There has been a debate raging on the artist formerly known as twitter about what the Buccaneers should do at this point. Should the Bucs tank for a better draft pick or try to win the NFC South? It should be noted if any fanbase has reached this point, it is rock bottom. Regardless, it is an interesting quandary. I have never really believed in the idea of an entire NFL team tanking, but there have been cases where it seems like the coaches made decisions to make the team worse. Hell, Sean Payton accused the Bucs of doing that in 2014 for Jameis Winston in week 17. Let’s assume that the Bucs were capable of purposefully losing every single game from here on out.
I want to remove one variable from this equation. A lot of people assume that the tanking will lead to Todd Bowles being fired. In my opinion, he’s gone whether the team wins out or not. The one thing that Bowles should be doing well is on defense. And the defense stinks right now.
The #Bucs are 15th in offensive EPA/play this season, 13th in dropback EPA/play. Their offense isn't great, but it's solid and improving.
Their defense is 27th in EPA/play this season, and 32nd in dropback EPA/play. Their defense is horrible, and getting worse.
— Jon Ledyard (@LedyardNFLDraft) November 28, 2023
That more than anything will ensure his swift departure after the season. So, this tanking scenario should only account for draft pick and something else I will touch on later.
It is something I have wondered about. Because I have never really been in on this team making a super deep playoff run. I thought back when they looked solid their ceiling was losing in the Divisional Round. Now, if they somehow make it to the playoffs, they are one and done. So, what would be the point of making it? Well, because anything can happen in the playoffs. Random teams can get hot or maybe benefit from just being healthier than the other guys. The phrase any given Sunday exists because any team in the NFL can win. This isn’t the NCAA where Jackson State is playing Alabama to get blown out by 70. Would it be unlikely? God yes, but making the playoffs is an achievement, even in a shit division.
The other reason losing out on purpose would be bad is that this team would look very unappealing for players. I refuse to accept that Mike Evans would want to resign for a team that just decided to lose. Guys like Antoine Winfield and Tristan Wirfs are also in contract years and probably wouldn’t come back to a team with a losing culture. Let’s assume the Bucs somehow get their way to the number one pick. Do you think Caleb Williams or even Drake Maye would want to be the QB for this team? They would pull an Eli Manning so fast. Or, to make it more relevant to this team, a Bo Jackson.
Losing out is not anyway to root for a football team. I get the frustration for what this team is doing. But to say the Bucs should tank would be extremely bad. Other FAs would stay away from a team willing to promote such a losing culture, unless the Buccaneers overpaid them. I’m going to do what I always do and cheer for my team to win.
Make sure you check out Devin’s blog at cannoncrunch.wordpress.com.