History of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
When the NFL expanded to Carolina and Jacksonville in the mid-1990s the league created a system that allowed both teams to flourish. They each played in conference championships in their second season.
The system was far less kind two decades earlier when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers came into existence.
Before the Bucs we almost had the Tampa Bay Bills or Tampa Bay Patriots. When the AFL and NFL merged in 1970 there were stadium requirements that were tough to meet in Buffalo and Boston. Tampa did its best to woo both teams, but eventually they each got new stadiums.
Part of the merger agreement also included an expansion of two more teams, so Tampa turned its attention to that effort, which was successful. In 1974 the new franchise was awarded, set to kick off in 1976.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Uncertainty
It’s unclear, however, that the Bucs knew they were playing in 1976. That season they became the first winless team in modern NFL history. They then lost the first 12 games of the next season, and their 26 straight losses still stands as an NFL record. Legend has it that when head coach John McKay was asked about his team’s execution, he responded, “I’m all for it.”
Things ended up turning, and quickly. Just two years later, in 1979, the Bucs played for an NFC Championship. There were two more playoff appearances in 1981 and 1982. In the late 1990s the Bucs featured one of the best defenses in NFL history, and it eventually led to a win in Super Bowl XXXVI. Nearly 20 years later they added another Lombardi Trophy in Super Bowl LV.
There are four Bucs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and all of them are defensive players. Defensive Lee Roy Selmon, the first pick in franchise history, and Warren Sapp, Derrick Brooks, and John Lynch – all teammates on Tampa’s first Super Bowl team.
NFL Big Changes from Last Season – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
There is quite the change happening in Tampa Bay, although not quite as big as it almost was.
Head coach Bruce Arians has retired, and he turned over the reins of the team to his defensive coordinator, Todd Bowles. Bowles was a head coach for the Jets for four seasons, and he was just 26-41 with New York. But in those Jets seasons his starting quarterbacks were Ryan Fitzpatrick, Josh McCown, and Sam Darnold. This year he gets Tom Brady.
And that brings us to the change that almost was, Brady’s retirement. It happened, and then it unhappened, and at the time it all seemed very puzzling. Now in light of the Dolphins being found guilty of tampering with Brady, and offering him partial ownership in Miami and the chance to possibly play with head coach Sean Payton, the seeming change-of-heart that Brady experienced makes more sense.
So the ageless one is still under center, but he will begin the season without his favorite target, Rob Gronkowski. But we only say he begins the season without Gronk, because the future Hall of Fame tight end has unretired before, and no one would be surprised if he does it again.
Will Tampa Be a Offensive Firehouse
Coming to Tampa Bay is tight end Kyle Rudolph, who will team with Cameron Brate to fill the Gronk void. Future Hall of Fame wide receiver Julio Jones has also signed on to play with Brady as his quarterback, and if he can stay healthy this becomes the best wide receiver room in the league.
In the draft this year the Bucs traded out of the first round, and took defensive end Logan Hall from Houston early in the second round. With their second pick of the second round they selected offensive lineman Luke Goedeke from Central Michigan, who has moved from tackle to guard now that he’s a pro.
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