Former Philadelphia Eagles team president (1995-2012) Joe Banner listed his top five NFL front offices in a recent column for The33rdTeam.com. Noticeably absent from the list was the Bucs’ front office. Led by general manager Jason Licht, vice president of of player personnel John Spytek and vice president of football administration Mike Greenberg, the Bucs have done a masterful job of building a Super Bowl-winning roster and managing the salary cap.

Of course, Banner fired Licht in 2008 when he was the Eagles’ president and Licht was the VP of player personnel, so there very well could be some personal bias affecting Banner’s dissing of the Bucs. Here is Banner’s own stated criteria for selecting his top NFL front offices: sustained success, transactions (trades, free agents, etc.), drafting/scouting, team-building philosophy, hiring (coaches, front office).

And here are the front offices that made Banner’s top five list: Buffalo, Baltimore, Kansas City, the Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco.

Bucs NT Vita Vea, HC Bruce Arians and GM Jason Licht

Bucs NT Vita Vea, former head coach Bruce Arians and GM Jason Licht – Photo by: USA Today

What Banner doesn’t reveal in his criteria is the time span for which he’s evaluating the team’s front offices. What I do know is that the NFL has – and always will be – a “what have you done for me lately?” league.

Under Licht, the Bucs won the Super Bowl in 2020. San Francisco lost the Super Bowl in 2019. Baltimore hasn’t won a Super Bowl – or even been in one – since 2012. Buffalo has never won a Super Bowl and the last time it was in one was in 1993!

The Rams won last year’s Super Bowl and lost one in 2018, and Kansas City won one in 2019 and lost one in 2020. Both of those teams definitely deserve to be included in Banner’s list.

But selecting the 49ers, Ravens and Bills over the Bucs just screams that there is some sort of bias or misguided thinking on Banner’s part.

Bucs Front Office Has Been More Successful Than 49ers, Bills Or Ravens

The 49ers’ record over the last four years is 33-32. After going 4-12 in 2018, San Francisco went 13-3 and made it to the Super Bowl the next season. In 2020, the 49ers failed to make the playoffs and went 6-10 before rebounding to 10-7 in 2021. Is that sustained success? No.

General manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan make a nice one-two punch. But better than Licht and former Bucs head coach Bruce Arians? Nope.

Bucs WR Breshad Perriman

Bucs WR Breshad Perriman – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

The Bucs went 31-18 under Arians, and over the last four years, Tampa Bay’s record is 36-29. That record, plus a franchise-best 13-4 season in 2021 and a Super Bowl title in 2020, makes the Bucs an easy winner over the 49ers.

Buffalo has gone from 6-10 to 10-6 to 13-3 to 11-6 over the last four seasons. That 40-25 record is slightly better than Tampa Bay’s record over the last four seasons. Yet, the Bills haven’t made a Super Bowl since the early 1990s.

While the Bills are the trendy pick to win the AFC and potentially win the Super Bowl this year, this is the same team that lost at Jacksonville, 9-6, and got hammered by Indianapolis, 41-19, last year. And it’s a team that lost to the Bucs last year, 33-27, in overtime.

The Ravens have gone 43-22 over the past four years. That’s an even better record than the Bucs. Yet, Baltimore hasn’t even reached the AFC Championship Game despite having a league-best 14-2 record in 2019.

In fact, the Ravens have regressed each year. In 2020, Baltimore finished 11-5, but didn’t win the AFC North. Last year, the Ravens went 8-9 and didn’t even make the playoffs. Using Banner’s own criteria, it’s a stretch to suggest Baltimore’s front office is better than Tampa Bay’s.

Licht Has Hired Well And Built A Pro Bowl-Laden Championship Roster

Championships are won on the field by the players with help from the coaches. But front offices are where those championship teams are assembled. Licht and his staff built a team that first attracted Arians in 2019, and then the greatest quarterback of all time in Tom Brady in 2020.

Bucs QB Tom Brady and GM Jason Licht

Bucs QB Tom Brady and GM Jason Licht

Arians finished as the Bucs’ all-time winning percentage leader (63.3%). That mark is better than both legendary coaches Jon Gruden and Tony Dungy.

Arians will also be inducted into the Bucs Ring of Honor this year. Hiring a two-time NFL Coach of the Year in Arians that wound up recruiting Brady and winning a Super Bowl in his second season is about as good as it can get from a hiring standpoint.

That was one of Banner’s criteria. And now the team is turned over to defensive mastermind Todd Bowles, which is another deft move by Licht.

The Bucs roster, which consists of nine players that made the Pro Bowl last year, speaks for itself. Licht and Spytek have done a masterful job of team-building.

Perhaps it’s Banner’s history with Licht that caused him to leave the Bucs off the list. Or maybe it’s the fact that Banner never presided over a Super Bowl-winning team in Philadelphia. Meanwhile, Licht has in Tampa Bay. Or it could be the fact that the Bucs beat his Eagles team in 2002 to advance to – and win – Super Bowl XXXVII that bristles Banner to this day.

But he made a mistake by including the likes of the 49ers, Bills – and certainly the Ravens – over the Bucs in naming the top five NFL front offices.

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About the Author: Scott Reynolds

Scott Reynolds is in his 27th 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 coordinator/defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: [email protected]
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mark2001
mark2001
1 month ago

The best way to rub his nose in it is to win another SB this year. I’d think it is just another small incentive to have the kind of year we hope to have and win it all.

