One of the most disconcerting aspects of traveling to a country whose language you don’t know is how the most commonplace things become indecipherable. Ask a stranger for directions and she may think to explain tricky vocabulary but she’ll almost never think to describe whether the place she just referred to is a city, train station, library, cafe, or all of the above. The same is true for sports natives. A thoughtful sports fan should be willing and able to explain a rule, but he’ll almost never think of explaining who a particular team is, what sport they play, or the team’s history and characteristics. In this series, we’ll do just that — describe what is unique about each sports team.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – the basics
- Sport – Football
- League – National Football League (NFL)
- Conference – National Football Conference (NFC)
- Division – NFC South
- History – The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were founded as an expansion team in 1976. They lost their first 26 games in a row and things have been downhill ever since. Okay, their history is not that dire, but they have been a losing team verging on a laughingstock for much of their almost 40-year history. They had a period of consistent winning starting in 1997 and continuing for six years which culminated in the team’s only Super Bowl win. Then it was back down into the dumps for most of the years until present day.
- Championships – The Bucs won the Super Bowl in their only trip to the title game in 2002 by beating the Oakland Raiders in a game I called (I was in college at the time) “Pirate Bowl Aye-Aye.”
- Rivals – The Buccaneers claim the New Orleans Saints (against whom they scored their first ever victory in 1977) and the Carolina Panthers as their rivals.
If it weren’t for a brief period of prosperity in the late 1990s and early 2000s, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers might be one of the sorriest franchises in American team sports history. Despite all the losing, there are some cool things about the Buccaneers. They have an enormous model pirate ship built into their stadium which shoots its cannons when the team scores. That’s awesome! The team is one of the few that wears white for its home jerseys so that opponents have to swelter in the heat of Tampa Bay while wearing dark uniforms. On the subject of uniforms, they once played in a color that can only be described as “creamsicle.” Unfortunately for the well-intentioned Tampa Bay fan, the recent history of the team has been one of insulting incompetence. They’ve hired a series of coaches who have each been more of a disaster than the last and just this year, they used the number one overall draft pick on a player who almost certainly is a rapist.
Here is the their winning percentage in each season since their inception:
Who are some notable players or figures from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers?
Warren Sapp was drafted by the Buccaneers as the 12th overall pick of the 1995 draft and became a dominant force on the interior of the defensive line for the team over the next nine seasons. Defensive linemen like Sapp don’t normally become celebrities or football stars but Sapp’s rare combination of high-energy, charisma, and style made him a fan favorite and an essential part of the defense that dragged the team to a Super Bowl win in 2002. Sapp was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2013. His smooth transition from football player to football media personality was interrupted by a domestic abuse charge in 2010 and a solicitation arrest in 2015.
Derrick Brooks played right behind Sapp as the team’s middle linebacker from 1995 when he was drafted 16 spots behind Sapp until Sapp left in 2003. Brooks continued to play for the Bucs until his retirement in 2008. He was remarkably durable. During his 14 year career, he started 221 of 224 possible games. That is a crazy record for one of the most dangerous positions in football. Following his retirement, Brooks became co-owner and president of the Tampa Bay Storm, an Arena Football League team in the area. He was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 2014.
Where do the Tampa Bay Buccaneers play?
The blind date test
Imagine you’re about to go on a blind date and all you know about the person is that he or she is a Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan. Here’s what you can guess about that person. Remember that all fans are unique. We bear no responsibility for any misunderstandings we engender. Trust but verify.
I have no explanation for being a Tampa Bay fan unless you live in the Tampa Bay area. Your date lives in the Tampa Bay area and doesn’t mind being emotionally taken advantage of.
What will make a Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan squirm?
Nothing! Apparently nothing will make a Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan squirm. Not the losing, not the terrible management, not the gross drafting of Jameis Winston. If anything made a Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan squrm, they would no longer be a Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan.
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What do the Tampa Bay Buccaneers look like?
Team colors are Buccaneer red, pewter, black, orange, and white. Their current uniforms look like this.
Current and recent teams
Coming soon — a post about the 2015 Tampa Bay Buccaneers including an overview of their most interesting characters as well as what fans expect from the team this year.