“In A Room Of Stiffs”

February 10th, 2023

Ira Kaufman in the face of Bucs safeties coach Nick Rapone.

The blasting and insulting of JoeBucsFan.com columnist and Pro Football Hall of Fame selector Ira Kaufman on social media over the past few years has been misguided and borderline disgusting.

Kaufman was hammered by a sect of Bucs fans convinced Kaufman had no clue how to work the room of 48 other Hall presenters to get enough votes for Rondé Barber and John Lynch to become Hall of Famers.

Barber was named to the Hall last night, one of the five modern day players to be enshrined among the 15 finalists. So 10 former superstars went home unhappy like Barber did the past two years.

Kaufman has now made winning presentations for six Hall of Famers since 2011: Tony Dungy, Ed Sabol, Warren Sapp, Derrick Brooks, John Lynch and Barber. Good luck finding Hall presenters with that kind of track record.

Hell, Joe knows of presenters who seek Ira’s assistance with their presentations. But still, the haters hammered away.

The Kaufman bashers were infuriated by a brief video snippet circulated by the Hall years ago of Kaufman presenting Lynch.

The cut, maybe 15 percent of Kaufman’s presentation, was viewed as boring and something out of the 20th century. Never mind the audience was the Hall panel largely comprised of grizzled and cranky media types, people with no interest in sizzle, grandstanding or ESPN-style hype. The Kaufman haters thought he looked like a juice-less running back well past his prime and averaging two yards a carry.

Meanwhile, Kaufman was presenting to the audience, not to fans. Massive difference.

As WFLA-TV sports chief and Bucs preseason sideline reporter Dan Lucas wrote on Twitter five weeks ago.

“I wish people would give Ira Kaufman a break. The guy hears about this hall of fame stuff and it’s a heck of a lot more complicated than people think,” Lucas began. “First year ballot guys change, position guys change. I’ll take Ira in a room of stiffs, lobbying for Rondé Barber, over anybody.”

Yeah, “room of stiffs” is insulting, but it was very appropriate and a great Lucas illustration of what Kaufman’s job has been over the years.

The presentation is made to that audience. It was never for fan entertainment or approval.

Over the past 12 hours, Joe has enjoyed seeing Kaufman get defended on social media after Barber got the Hall call last night. It won’t make up for years of Kaufman being called too old, too out of touch and desperately in need of replacing at the Hall of Fame. But it felt nice.

For those wondering, Kaufman is not giving up his spot as the only Hall presenter representing the Tampa Bay area. He also serves on the Hall’s prestigious senior committee.

What about former Bucs edge rusher Simeon Rice, some fans ask? If Rice can make it to the finalist stage (only once was he a semifinalist), then he’d become eligible for a presentation to voters. Until then, it’s out of Kaufman’s hands.

And if Rice becomes a finalist, don’t bet against Kaufman.

Below is a list of the 2023 Hall finalists who didn’t get in — and whose presenters are probably being blasted in their home cities this morning.

  • Jared Allen, DE
  • Willie Anderson, OT
  • Dwight Freeney, DE
  • Devin Hester, PR/KR/WR
  • Torry Holt, WR
  • Andre Johnson, WR
  • Albert Lewis, CB
  • Reggie Wayne, WR
  • Patrick Willis, LB
  • Darren Woodson, S

36 Responses to ““In A Room Of Stiffs””

  1. mark2001 Says:

    I never bashed Ira on this. It was a hard sell, having three from that team in already. I just wonder if they hadn’t been able to showcase their talents in the playoffs and SB, if it would have happened? Paul Gruber was a great O lineman on habitually bad teams. If he had been on that team, I just have to wonder….

  2. Nicholas Carlson Says:

    Great job, Ira!

  3. Frank Pillow Says:

    It was never about Ira. The man is a treasure and his record speaks for itself. Don’t forget, this place has been (and will likely be again) football Siberia. ITA’s efforts to enshrine our grisly band of great Buccaneers is nothing short of heroic.

  4. YucsBall Says:

    Go Ronde, Go Bucs

  5. mark2001 Says:

    Just think of what a selling job he had to do with the politics in the league, and the fact that he already got three guys in from the same team. A herculean fact. And BTW… Ira is so old, he probably knew Hercules personally. They probably double dated driving their chariot powered vehicles…before Bill Currie Ford existed.

  6. SKBucsFan Says:

    Someone may have bashed Ira in the heat of the moment. But he is only one guy working a room of journalists. Unless he has a cooler of free beer and holding a plate of sandwiches most guys wouldn’t see a need to chat with him.

    Good job HOF voters. You got it right this time!

  7. Joe Says:

    Just think of what a selling job he had to do with the politics in the league, and the fact that he already got three guys in from the same team. A herculean fact.

    Even more:

    Albert Lewis was in the final year of eligibility. Most selectors give a guy a sympathy vote to get them in with those circumstances. Ira overcame that with Barber. That’s a helluva sales job.

    Joe has heard from too many selectors who told him Ira is among the best if not the best presenter in that room. The politics are unreal, however.

    For example, maybe eight years ago Joe was speaking with a selector at the Super Bowl and Joe told the guy that Ira was nervous about finding enough votes for John Lynch that particular year. The guy’s response? “He (Ira) ought to be!” Meaning this guy and several others were not big on Lynch.

  8. VATom Says:

    Ive seen a few posts bashing IRA. But they seem mostly like troll posts trying to fire up reactions. There are a few accounts here that seem to talk to themselves by using numerous alias’s. How can any serious fan not appreciate Ira? He’s been a steadfast go to on Bucs info for decades. You guys were brilliant to get him on board, and the podcast is great

  9. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I hear all of this continued clamoring for Simeon Rice for the HOF….

