30 years ago in 1983- John McKay makes a fateful decision to pay attention to preseason

This article was submitted by our regular and smart guy, Rook. Take a walk down memory lane and let us know your thoughts!

Most fans know that preseason especially after the starters go out is the battle between the future cab drivers and slurpee salesman vs the guy who makes special teams tackles on punt and kick returns. Yes occasionally somebody rises out of the ashes to become a starter but we are talking about what happens in most cases. 

In 1983, the Bucs lost Doug Williams to free agency in the USFL because Culverhouse was a cheap no good bastard whose own son Hugh Jr believes his dad is wailing and gnashing his teeth in hell.

The Bucs gave up a king’s ransom by giving the Bengals their first round pick for the Throwing Samoan. The Bucs had a backup already on the roster by the name of Jerry Golsteyn. He was a stiff. A monumental stiff who was a 12th round pick out of Northern Illinois. He completed less than 50 percent of his passes in his first three years ad had 2 TD passes and 9 interceptions. He was also booted from the NFL for two years and was playing for the Orlando Renegades for a league that was far weaker than Arena Football.

When the Bucs in 1982 signed Golsteyn, my brother in New York called me up and derisively laughed at my Bucs for signing this guy. When after a great preseason, Golsteyn beat Jack Thompson out for the starting job, my brother said the Bucs will regret the day this guy starts.


This is the preseason I believed changed on how I looked at preseason games.


What you will see in the 1983 Bucpower preseason games compiled by Buccaneer fan Paul Stewart was that Jerry Golsteyn was a stud. He took a Bucs team down 17-0 and led them to a 20-17 win. The following week he led a game winning TD with a win against the Oilers. In the win against the Falcons Thompson was 3 for 11 while Golsteyn was clearly the more effective QB. The last preseason game, Golsteyn played with the first team and slaughtered Steve Grogan’s Patriots giving the Bucs a undefeated preseason.

Golsteyn is named starter. Optimism is running high. Doug Who? signs are all over Tampa stadium as the Mighty Bucs, a playoff team in 3 of the last 4 year with two division titles, were going to kick ass and take names. Instead the Bucs got their ass kicked and their names taken on a long double digit loss spiral.

The lions game is a nightmare. The defense plays its ass off but the offense is shut out in a 11-0 loss. Golsteyn is sacked for a safety. A defensive tackle named William Gay gets 5.5 sacks in one game. The following week with score tied 10-10 against the Bears, Golsteyn throws a pick 6 that is the difference in the game in a 17-10 loss. He does not play again until Thompson is knocked out for a game. Golsteyn loses to the Bears 27-0.

In three starts, Goldsteyn produced 10 points, 3 losses, threw zero TD passes, had two shutouts and a game losing pick 6 which turned out to be his best game as a Buccaneer. Now John McKay knew more about football than my brother and probably all of us combined at whatthebuc.net. Yet he chose to believe what he saw in preseason instead of looking at why Jerry Golsteyn had been booted from the NFL. Admitted Jack Thompson was not a good QB but he was miles ahead of Jerry Golsteyn.

I will be the first to say that Mike Glennon is not Jerry Golsteyn. However Golsteyn unlike Glennon had reps against first stringers and had started NFL games in the past. He was a known quality which made it inconceivable that a Coach like McKay could be so badly fool by pre-season success. Josh Freeman is not Jack Thompson or I would not be defending him. But to put stock in preseason especially at the QB position where one guys plays two series with the starters and the other guy against scrubs, is a recipe for disaster. Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.


"Here's to good memories, ounce by ounce." --Matt Westerman Currently hosting an Internet Radio/TV show called "What the Buc?" covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers! We are having a blast and would love to get feedback from you folks on it.

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