Spitfire
Spitfire
1 month ago

It’s funny because people want to discredit the team or Front Office and say it’s just Brady, but this Front Office built a team and has continued to add to the team to make it a place Brady could walk in and help win. This team struggled for years but built of slowly and solidly to the point where we were mainly missing a solid QB and we went out and got the best one ever. I’d say that’s a kudos for the Front Office. There will be a hang over once Brady leaves for good, but this team has… Read more »

NaplesFan2.0
NaplesFan2.0
Reply to  Spitfire
1 month ago

Well said Spit. Brady doesn’t come here without a well-built roster. It was obvious after our 7-9 season, before Brady, what our problem was. Brady did shove us over the top, but did it with a good/great roster and coaching.

toofamiliar17
toofamiliar17
Reply to  Spitfire
1 month ago

Yea, Brady choosing Tampa says a lot to me, too. Not only that he chose here (after all, he could’ve simply been wrong), but that after doing so, he’s come here and won says a lot. There are good football REASONS he decided to come to Tampa, and none of those had a bit to do with him. Had he walked into a situation with a struggling offense and/or a bad defense that he had to carry, we wouldn’t have the SB to which he led us. For his time here, we’ve had the best cast of offensive weapons bar… Read more »

Eddie
Eddie
1 month ago

Even 49er is ahead of Tampa? Just look at the QB mess, traded several first round pick for a QB that is not ready, while their starting QB is still at his prime. Tipped their hand so badly that no team will give them good value for their trade.
What medication are these guys on while rating?

Last edited 1 month ago by Eddie
toofamiliar17
toofamiliar17
Reply to  Eddie
1 month ago

The Lance trade will definitely largely come to define that team for the foreseeable future. Jimmy G just isn’t good enough to get them over the hump, despite a roster around him that’s about as good as any in football. If Lance is indeed not THE GUY, I agree – they are pretty screwed. And if that’s the case, then you have to judge them based on going all in on a guy who turns out to be a dud.

matador
matador
1 month ago

Licht was dreadful early on but has been greatly improved since Arians arrived. Still, this was a losing team during Licht’s tenure until Brady arrived, changed the culture and brought in reinforcements. In other words Licht only gets partial credit.

NaplesFan2.0
NaplesFan2.0
Reply to  matador
1 month ago

My name on this website used to be FireLichtMovement, and I was a Licht hater for sure. The drafts weren’t great (especially 2016) and the teams didn’t perform for a long time under him. He absolutely turned it around though, with smart trades, low key signings that turned into gold and great coaching and front office hires. He has always focused on building the lines and put all these players and coaches in the best position to succeed. I will never forget all the crazy signings when he first started. Alterraun Verner, Chris Baker, Anthony Collins, Michael Johnson were all… Read more »

matador
matador
Reply to  NaplesFan2.0
1 month ago

I’m sorry, what was the record of the teams Licht created before Brady arrived and recruited key personnel (they followed Brady, Light had nothing to do with it) and changed the culture?
Oh that’s right we were perennial losers.And how was Licht’s drafting before Arians arrived? Oh that’s right, at best underwhelming.
All I said is that Licht only deserves partial credit. Whether deserved on not, had Brady not come Licht would have been fired.

toofamiliar17
toofamiliar17
Reply to  matador
1 month ago

Literally everyone only deserves partial credit, lol. There’s no singular, all-powerful cause of success in any organization. If that’s your standard, then no front office is great. Brady simply would not have come here had we not had an attractive team – roster, coaching staff, all of it – that he knew he could hit the ground running and win with. That’s a fact, and he’s said as much himself. Prior to Brady, we had a budding top 10ish OL, the best group of receiving weapons in the league bar none, and a defense that was coming into its own… Read more »

NaplesFan2.0
NaplesFan2.0
Reply to  matador
28 days ago

Whole-heartedly disagree on the drafting. Licht missed some in his tenure, but still built a very good roster, devoid of a qb, before Brady got here. Donovan Smith, Mike Evans, Godwin, CD3, Vea, Wirfs, Antoine Winfield Jr and more are all Licht picks. Have you looked at the draft record of his predecessors? They’re nowhere close to Lichts resume, and they had much better picks every year. Brady only shows up to Tampa with a solid roster already in place, so if we’re giving Licht credit for anything, it’s for building a good enough roster for the GOAT to play… Read more »

drdneast
drdneast
1 month ago

I’ve never heard of this guy or his silly little website so who cares what he thinks. Scoreboard.

Gatorbait36
Gatorbait36
Reply to  drdneast
1 month ago

I agree! It’s a first that I agree with you on pretty much anything, but I’ll take it!! :-)

toofamiliar17
toofamiliar17
1 month ago

On the one hand, I get not having us in there based on the reality that we’ve ONLY been successful with Brady any time remotely recently. If sustained success is a major marker being used to grade front offices, then you can obviously argue that we don’t deserve a top 5 spot. Where that trips up is in including the Niners. They have two winning seasons out of the last three years, and prior to that, they had a four year run of losing seasons. So their last three years (two winning seasons, best being a runner up year) are… Read more »

matador
matador
Reply to  toofamiliar17
28 days ago

Toofamiliar, I agree with virtually everything you said.