The COVID season of the NFL was a wild one. With people constantly being tested and players in and out of facilities due to the coronavirus, there were a lot of contingency plans in place for the teams around the NFL.
For the Buccaneers, one of those plans was a retired punter who can also kick the heck out of a football - but he left the game to create a multimedia empire.
Pat McAfee, host of the Pat McAfee Show on SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Radio and numerous podcasts and YouTube shows, retired from the NFL after the 2016 season in order to pursue that media lifestyle that has become one of the most popular around the country. His weekly segments with Aaron Rodgers throughout the NFL season became must-listen (or must-see) for every football fan.
What’s really wild is that it was all almost put on hold for a brief moment in December. Before their week fifteen game at Atlanta, the Buccaneers placed their three specialists on the COVID-reserve list and weren’t sure if they would have a punter or kicker for the big divisional game;
Buccaneers’ special teams have concerns for Sunday at Atlanta: Tampa Bay placed punter Bradley Pinion, kicker Ryan Succop and long snapper Zach Triner on the Reserve/COVID-19 list.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 15, 2020
In order to solve that issue, they reached out to a guy that not only had a good friend on the team in A.Q. Shipley, but had a relationship with head coach Bruce Arians from their days together in Indianapolis. If they added McAfee, he could have handled both punting and kicking duties for the team until Bradley Pinion and Ryan Succop cleared protocol.
McAfee told this story on Monday during his simulcast on Mad Dog radio and YouTube (following video includes brief adult language);
“Actually, there is a funny story that’ll come out in a book someday that if I was worse with the way I handled COVID, I’d probably have a Super Bowl ring right now. If I had the antibodies I potentially would’ve came back potentially for a team one week.
But I got tested, did not have the antibodies, because I never had the COVID. If I would’ve had the COVID, I would’ve had the antibodies, would’ve been able to bypass certain protocols, would have potentially been on a boat party. Chris Ballard (Colts GM) would have had to have been part of that whole thing. He would’ve had to release my rights.”
How epic would that have been? Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, and Pat McAfee downing drinks and living it up on the river during the boat parade? And you thought Bruce Arians and Jason Licht had some potty mouths during that celebration - McAfee on a microphone would have been electric. Unfortunately, he had no antibodies and both Pinion and Succop were cleared for the game against the Falcons anyway.
But alas, it wasn’t to be. Instead, McAfee has had some incredible Buccaneers guests over the past few weeks including Chris Godwin, Vita Vea, Sean Murphy-Bunting, Scotty Miller, and A.Q. Shipley talking about the Super Bowl victory. To check those out, click here and for more discussion about McAfee nearly joining the team as well as part of his discussion with Chris Godwin, check out the latest episode of the Locked On Bucs podcast in the player below or by clicking here.