NFL Rumors: Bucs Gave Their Tom Brady Pursuit This Interesting Nickname


April 5, 2020

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers apparently had a name for their pursuit of Tom Brady, and baseball fans will love it.

ESPN’s Ian O’Connor on Sunday published a lengthy piece exploring how the Bucs convinced Brady to leave the New England Patriots for one of most unsuccessful franchises in professional sports. Within the story, O’Connor reveals that some with the Bucs referred to their pursuit of Brady as “Operation Shoeless Joe Jackson” — a nod to the classic film “Field of Dreams.”

But why?

Well, in “Field of Dreams,” the character Ray, who idolizes exiled baseball legend “Shoeless” Joe Jackson, hear’s a voice telling him, “If you build it, he will come.” So, he turns his cornfield into a baseball field, on which he eventually sees the ghost of Jackson playing. That’s a significant oversimplification of the film, but it’s all you really need to know.

Take a look at these clips:

And here’s an excerpt from O’Connor’s column:

Operation Shoeless Joe Jackson — that’s what the “Field of Dreams” fans inside the Tampa Bay front office called their pursuit of Tom Brady. John Spytek, director of player personnel and a former Brady teammate at Michigan, came up with the name for good reason.

More than any other franchise in American sports, the Buccaneers needed an unlikely savior to suddenly appear out of a cornfield. “If we build it, he will come,” Spytek would tell his general manager, Jason Licht. “Go the distance.”

Spytek, the executive who nicknamed the Brady pursuit, wasn’t surprised the organization’s plan worked.

“We felt we had built a good team down here, especially on offense,” he told O’Connor. “If you’re a quarterback who wants to play with good players and for a coach with a great offensive mind, why wouldn’t Tom pick Tampa?

“It always made sense in my mind. It made sense that if we built it, he would come.”

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Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images
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