Can New Bucs QB Jameis Winston Win Over His Critics?

NFL NEWS: Jameis Winston

Shortly after the Bucs selected FSU QB Jameis Winston first overall pick, he tweeted his celebration “meal.”

He deleted the tweet shortly afterward apparently self-aware that Crab-gate still haunts him particularly from his biggest critics.

So suffice it to say, he’s probably the most controversial first overall pick in Bucs history. Much of what I’ve observed particularly on social media was a mix of praise and “drawing their lines in the sand” when Winston was picked.

Want to serve some reminders who “suddenly” developed a conscience over what the team’s done in its past or didn’t know about it at all.

  • What would the fanbase’s reaction of Warren Sapp‘s drafting in 1995 if Twitter or Facebook were around given his off-field issues?
  • When head coach Jon Gruden signed Jerramy Stevens in 2007, how many people realized the record on him? Where was the mass exodus of fans due to his off-field issues?
  • In the franchise’s near 40 years in existence, the team’s suffered 26 losing seasons, 23 of those at double-digits and reaching 14 losses five times. This includes as recently as last season.
  • In seven years, the team’s had four different head coaches from Gruden, Raheem Morris, Greg Schiano and now Lovie Smith. The last coach to have a playoff appearance was Gruden in 2007.
  • The team didn’t re-sign Sapp, released John Lynch and Derrick Brooks, which were the core of the Tampa 2 defense that lead to the team’s victory in Super Bowl XXXVII. All three were let go for nothing which many of the fans repaid the Glazers causing major fan upheaval.
  • Among the team’s worst draft decisions – Drafting Bo Jackson first overall in 1986 when he made his intentions clear he didn’t want to play for the team. Drafting Dexter Jackson, wide receiver from Appalachian State in the second round in the 2008 draft.

Too many of the fans though, drafting Winston was the move that was the last straw…

So as much work Smith and Winston have to make this franchise relevant again, here are a few things Winston can do to help against his detractors and become the positive influence he can be in the community.

  • Keep a low profile.
  • Win some games.
  • Make the playoffs.
  • Let his play do all the talking for him.

I can see where many can be put off by his confidence and attitude which may believe it’s brazen and to a fault. In time, the more successful he is, the more community service he’s doing, eventually the fans will come around.

Obviously the rape allegations will always follow him around no matter what the result is, but most will allow the legal process to play itself out even if it’s a civil suit.

To those who are quitting the team over principal just because of Winston, well you’re clearly not been paying attention enough to the team’s history, much less the league’s history of dealing with such issues.

Suffice it to say, quitting over Winston is quite petty and you really have to ask yourself why you’re even a fan.

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About Tom

Tom Chang is a freelance journalist with a background in multimedia journalism and web publishing. He is currently pursuing his Masters in Journalism and Media Studies from the University of South Florida St.Petersburg. He graduated in 2004 with a Bachelors Degree in Mass Communications at USF Tampa. Tom's interests include a little bit of everything from entertainment to sports. He also wishes to delve into creative writing writing sci-fi/fantasy stories. Tom was recently the Online Editor for USF St. Petersburg's the Crow's Nest, he joined the staff in January 2010 where he started freelance writing, photographing, copy editing and later became a staff writer. Tom’s freelance experience in journalism amassed a wide range of companies including Creative Loafing, The Focus Magazine, Lutz News, Examiner.com, and Tampa Tribune.
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