It is the signature moment in Tampa Bay Buccaneers history. January 26th, 2003 in San Diego, CA, the Bucs won Super Bowl XXXVII 48-21 over the Oakland Raiders.
After having been viewed as mostly a punch line franchise for their first 27 years of existence, the Bucs finally put together a tremendous regular season (12-4) and finished it off with an amazing playoff run.
Having destroyed Jeff Garcia, Terrell Owens and the Steve Mariucci led-49ers 31-6 in the NFC Divisional playoff game at home, the Buccaneers traveled to play the Andy Reid-Donovan McNabb Eagles at the old “Vet” in Philly for the NFC Championship.
The Eagles had been the Bucs nemisis, not only beating Tampa Bay in that regular season of 2002, but having knocked them out of the playoffs the previous two seasons, as well.
When, it was all said and done, the Buccaneers defense dominated that day. And, when Ronde Barber intercepted McNabb with about three minutes remaining, and raced 92 yards for the clinching TD in a 27-10 win, the Bucs had reservations for the NFL’s biggest game.
Seven days later (it was one of the last times the NFL has not taken two weeks off before the Super Bowl) the Buccaneers were on the field with their new coach, Jon Gruden, against his old team, the Raiders.
And after a shaky start, it was all Pewter and Red over the Silver and Black. Here’s a quick highlight montage’:
You may not remember that Bucs QB Brad Johnson threw an early interception to Charles Woodson and the Raiders kicked a field goal to lead 3-0.
What you likely remember was Bucs safety Dexter Jackson returned the favor X 2 and intercepted Raiders QB Rich Gannon twice in the first half. Jackson was later named Super Bowl MVP.
FB Mike Alstott scored the first Bucs TD in Super Bowl history, and Johnson later threw a five yard TD pass to WR Kennan McCardell and the game was 20-3 Tampa Bay at half time.
The Buccaneers came out strong to start the third quarter taking the opening kick and marching 89 yards in 14 plays and eventually, Johnson hooked up with McCardell, again, for a 27-3 lead.
Then, the clinching moment came for Tampa Bay’s illustrious defense, as DB Dwight Smith stepped in front of Gannon’s pass on the left sideline and raced 44 yards for a TD to make it 34-3.
The crowd of 60-70% Raiders fans in Sand Diego was stunned. And the Bucs, were ready to party.
Yes, the Raiders actually did make a game of it, as Gannon hit Jerry Porter on a 39 yard TD in the third quarter. They blocked a Tom Tupa punt for another TD, and when Gannon hit Hall of Famer, Jerry Rice from 48 yards out, it was now 34-21.
But the Raiders, would get no closer, and when, Bucs Hall of Famer Derrick Brooks picked Gannon for the fourth time and headed 44 yards to the end zone, the deal was done.
Dwight Smith added yet another pick six, his second of the game, in the final 30 seconds to finish the scoring and start the official celebration.
Gannon’s five interceptions was a dubious record and the Buccaneers remain the only Super Bowl winning team to score three defensive touchdowns in the game.
For players like Brooks, Warren Sapp and John Lynch it was the culmination of coming a team in disarray in the mid-90’s and helping it eventually, become World Champions.
It’s the last time that a Florida team has made, much less won, the NFL’s biggest game, and it happened 15 years ago Friday, in San Diego.
Bucs coach Arians again non-committal Tuesday on QB Winston
It’s become increasingly apparent, that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are ready to move on from potential free agent quarterback Jameis Winston. And Tuesday at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, coach Bruce Arians gave the latest example that he and the Buccaneers front office will look at the other options available first.
Arians spoke at a podium on numerous subjects, but the most prominent is what Tampa Bay will do in the coming days with Winston?
— Charlie Clifford (@cliffWISH8) February 25, 2020
Arians was asked directly about potential for a franchise tag for his starter a year ago and what the Bucs might proceed to do? But, he refused to endorse that option on the former number one overall pick Winston. And, the Bucs coach maintained that the team will possibly us the franchise tag for defensive end Shaq Barrett.
