Tampa Bay Buccaneers Fans Clearly Lack Perspective in Regards to Josh Freeman

J.J. Rodriguez@ActofRodContributor IIDecember 18, 2012

Dec 9, 2012; Tampa FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman (5) throws a pass against the Philadelphia Eagles at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

'Get rid of him,' you say? 'Let him be someone else's problem,' right? Oh and my personal favorite, 'I never cared for him much, anyways.'

In Josh Freeman you have a 24-year-old quarterback with 54 career starts under his belt, who is on the verge of the single greatest statistical season of any signal-caller in franchise history. 

With two more passing touchdowns, Freeman will not only break Brad Johnson's single-season record of 26 scoring strikes set in 2003, but he'll also eclipse Vinny Testaverde's all-time franchise mark of 77 career touchdown passes. 

Free is also 341 yards shy of breaking Johnson's single-season passing yards mark set during the same season. Not to mention the team is 35 points shy of breaking the single-season franchise record for most points scored, a mark of 388 set in 2000.

The disdain directed towards fourth-year Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman is mind-blowing, to say the least.

It's also misguided and unfortunate.

While I understand the general frustration with having a young, erratic quarterback, I don't quite comprehend the belief that by getting rid of him, this franchise is somehow better off.

In fact, history has a way of proving the grass isn't always greener.

It wasn't that long ago that fans in another NFL city felt the same way about their young, erratic quarterback after watching him and their beloved team toil around in mediocrity for a handful of seasons. Push came to shove and the franchise felt it was in their best interests to invest a high draft pick on another quarterback and begin the process of starting over again. 

That quarterback's name? Drew Brees. His replacement? Philip Rivers. Ask yourselves this: Which QB do you think San Diego Chargers fans wish they had now? 

Yeah, Brees by a landslide.

My point is, sure there are a handful of quarterbacks that burst onto the scene and make it look easier than it really is. Andrew Luck, RGIII, Russell Wilson—all rookie quarterbacks who very easily could see postseason action this season. 

The problem is, success isn't guaranteed each and every year. Remember that historic season Cam Newton had in 2011? Fans in Carolina are already reminiscing a year later.

That's the thing: success, particularly sustained success, can be fleeting. While a flash-in-the-pan may be great for television ratings and tabloid fodder (see: Tebow, Tim), it is seldom the answer for a franchise's long-term aspirations. 

And while most fans may not want to hear it, more often than not it takes several seasons for a quarterback to truly find his way in this league before becoming an established, franchise quarterback. 

The other four quarterbacks in the chart above were all at least two years older than Freeman at the 54-start mark. He's thrown for more yards than Brees, Manning and Ryan at the same point, and more TDs than Brees and Manning. 

Sure, the win-loss record may be the ultimate barometer of a quarterback's legacy, but there aren't very many QBs who could've won many more games than Free with the porous defense the Bucs have been trotting out there week after week.

So Bucs fans, take a deep breath and understand this: who Freeman is today isn't necessarily who he'll be a season or two from now. 

Just ask Chargers fans.