FAB 4. Thank You, Big Dog

There is a chance that some of you reading this SR’s Fab 5 column today first heard about Buccaneer Magazine and BucMag.com, which later became Pewter Report magazine and PewterReport.com, by first listening to me on WDAE 620 AM with afternoon host Steve Duemig on Wednesdays during Bucs football season.

We did a show together for 11 years from 1999-2009 called “The Buccaneer Blitz” from 5:00 – 6:00 p.m. and had a lot of fun talking Buccaneers football and even getting into some heated on-air disagreements along the way.

After all, I was on with “The Big Dog,” who had some bite to go along with that loud bark.

WDAE legendary sports radio host Steve Duemig
WDAE legendary sports radio host Steve Duemig – Photo courtesy of WDAE

Duemig played a huge role in helping to grow our audience of magazine subscribers and online visitors for over a decade, and for that I am absolutely thankful. I shared that with him after we parted ways as an on-air tandem, and again after he was diagnosed with a brain tumor just a few years ago. I liked the fact that he wanted to take some credit for my success, and I was happy to give it to him.

We were friends.

He was there at Champps when my ex-wife and I invited our parents to dinner at 6:00 p.m. right as I got off air at the WDAE radio remote to announce that we were expecting our daughter, Ellie. Duemig, who has a daughter, Jill, shed a happy tear for me at our dinner when we broke the news. Although he was 17 years old than me, we had some things in common, including a special place in heart for our little girls.

You see “The Big Dog” was really a big softie, and he would hate for me to tell you that – like I’m revealing a superhero’s true identity – but it was the truth. He was a good friend and he was fiercely loyal.

I not only remember our on-air conversations, but also the off-air conversations we would have during long commercial breaks in-studio or outside on one of his smoke breaks. Those were the best, as we would speak freely and exchange inside scoop on the Bucs – saying things confidentially that we couldn’t say on-air.

Like friends, we had some spats. He hated the flack he caught from Bucs fans who listened to him and ripped him on the PewterReport.com message boards – absolutely hated it! It put me in a pickle at times because Duemig wanted some of those comments removed, and yet I had to let my readers speak their mind. Some of you guys really tormented him!

Remember when I said “The Big Dog” was really a big softie? Well, he had some of the thinnest skin you could imagine, which went completely counter to his on-air persona as this tough-talking radio broadcaster. Kinda crazy, right?

Bucs fans
Bucs fans celebrate a playoff win vs. the 49ers – Photo by: Getty Images

The reason why Duemig had thin skin is because he was really a caring guy. He was from Philly, but pledged allegiance to the Buccaneers, Lightning and Rays, and suggested – almost demanded – that Northern transplants living in Tampa do the same and surrender their past allegiances and become followers of the hometown teams. He cared about this area a lot.

Remember when I said he was fiercely loyal? Duemig LOVED Tampa Bay sports, and he loved the fact that he was one of the first, as well as being one of the longest and best ambassadors of the Tampa Bay sports community, first with Sports Radio 910 AM WFNS and then with WDAE 620 AM The Sports Animal.

You didn’t want Duemig as your enemy because of the power of his afternoon drive-time show because there was a time when it seemed just about every sports fan in town listened to “The Big Dog.” When we finally ended the show together in 2009 – I think that was the year – our relationship got kind of frosty and he took to bashing me – and PewterReport.com – on the air one day shortly thereafter. He invited callers to call in and rip me, and my company’s coverage of the Bucs.

Jim Flynn, our previous editor, called me and said that Duemig was on the warpath and I was the target, and that I needed to tune in to listen. I texted Duemig, asking him why he was doing that, and he texted me back, asking if I was listening, wanting to rub it in a little. Hey, Duemig could hold a grudge. This is the Big Dog we’re talking about.

I fired back with a text about two hours later, thanking him for all of the free publicity he gave PewterReport.com on 620 AM that day, and that our web traffic was going through the roof because of it. I would’ve loved to see the look on his face while reading that text, as he probably didn’t expect that response.

But that’s what happens with friends, right? They care, they clash, and they care again.

Years later after we made up, I thanked Duemig for dedicating two or three hours of his show for ripping me, and PewterReport.com. I listened to every misguided word an angry Duemig said that day, along with every idiot caller, who probably never read a single word of anything I had written before. It made me develop some really unbelievably thick skin as a result. Since then, I have come to find that having thick skin in the media business is truly an asset.

