs were a franchise for the ages.

The Dark Ages.

It wasn’t very long ago when this team was in the midst of a 12-year playoff drought, encompassing all or part of the regimes of Jon Gruden, Raheem Morris, Greg Schiano, Lovie Smith, Dirk Koetter and Bruce Arians.

Tampa Bay was an afterthought on the NFL map. Even before the schedule would come out in April, it was a safe bet you’d find most Buc games on Sunday afternoons, 1 p.m. kickoff.

You could set your watch by it. The Bucs would come on right after FOX’s pre-game show with Howie, Terry and the gang. Good luck getting a mention as the panel spun around the NFC.

In the 10 years before Brady arrived in 2020, Tampa Bay averaged 11 starts per season at 1 p.m. The Bucs made only 14 appearances on prime time during that span and Raymond James Stadium was hardly considered a tough ticket on fall Sundays.

That’s the way it was.

Head coaches would come and go, along with quarterbacks, coordinators and draft busts. The Bucs had a lease in the NFC South basement and national talk show hosts had nothing good to say about this club — when they mentioned the Bucs at all.

Then it all changed in the stroke of a pen. Brady was a Buc and suddenly those 1 p.m. starts were limited to an average of seven games per season. In the past three years, the Bucs made 14 appearances in prime time — matching their total from the entire previous decade.

It’s certainly been a marvelous ride, filled with success and relevance. The Glazers found themselves all-in because how could you not be with No. 12 under center? The Bucs spent a lot of money and Jason Licht cashed in at draft time with studs like Tristan Wirfs and Antoine Winfield Jr.

Add in some smart free-agent signings and you had the ingredients for a championship club. Now, the calculus has to be different.

An even tougher coaching job lies ahead for Todd Bowles.

Brady is delving into other ventures and Todd Bowles will greet a younger team in training camp, a faster club with a coaching staff entirely of his choosing. He won’t have Brady to set the tone, but he also won’t have the expectations that come with No. 12.

The Bucs are returning to the NFL shadows, at least for a while.

This will be a necessary reset, necessary because bills have come due and the only quarterback under contract has attempted all of nine passes as a pro.

GM Jason Licht shouldn’t need a three-year plan to compete, writes Ira Kaufman.

This reboot doesn’t have to last long. If the Bucs do this right and get a little fortunate, those prime-time games could return quickly, with Brady commenting on former teammates from the FOX broadcast booth.

You start at the quarterback position because that’s what history dictates. Find an elite quarterback and you’re relevant. Find an elite quarterback and you’re interesting. Find an elite quarterback and you’re competitive.

If he’s young, even better.

Tampa Bay fans know what it’s like to root for teams whose playoff dreams are shattered by Thanksgiving Day. That’s when you start thinking about a draft that’s five months away. This community is on a first-name basis with obscurity and we don’t want to return to the days of bore.

Sunday kickoffs at 1 p.m. are convenient for traffic patterns and getting back home in time for dinner, But it also means you’re an NFL dud, stuck in the mud with the Bears, Commanders, Cardinals and the rest of your compatriots in the NFC South.

Prepare for obscurity. Use it as motivation. Jobs and ticket sales are on the line.

We’ve seen the good times and we certainly know the bad times.

Find a quarterback to build around and all this apprehension will disappear — along with those dreaded 1 p.m. starts.

Yes, that warranty includes USED vehicles!
Ira drives a 2020 Ford Escape (cherry red).

10 Responses to “Changing The Calculus”

  1. Voice of Truth Says:

    September and early October games at RayJay with 1pm kickoffs is like a hot yoga class with 50k or so of your closest friends

    Nothing like the aroma of drunk on miller lite fans sweltering in the Florida sun

    Or rubbing legs with the 400 pounder scrunched in next to you for 3 hours

    A return to the torture chamber is our sentence for the Brady experience

  2. Jvato24 Says:

    But the Bucs shifted to 4pm September home games even when Jameis was here

  3. Brian Says:

    Kendon Hooker

  4. John Sinclear Says:

    Sorry Ira, but I prefer the 1 PM starts. That way I get to see the entire game, not just maybe the first half.

  5. unbelievable Says:

    Build an o-line that get open holes for a running back, and whoever you put in at QB has a much better chance at succeeding.

    We’re prob gonna stink this year. The real test of Licht will be in 2024.

  6. Goatfarmer Says:

    Ira, you are the greatest. Two things —

    1. The club will get faster? How is that? Who?

    2. Calculus isn’t something a Bowels coached team can do. Heck they can’t even do simple arithmetic. They’d not know how to do their assignment if it was “Solve for the blank: 2 + __ = 4.”

  7. Nicholas Carlson Says:

    Aren’t about 28 teams also looking for elite quarterbacks?

  8. mark2001 Says:

    Newsflash… sounds like Ira doesn’t necessarily think that Trask might be an elite franchise QB. But the Suzy sunshine’s are sure he will lead us to glory. Hope they are right.

  9. Mike S Says:

    Ira, love you man but we have no chance with Bowles coaching this team – zero, none.

    Oh and tell us what elite QB is going to walk through that door with this coaching staff and this cap situation?


    Its not happening.

  10. Goatfarmer Says:

    I’m still wondering how the team gets faster in 2023 thank it was in 2022. Amphetamines?

    Hey, Mark2001, careful about implied negativity. There are people very annoyed about looking at reality and discussing it bluntly. I am guilty, so I’m taking up a new leaf of anti-negativity, Trask will be great…..because we hope so! Even though he hasn’t played well enough to even get on the practice field (probably because Bowels only runs one field, surely because….it’s too hard to see what goes on with three fields?)

    He is going to blossom. All flower do eventually. Except the ones that don’t. But right now it’s offseason and time for lights at end of tunnels!