    Not meant to be a smart-a$$ question…..but why has he not been awarded the Bucs Ring of Honor?

  10. Rosadog Says:

    Congrats to Ronde! Online trolls only have nuts … online! Don’t sweat the tools.

    Devin Hester needs in, from that list. Guy was a dominant game changer… regardless of position. IMO that is the criteria for the HOF.

  11. Winny Testaverde Says:

    Ira aka The Brooklyn Bruiser has done an excellent job getting Bucs into the Hall. Purebred ( lifetime ) Bucs like Brooks and Barber are extra special.

    I give Ira a ton of credit for reinventing himself after the fish wraps became mostly irrelevant as well. His addition at JBF has been a great one for all parties involved.

  12. Diverdo Says:

    Ira is true jewel of Tampa Bay. A great writer and commentator who always speaks from know. Keep it up Ira, you are the best.

  13. SB~LV Says:

    Gesssh Joyz let it go
    Kauf can handle the heat

  14. WillieG Says:

    What about Mike Alstott, this fan asks?
    6 Pro Bowls
    3 time All Pro
    Redefined a position

    What am I missing? Why is not in the conversation?

  15. Stormy Says:

    The entertainment value alone of a Simeon Rice ‘Ring of honor speech’ would be awesome!

    No telling where that guy would go with it….

  16. SB~LV Says:

    Why isn’t
    in the ROH ??????

  17. Bosch Says:

    That is an impressive track record. Ira is a great ambassador of the Bucs organization.

  18. D-Rome Says:

    I didn’t realize bashing Ira Kaufman on social media over his inductions speeches was a thing. They are losers.

    I seem to recall that one year when John Lynch didn’t get in some other sports reporter made a specific effort to sway voters away from voting for Lynch. Some kind of printout left on their seats or something.

  19. Garv Says:

    Great job Ira! Appreciate your work very much. You are valued by those who matter. The rest? Uninformed dullards. Pay em no mind.

  20. Gackrider Says:

    Ira’s gotten so many Bucs into the hall he should be in the ring of honor

  21. mark2001 Says:

    If I was in Tampa, I’d buy Ira a Bromosa to congratulate him on the fruits of his labor Or maybe a Rueben sandwich. But since I’m nearly thousands of miles away, one of you other guys will have to pick that up for me. Maybe Joe will?

  22. mark2001 Says:

    Wouldn’t it be nice if Derrick, Warren, John, and Ronde, all took Ira out for a Bromosa and a Rueben sandwich. Wouldn’t it be great to be sitting at the table next to them, listening in? The stories….

  23. Duane Says:

    Congrats to Ronde. Incredible job by the Sage. A room full of stiffs dont want to talk about the Bucs, and Ira consistently brings it with a track record of success. May his Reuben sandwiches be given freely from this day forth!

  24. PewterStiffArm Says:

    Get off of Ira’s back, you can only do so much on a measured presentation. He has amazing experience and people respect him. He is a main stay in the Tampa Bay area especially when it come to the Buc’s. I haven’t lived in Tampa since 2009 but the goobers still try their best but never manage to steal thunder from Mr. Ira Kaufman. Keep on working it Ira, many people appreciate you, including this transplant North Carolinian.

  25. matthew veal Says:

    Ira really is outstanding.
    Also, he helps joe to be top notch.

    Sorry about tge earful

  26. TexasBuc 1976 Says:

    Love Ira. Great to have him as one of the Bucs faithful. Smart, funny, insightful.

  27. Arians4President Says:

    Congrats Ira!!

  28. DFW Buc Says:

    Long time coming and well deserved. I’ve always enjoyed Ronde. One of my favorite gifts from my wife is a signed Ronde Barber jersey. Way to go Ira.

  29. Goatfarmer Says:

    Ira for OC!

    Ira for HC!

  30. LongSeason Says:

    Ira Kaufman is a great presenter. Truth is, year in and year out, competition for the limited ‘Five’ modern day players makes it difficult. There are always first year eligible players considered as must be first ballot enshrinees. Seems like year-over year there are always several that are pushing others out of the way. They were that good, so it’s ‘justifried’.
    Rondé is in. That’s what matters. Maybe it took too long. But he is there. Congratulations to Rondé . One of the nicest guys to play the game.
    Trivia: What year had the most inductees into the PFHOF?

  31. Will Says:

    Congrats to Rondé and great job Ira!!

    Wow on Hester not getting in that guy was great back there returning kicks and punts. To me a kickoff or punt return to the house is one of if not the prettiest and scariest things to watch in football. Too bad our Bucs can’t find someone who can do it well and make teams scared to kick to us.

  32. Darin Says:

    No wonder people blast people. I guess some of you guys really listen to it. Look into the psychology of why people do it and you won’t give a sh!t anymore. Great job Ira!

  33. mark2001 Says:

    Don’t know if you all watch the Ira/Joe podcast, but Ira seems to be under the weather with Covid. But he still mounted the strength to give the word on Ronde. I guess rain, nor sleet. nor snow, nor disease, stop a good seasoned reporter from doing his job. Hope you are doing better, Ira.

  34. mark2001 Says:

    Or maybe I should say “News Professional”. I really don’t know the title, but maybe we should call Ira the “mailman” when it comes to HOF presentations. He is the Karl Malone of presenters.

  35. mark2001 Says:

    Ira “the mailman” delivers again. Another HOF inductee delivered.

  36. Tony1775 Says:

    Joe who cares