Former Bucs QB Trent Dilfer - Photo by: Getty Images
Former Bucs QB Trent Dilfer – Photo by: Getty Images

That was one of those formative times in my career – listening to two to three non-stop hours worth of criticism over the airwaves in Tampa Bay – that truly made me better. Duemig didn’t set out to do that on that day, but that was the byproduct, and it was one of the best things any friend has ever done for me. Instead of being embarrassed by Duemig’s rampage, it fueled me and helped me take PewterReport.com to new heights.

What I admired about Duemig the most was how he understood “the theater of radio.” He was an old school radio guy, listening to sports games on the radio while growing up as a child. The Big Dog knew how to create appointment listening to get you to tune in after the commercial break or the next day at 3:00 p.m. when he shown began with one of his epic monologues. He had his share of foils – or villains – in former Bucs quarterback Trent Dilfer, who was his personal whipping boy for years, and then later set his sights on former head coach Jon Gruden, and later former QB Josh Freeman.

When Dilfer was in the midst of a three-interception game at the Big Sombrero on a Sunday afternoon at 3:00 p.m., I remember thinking to myself, “Can’t wait to hear Big Dog’s rant about Dilfer in about 24 hours!”

So many Tampa Bay fans tuned in at 3:00 p.m. on Monday afternoons to hear what Duemig thought about the latest Bucs game. It truly was appointment radio in the Tampa Bay area, and he was an absolute Tampa Bay legend.

Thanks to Big Dog, perhaps some of you Bucs fans are here on this site and have become loyal PewterReport.com readers because of him – and for that I am eternally grateful.

WDAE legendary sports radio host Steve Duemig
WDAE legendary sports radio host Steve Duemig – Photo courtesy of WDAE

And as he would often say, “That’s no bullspit.”

On behalf of PewterReport.com, I would like to send our condolences to the Duemig family, to our friends and partners at WDAE and to all of the Big Dog fans out there.

Rest in peace, Steve.

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Scott Reynolds is in his 24th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his son's Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: [email protected]

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Dman
Member
Dman

So a couple guys that are under performing their contracts are the target of “mind games”?

How about, ‘Arians seems to play no favorites. Veterans, rookies, free agents, they all have to perform.’

Buc stops here
Member
Buc stops here

McCoy is another Bucs player with limited time left. He was drafted in 2010 and this is his 9th season. Warren Sapp lasted 12 years but after year 7 he had 5 sacks or fewer every year except his 11 year (with the Raiders) where he got 10 sacks for one more monster year. Otherwise he was between 2 and 5 sacks per year. So with McCoy the clock is ticking – what he does with it is up to him, and at least Arians is trying to make him see that. The whole diagnostic on page 2 is nice,… Read more »

Pete Wood
Member
Pete Wood

I don’t see this as mind games. Sounds more like “a new level of accountability.”
Hargreaves has consistently underperformed. Nothing has motivated him. IF he’d been a mid level pick, he’d be cut by now. I have no problem with benching Hargreaves during practice. Nothing else has worked.

surferdudes
Member

If B.A.’s Jedi mind tricks are going to work, eventually he’s going to have to cut someones head off with a light saber! Calling guys out will only work if they see there’s a price to pay. Players will need to be benched, and cut to get their full attention. Want to send a real message? Roll some heads! McCoy, JPP, and VH111 come to mind.

SenileSenior
Member
SenileSenior

Funny how you made similar allusions to those Jameis made when he compared BA to a puppet master pulling all the strings. Bruce Arians is the one person calling the shots. In BA I trust. People refer to Scotty Miller as Hump’s replacement, but he is more like DJax with his size, 5-11, 175 to 5-10, 175. He and Perriman can get down field with blazing speed. We lost some proven experience (along with a bad attitude) with the departure of Jackson. We compensated ourselves with additional younger speed on offense. This complements the newly added speed on defense as… Read more »

