“They said, ‘I’m strong if you strong.’ I said, ‘We strong then.’” – Jameis Winston
|Nuts and Bolts
Prestige: 3 stars
1 Super Bowl win
3 NFC Championships
3 NFC South titles
10 playoff appearances in 39 seasons
Established in 1976, based in Tampa/St. Petersburg, Florida
Owner: The Glazer Family
Head Coach: Lovie Smith
Play in the National Football Conference – South Division
Play at Raymond James Stadium
Finished last in the division at 2-14, got #1 overall pick
Expectations this year:
Improvement over last year; a low bar to overcome.
When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers joined the NFL in 1976, the early years were rough. The team didn’t win its first game until its second season, losing an NFL record 26 straight games. The team was so bad that their ‘Creamsicle’ orange jerseys are still associated with losing. While the team has reached the pinnacle of NFL success — winning the Super Bowl in 2003 behind a suffocating defense — the team is once again back among the bottom feeders of the NFL.
However, the team believes they have the pieces in place to once again rise from the bottom of the NFL. The Buccaneers drafted former Heisman trophy and national championship winner quarterback Jameis Winston (#3) with the #1 overall pick this year. In a division with Drew Brees (Saints), Matt Ryan (Falcons) and Cam Newton (Panthers), the team needs strong play from the quarterback position to keep up. The team is also hoping head coach Lovie Smith, known for building strong defenses during his time coaching the Chicago Bears, can return Tampa Bay’s defense to its traditional position as one of the best in the league. However, it is Winston’s level of play which will determine the future of the Buccaneers.
|The latest news from Primer
Note this section would be whatever news we have most recently covered on Primer that has been tagged #Panthers.
STORYLINES TO KNOW
As a redshirt freshman at Florida State University, Jameis Winston burst onto the scene in 2013 with Florida State. Nothing on the field could stop Winston, as he made ridiculous play after ridiculous play en route to an undefeated season and a comeback win in the National Championship against Auburn. Winston also played baseball for Florida State, where he put his cannon of an arm to good use. Although Winston’s second season wasn’t as magical as his first, he still finished his college career with only one loss.
While Winston on the field can make jaw-dropping plays, off the field he makes jaws drop for altogether different reasons. Winston has a long list of issues off the field which range from immature to heinous. Winston was notably charged for shoplifting crab legs from a Publix grocery store and suspended one game in 2014 for shouting an inappropriate phrase while standing on a table in the student union. He was also investigated for a rape that allegedly occurred in 2012. Although he was cleared by the Tallahassee police department, the quality of the investigation has been called into serious question by major news outlets like the New York Times.
Despite all of that, the Buccaneers still felt comfortable enough with Winston to spend the first pick in the draft on him. Winston is a big time talent, and if he can play well the Buccaneers could surprise some people this year.
PLAYERS TO KNOW
Twin Towers at Wide Receiver
With their first round pick in 2013, the Buccaneers selected wide receiver Mike Evans (#13) out of Texas A&M. Evans paired with receiver Vincent Jackson (#83) to give Tampa Bay two receivers who stood an imposing six feet and five inches tall — a good half a foot taller than the average defensive back. Both receivers became the first duo in Tampa Bay history to finish with over 1,000 yards receiving apiece. While Jackson only had two touchdowns, Evans more than made up for it, recording 12 touchdown catches which tied for the most among rookie receivers. The two will be hard targets for Winston to miss and should help make life easier for him as he transitions to the NFL.
The Next Generation on Defense
Historically, the Buccaneers have found success on the back of a strong defense. Their Super Bowl victory was propelled by a stifling defense that scored a Super Bowl record three touchdowns. While this defense is nowhere near as talented as past units, there are still a few standout players. Linebacker Lavonte David (#54) is entering his fourth year and has established himself as one of the best outside linebackers in the NFL. David has a knack for making splash plays on the defense and has drawn some comparisons to former Buccaneer linebacker Derrick Brooks, who is now in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
In addition to David, defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (#93) plays a crucial role for the Buccaneers. Taken third overall in 2010, McCoy’s first few seasons were rough. But the past two seasons, McCoy has recorded 18 total sacks, a ridiculous amount of quarterback takedowns for a defensive tackle. McCoy’s quick first step causes a lot of disruptions for opposing offenses, and he and David team up to make the rest of their teammates better.
Creamsicle Jerseys – Perhaps one of the most “interesting” uniforms of all time, the Buccaneers original uniforms when they entered the league featured two different shades of orange and white. Dubbed “creamsicle,” the jerseys made the team distinctive for the first two decades of their existence, along with their logo “Bucco Bruce.” Unfortunately, the team did not experience much success while in those jerseys, recording only four winning seasons.
Stadium Pirate Ship – One of the coolest features of any stadium in the NFL, the Buccaneers Raymond James Stadium has a pirate ship. Yes, a pirate ship. The ship fires its cannons whenever the Buccaneers score or enter the redzone. An animatronic parrot also sits on the stern of the ship and talks to fans passing underneath.
Jon Gruden – Nicknamed “Chucky” by one of his players because of his resemblance to a murderous child’s doll, Gruden coached Tampa Bay during its Super Bowl victory against his former team, the Oakland Raiders. Gruden’s fiery and passionate coaching style also helped earn his nickname, as his gruesome faces on the sidelines while coaching gave spectators nightmares. Gruden was fired after seven seasons coaching the Buccaneers, but landed on his feet in the Monday Night Football booth calling games with Mike Tirico. He’s left the door open to returning to coach in the league again.
Derrick Brooks – Perhaps one of the best linebackers of all time, Derrick Brooks played 14 seasons for the Buccaneers. He made 11 total Pro Bowls, including ten straight at one point, and was named the AP Defensive Player of the Year in 2002. Brooks was one of the key pieces to the Buccaneers “Tampa Two” defense with his physicality and knack for forcing turnovers. He’s the greatest Buccaneer to ever suit up.
Warren Sapp – Perhaps the best word to describe Sapp is disruptive. The defensive tackle made his name with his aggressive, penetrating style of play. He had four seasons of double digit sacks from the defensive tackle position, a ridiculous number that helped create a new prototype for the position that teams have been looking to recreate ever since. However, Sapp was also disruptive because of his loud mouth. His brash nature caused friction with opposing coaches, players and officials in several incidents. That too is a part of his legacy.