Further, Arians gave a pointed specific answer on Winston’s poor play last December as the team finished 7-9 and that has the team looking at other options,
Arians on Winston and why it’s still uncertain: “December wasn’t what I wanted to see.”
— Greg Auman (@gregauman) February 25, 2020
Arians has consistently refused back Winston since the off-season began. This included at an NFL coaching seminar earlier this month in Tampa. He said to the media at that time:
“Really nothing has changed,” Arians said. “What’s Door No. 2? You know? Can we make the one we have better? All those things you go through right now.”
“You’re just sitting there waiting to see is there someone available? … Is he a better option?
The Buccaneers faltered in the middle of the season to drop to 3-7 and then, Winston and Co. blew its final two games to finish 7 – 9 with Winston throwing a career-high 30 interceptions.
After their final loss at home to Atlanta in overtime, where Winston threw the game losing “pick six,” Arians was candid after the final game by saying about Winston’s play that it would have to be evaluated pass by pass and game by game in the off-season. Further, he told the media then, that there “was some great and some terrible…. and you have to decide, if the great outweighs the terrible.”
While Winston did throw for a career-high 5000 + yards in 2019, his interceptions and total turnovers continued to be his downfall throughout the season. The Buccaneers finished 1 – 6 in games against teams with winning records and Winston had 17 total turnovers in those seven games. He finished with the 30 picks that included 10 of them in the Bucs final four games.
Tampa Bay obviously will have the opportunity to go after a free agent quarterback or two, as there is much speculation about the likes of Tom Brady with the Patriots. Plus, Philip Rivers will not be re-signed by the Chargers and is available come March. And, now that Drew Brees has announced he wants to play at least one more year for the Saints, their backup Teddy Bridgewater will be in demand on the market.
The Bucs are also continuing the evaluating the QB class for the Draft the next few days in Indy, which could have some interesting names still available in the second and third rounds and beyond.
Bucs confirmed Monday they will have new uniforms in 2020
On Monday, the Bucs confirmed what they have been hinting at, they will have new uniforms in 2020. But the real question is: what does “new” mean in this instance?
We heard you!
New uniforms coming April 2020. pic.twitter.com/e7qNUsNWZb
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) February 24, 2020
The Bucs also released a statement through their website confirming that April will be the unveiling of the new uniforms, as well as, potential new color scheme, logo, etc. and had these comments from co – owner, Ed Glazer:
“We have heard the feedback from our fans loud and clear and have been working with the NFL and our league partners at Nike to usher in a new look as we enter this next decade of Buccaneers football. We look forward to revealing more details in the near future about our official unveiling event which will take place later this spring.”
As we wrote earlier this month, the Buccaneers have been hinting at trying to enhance their uniforms and there is some belief there will be more orange, the original color of the franchise. There is also educated speculation that the team may go back to a white helmet, which will enable them to have “throwback uniform games” that they’ve not been able to have for the last seven seasons.
This is because under league concussion protocol, players must have the same helmet all season and the Bucs primary one has been pewter in color since their chance in colors and logo in 1997,
The Bucs last altered their uniforms in 2014 by brightening the color red and slightly changing the logo and making it bigger on their pewter helmet. Teammates Ryan Jensen and Mike Evans are shown in the current color scheme, etc. above.
NFL teams have to submit changes in their colors and logos a year in advance. So obviously, this has been in the works for the Glazer family that owns the team for some time.
It should be noted that the Buccaneers NFC South Rivals, the Atlanta Falcons, have already made mention that they are changing their uniforms and color scheme. And, it’s believed that they will go back in 2020 to their original base color of red including possibly red helmets and potentially, primarily gray pants that they wore for over twenty years.
The Falcons have had black helmets for the better part of 30 years going back to Jerry Glanville changing the color scheme to primarily black jerseys in his days at the Falcons coach in the early 1990s.
Back to the Bucs. There is no other team in the NFL that has orange as their primary jersey color. The Bengals Broncos and Browns have occasionally worn orange “alternate jerseys” but not full time.
So, if the Glazers are again embracing a change to mostly orange jerseys, it will be unique. The video Monday showed a red jersey on a sewing machine, which could be a clue or could be misdirection of what the team actually intends to unveil in April.