BigSombrero
Member
BigSombrero

Bruce Arians is putting his stamp on the team. Donovan Smith = NO MIND GAMES, medium sized new contract. Caleb Benenoch = NO MIND GAMES, new position. Demar Dotson = NO MIND GAMES, extended for one year. Peyton Barber = NO MIND GAMES, no long term deal. Gerald McCoy gets the mind games from Bruce? LMAO. It is like a personal prayer has been answered. I have hated McCoy’s feckless reign as leader of the defense so long, this is the perfect scenario…torture! He’s under contract and can’t do shit to stop the criticism except improve his game, which is… Read more »

Famous Jameis
Member
Famous Jameis

I gotta say, I hate how you guys and and most Buc fans paint out GMC to be this, wasted project and failure. Gerald has given us everything in his tank, through coaching changes, scheme changes and periods of almost NO HELP at all. It’s the Bucs fault for not surrounding him with talent for the better years of his career. “The fact that his play has not been enough to turn the Bucs into a playoff team.” What kind of statement is this?! There’s is literally only one DT in the league who is capable of changing a complete… Read more »

BigSombrero
Member
BigSombrero

A lot of people think if VH3 was a mid level pick, he would already be cut. Not true.

If he was a mid level pick, we would be happy that we got him there. The problem is he is a top ten pick and supposed to be a cornerstone at that draft position. He is far from cornerstone. He’s part of the reason the Bucs have drafted 4 corners early in the last 2 years.

EricNV
Member
EricNV

I was sad to hear about Big Dog Steve Duemig’s passing. I used to listen religiously when I was living in Tampa, and even spoke with him live on his show once. RIP Big Dog.

Concerning Arians, the accountability couldn’t be more welcome. I’m not going to be the least bit surprised when he cuts 1-2 players this summer who you wouldn’t necessarily think would be cut to send a message to the team, and I’m sure those cuts will be well deserved.

BigSombrero
Member
BigSombrero

MCCOY EXCUSE CANNON : PREPARE TO FIRE!! “Gerald has given us everything in his tank, through coaching changes, scheme changes and periods of almost NO HELP at all.” NO HELP???????? IF YOU CAN’T REMEMBER WHO HE HAS PLAYED WITH… You aren’t a Bucs fan. He has played with Lavonte David the whole time and Kwon Alexander half the time. On the line he has played with Clinton Mcdonald(Superbowl winner), Michael Bennett(Superbowl winner), Michael Johnson(multi playoffs), JPP(SuperBowl winner), Beau Allen(Superbowl winner), Vinny Curry(Superbowl Winner), Swaggy Baker (Playoff winner), and Vita Vea last year. Also he had Revis(Superbowl winner), Grimes(Playoff winner), Dashon… Read more »

What the Buc
Guest
What the Buc

Demanding accountability and ones best is not a mind game. VH3 is a slacker and GM is just not a leader.

IMO VH3 is a bust as first round talent, he’s never play up to that level more like a late pick. He not worth 9 million today maybe half that.

D-Rome
Member
D-Rome

I agree with you Li-Ti-Rilla. People around here like to act as if Gerald McCoy failed the Bucs. The opposite is true. The Bucs failed him. Prior to JPP the Bucs have only had one guy that was worth a damn on the defensive line and that was Michael Bennett. The team let him go after he had his best season because they thought Da’Quon Bowers was a 10 sack guy. I get it, Sapp set the bar for DT play but he didn’t do it all by himself. When Sapp had 16.5 sacks in 2000 he also had DE… Read more »

Spitfire
Member
Spitfire

Nobody’s acting like Sapp lead every year, but he was a special player that McCoy unfortunately gets compared to unfairly because no one was like Sapp. He had DEs getting double digit sacks as well and you know why? Because QB’s had to move out because Sapp was in their face so as much as Sapp was helped by good DEs it was the DEs that benefited so much from Sapp.

Spitfire
Member
Spitfire

I think this whole attitude with BA is great. He didn’t come out of retirement to just hold everyone’s hand. He is gonna lay down the law and and anyone who can’t get in line will be on the bench or gone which is fine because you know what? There are lots of guys out there that are hungry to take someone’s spot and get a chance. Even Watfords attitude of “I take people’s jobs” is just the way it is and there is lots of talent out there that if given that opportunity and comes in hungry they will… Read more »

BUC-ASS-BOB
Member
BUC-ASS-BOB

McCoy just waiting to get cut both of them do not care what BA says or does not say they have dreams to get to other teams so they can play in a playoff game which is not going to happen here.

BucRy
Member
BucRy

I just want this drama to end..is it possible that we cut McCoy and bring in Suh instead?

seat26
Member
seat26

I hate to make projections before the first snap is taken, and I am sure that White will be very good. But this was a very curious draft. Bucs always focus like a laser on a player, and sometimes that comes back to bite them. I know White will get lots of tackles and a few sacks and disrupt plenty. But will he change the win/loss ratio? I doubt it. Bucs gambled on Smith and Hargraves. I think they should have gambled on Alexander and Humphries instead. And taking 3 defensive backs in the 2nd and 3rd rounds? I guess… Read more »

Alldaway 2.0
Member
Alldaway 2.0

If I had to guess, Murphy-Bunting, Edwards, Dean, Whitehead, Davis and MJ Stewart will all play a role in this defense in 2019.

In my opinion McCoy is a very good player but he is not a great player. Everyone knows this except McCoy. Time will tell if he humbles himself and pushes for greatness.

Ron Potter
Member
Ron Potter

I don’t think “mind games” is the best way to describe what BA is doing with VH3 and GMC but I get what you’re saying, Scott. They obviously both suffer from a weak mentality sometimes and that was festered under Koetter’s regime. BA has watched game tape AND practice tape. So his strategy with both these players are based in what he’s seen and heard in the locker room, on the game-day field and on the practice field. Seems obvious that for both to remain a Buccaneer that they will need attitude adjustments that BA desires from them. McCoy’s situation… Read more »

skipper
Guest
skipper

@ Bigsombrero
McCoy is a six time pro bowler and all pro. Bash him all you want but people who know football you look like a fool.

bucballer
Member
bucballer

As Buc fans, I don’t think anybody is questioning whether or not he is a good football player. For ten years he has been a solid player and citizen. I think the question is about value in terms of recent performance, age versus his salary. At 13 million and over 30 is he a good value? With the Bucs lacking cap space is he willing to renogotiate to a more cap friendly number… say 6-8 mil? We all appreciate his service to the Bucs but this is a business. He’s made over 100 mil with the Bucs… Father Time waits… Read more »

drdneast
Member
drdneast

All BA is doing is finding out who the millionaires on this team who are content to lose as long as they keep getting their weekly check.
McCoy was the team captain for the defense for I don’t know how many years but I never heard him extolling his team mates to play better, harder or smarter.

seat26
Member
seat26

McCoy is a great player, and now we have no choice to keep him. We can’t field a front with starter quality players without him. Now Bucs will have to cut elsewhere to afford him and he sounds a little disgruntled. Bucs made a mistake by not taking a Lineman early.

GrayBalls
Member
GrayBalls

@BigSombrero
Just a reminder, Hargreaves was taken at 11, not top-ten as you stated. We were, however, scheduled to pick at 9. So I guess I see where your confusion comes from

seat26
Member
seat26

Hargraves is not at camp, so clearly he thinks he is entitled to a starting position without earning it. After missing all of last year, You would think he would want to show the Bucs made a good Investment.

compewterpirate
Member
compewterpirate

A very nice tribute to the ‘Big Dog’, Steve Duemig. I was sorry to hear of his untimely passing. I lived in Tampa Bay for more than 10 years, including during the Bucs and Lightning’s championship winning years and was a regular listener to sports radio. Love him or hate him you couldn’t ignore the ‘Big Dog’ and as you say, some of his epic rants at the outset of his show were truly memorable. A larger than life personality, whose radio show was always compelling listening. My favorite segment of Steve’s show was indeed Wednesday’s ‘Buccaneer Blitz’ and I… Read more »

scubog
Member
scubog

I always admired Steve Duemig for his stance that folks who live here should be rooting for the hometown teams and not continue to cling onto their former allegiances. I found it heartwarming that he was so proud of his daughter’s accomplishments. His honoring of Chris Thomas showed Steve’s loyalty to friends. His knowledge of all sports was simply amazing. I miss listening to his take on virtually any subject. He had credibility that few others possess. I also thought he was a bit of a bully and never liked that he could not rationally deal with being challenged without… Read more »

Captain Sly
Member
Captain Sly

Scott, I will agree with you these players need to be held accountable but these “mind games” don’t work. You compared Arians to Parcells, well maybe you forgot when Parcells took over the 5-11 Cowboys in 02’ trying these same tactics and failing to change the losing culture there. After his mind tricks failed on Quincy Carter he started bringing in some of his old players and I mean Old like Testeverde and Drew Bledsoe from his time in NE & NY and that didn’t work because they kept losing. Parcells was used to winning but his old school tactics… Read more »

BUC-ASS-BOB
Member
BUC-ASS-BOB

I believe both of those players should have been in Camp that said Arians should keep his mouth shut both McCoy and Hargreaves could start on as many as 30 NFL teams it makes him look bad bringing himself down to their level keep those conversations quiet another red flag on Arians

BUC-ASS-BOB
Member
BUC-ASS-BOB

Both those players are disrespecting him in front of the whole team a smart coach doesn’t mouth off to the Press they take care of it quietly behind the scenes but as the pewter boys are going to figure out in time this is not a smart coach

ranman
Member
ranman

Scott, nice write up on Big Dog. That show led me to being a subscriber to your mag back in the day. I was talking to someone recently about draft day and having your draft edition mag on the table studying it as the rounds ticked off.

NCBuc
Member
NCBuc

I have always been a Bucs fan (original ticket holder from 1976 – 1998). I moved to N. C. 21 years ago but could never wrap my head or soul around the Carolina Panthers. Does that make me a bad hometown person?

flarick
Member
flarick

Now, I’m not one of those “McCoy haters” as one of this websites competitors refers to us, but I think it’s time for Gerald McCoy to head on down the road to greener pastures. While McCoy is a fine player, with an awesome first step, and a great human being, what has he done for the Bucs? As I’ve pointed out before, since McCoy arrived in 2010 the Bucs are a combined 52-92. While football is a team game and a team’s fortunes good or bad cannot be ascribed to the efforts of one player, McCoy is the one constant… Read more »

BigSombrero
Member
BigSombrero

@skipper How many pro bowls for Paul Gruber? He was drafted 4th overall and played in Tampa for 12 years. 3rd most starts in team history at 183. NO PRO BOWLS. How many pro bowls for Lee Roy Selmon? Six. Considered the greatest Bucs player by many. Derrick Brooks has 11 pro bowls and Sapp 7. Those are two players that didn’t need to make excuses or go off in the media/twitter/instagram. Gerald McCoy’s pro bowls really don’t mean much to me. It’s determined by fan voting with up to ten entries per fan. Popularity contest with limited choices. He’s… Read more »

BucFan circa76
Member
BucFan circa76

The only point I want to add on the endless McCoy banter is that only he and the Bucs know whether a pay cut has been requested. I feel it WAS requested and then abruptly denied by McCoy, thus adding to the ill feelings (aka “pissing match”) between the two sides. Nice write-up and memories on Big Dog. I started listening back in the Wyche era and he wasnt a Sam Wyche fan anymore than he was a Dilfer admirer. I agree Scott that he had a soft side – if you listened to him as long and often as… Read more »

scubog
Member
scubog

@ncbuc: The question you pose is another perspective on fan loyalties for Bucs fans who relocated. It’s one of my pet peeves. In my view, when a person makes the decision to make a permanent move, like you did to NC, you should try to become a fan of your new “home” team. If that relocation was a temporary one, that’s a different situation. In 1967 I came here from the Pittsburgh area to go to college at UT. Those were the pre-Buccaneer days. The local team was the Dolphins. I was mostly a UT football fan, but gradually became… Read more »

NCBuc
Member
NCBuc

Scubog, I see your argument, but with NFL football on Directv, I have the luxury of watching the old home team every week with other friends who are Bucs fans. Sorry, I’ll never be wed to the “stinkin’ Panthers. Go Bucs!

Johnny Cannons
Member
Johnny Cannons

One of my favorite Fab5s thus far. Reasoned analysis and a compelling personal glimpse into the sports media business as well. Well done. There’s a long and strange story about how I became a Bucs fan 25 or so years ago despite having never lived in Tampa. If I stuck to Big Dog’s mantra, I’d be at best a Broncos fan and at worst a fair weather team-jumper, having lived in five different states and spending half of my adult life overseas. So while the ‘hometown first’ mantra is admirable, I take it with a grain of salt. Last I… Read more »