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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Buccaneers have had some memorable Monday night games

Florida Football Insiders



Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

(As the Buccaneers get set to host the Atlanta Falcons on Monday Night, our resident Bucs historian, Paul Stewart of in London, has a few of what he believes are the top team moments on Monday night. As always, click the score for more, including photos and video of each game.)

This will be the 21st time the Bucs have appeared on the iconic show dating back to their debut in Soldier Field in 1980. They have also played in other incarnations of the show on Thursday and Saturday night editions but purely on Moinday nights, they own an 11-9 all-time record. Their last appearance was a win over the Carolina Panthers in October 2016.

Monday 12 December 1983 at Tampa Stadium
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 9 Green Bay Packers 12

After three playoff appearances in four years, the Bucs were seen as a good bet for a late season Monday night appearance but the departure of Doug Williams and a crippling injury list saw them enter this Week 15 clash at 2-12.

The game was a microcosm of the 1983 season with numerous missed chances as kicker Bill Capece missed a short field goal and then an extra point after Adger Armstrong’s touchdown run with 7:33 remaining. The Packers were able to tie the score on Jan Stenerud’s late field goal and then won it on another one in overtime. Bucs’ coach John McKay was succinct with his assessment of his kicker after the game – “Capece is kaput” he famously commented.

The game was also memorable for being Howard Cosell’s final appearance in the Monday Night booth as the mercurial presenter saw his long association with the show end after a series of personality clashes.


Monday 18 December 2000 at Raymond James Stadium
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 38 St.Louis Rams 35

After the epic defensive battle in the NFC Championship game in 1999 that the Rams took 11-6 on Ricky Proehl’s touchdown reception, ABC naturally wanted a re-match and the two teams went at it again just before Christmas the following year. What they got was one of the greatest offensive shoot-outs in league history.

The Bucs’ Warrick Dunn had over 100 yards on the ground, the Rams’ Torry Holt had 165 yards through the air and touchdowns and big plays were evident throughout. None bigger perhaps than Shaun King’s 29-yard run that came from a lateral from Dunn when it looked as if the Bucs were destined for a big loss. The gain set up Dunn’s winning touchdown with 48 seconds remaining. John Lynch then picked off Warner to seal the victory.

“We went to their place last year and played our game and they won it,” Bucs coach Tony Dungy said. “They came to our place and we got into their style of game and we won it. I guess it’s only fitting.”


Monday 6 October 2003 at Raymond James Stadium
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 35 Indianapolis Colts 38

Coming off their Super Bowl victory, the Bucs were given three Monday night games as a result of their popularity, a series that began with their season-opening victory in Philadelphia that opened Lincoln Financial Field. But their Week 4 game with the Indianapolis Colts would signal the beginning of the Super Bowl hangover for Jon Gruden’s team.

The Colts arrived in Tampa with a familiar face coaching them, Tony Dungy swopping his pewter colours for the white and blue. When he found his team 35-14 down with six minutes left after another Ronde Barber interception return touchdown, he turned to the one weapon he never had in Tampa, a game-winning quarterback.

Peyton Manning led three late drives and the Colts tied the scores on Ricky Williams’ touchdown run with 1:37 remaining. In overtime, he moved the Colts into position for Mike Vanderjagt’s fieldgoal which sailed wide right. But the Bucs’ Simeon Rice was called for a rare leaping penalty and the Indianapolis kicker made no mistake second time round to send the Bucs to a defeat which would haunt them for the rest of the year.

“The call was leaping” said referee Johnny Grier, who said umpire Ed Coukart made the call. “Leaping is when a player starting more than one yard off the line of scrimmage moving forward and jumping up and landing on a player.”


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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Buccaneers cornerstone player in 2018?

Florida Football Insiders



Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

(This is the first look at all three state NFL teams’ roster and identifying a player that we at F.F.I. believe is the foundation starter for their potential success in 2018)

It’s still a couple of weeks before the Buccaneers gather for training camp at One Buc Place and there’s already uncertainty everywhere. Off a disappointing showing down the stretch with a 5-11 finish in 2017, both head coach Dirk Koetter and GM Jason Licht were already feeling warmth under their seats.

Now, the perceived team leader, QB Jameis Winston, is suspended for the first three games of the season for violation of the NFL personal conduct policy. And, this has called into question whether he Winston is going to be on borrowed time himself, once he comes back.

So, who is the player that the Bucs will look to for leadership, stability and to help them get through tough times this year? Well, it’s not clear cut in Tampa Bay, but we have a strong guess.

If we are talking cornerstone player for 2018, we are talking yearly Pro Bowl DT Gerald McCoy.

The reasons are apparent.

McCoy has tenure in the Bucs locker room and has played at the high level for the past six seasons (under three different head coaches) and made the Pro Bowl in each one.

Most importantly, he provides a veteran presence to what is an uncertain situation.

And with the additions of former Eagles DE Vinny Curry in free agency, a trade for Giants Pro Bowler and Superbowl champion Jason Pierre Paul and the drafting of Washington All American DT Vita Vea in the first round, McCoy has more help than at any point in his career.

This means the former #1 pick out of Oklahoma will have a chance to excel, especially right away, this season.

Sure, the Bucs have a “franchise receiver” in Mike Evans, and gave him a huge extension in March. And they have one of the top star defenders in the NFL that few on the national level talk much about in LB LaVonte David.

However, with Winston’s future with the Buccaneers uncertain, Gerald McCoy is the guy to count on for this and the next few seasons.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Hall of Fame WR Randy mentoring Bucs QB Jameis Winston in Tampa

Florida Football Insiders



Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Controversy has followed Jameis Winston throughout his college and NFL careers and now, former controversial NFL star receiver turned ESPN analyst Randy Moss, is trying to help.

As you probably know by now, the Bucs QB is suspended for the first three games this season by the NFL for violation of the personal conduct policy after he inappropriately touched a female Uber driver in Arizona in 2016. It’s the latest in a long line of personal missteps and problems that have dogged Winston off the field, since his days at Florida State.

Meanwhile, Moss, who will be enshrined at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, OH, later this month, has been in Tampa recently working with and apparently trying to help mentor Winston.

Tampa TV station, Fox 13 and reporter Kevin O’Donnell, got exclusive comments from Moss on helping Winston on Tuesday:

“He’s doing things right,” Moss told the station.  “It’s a bump in the road…Man, just continue to fight. It happens…. What he did was wrong. You know. I’m not saying right or wrong. There was a woman involved. So, I’m not going to get into all of that. What he did was wrong. He know (sic) it was wrong. So, I think it’s up to him as a man to understand what he did wrong….to live and learn from it and let it go.”

Moss had early controversies and arrests in his own college career, as he was denied entry at Notre Dame and later kicked off the FSU football team while red-shirting for arrests and probation violations that led him to being back behind bars.

He later thrived at Marshall University, was a Heisman Trophy Finalist, a first round pick by the Vikings and had a 14 year career as one of the most explosive NFL receivers of all time. Moss, who caught for 1,000 or more yards in 10 NFL seasons and is second all time with 156 TD receptions, was voted into the Hall of Fame (above) in his first time on the ballot back in January.

Winston was shown by the station running sprints and making throws to some other prospective NFL receivers at the workout Tuesday, but refused to talk on camera. He has not spoken publicly, since the NFL suspended him two weeks ago. He told the station he will talk at Bucs training camp later in July.

As for Moss, he further said Tuesday that he’s trying to give Winston and other young players advice from his own experiences and failures off the field.

“One of the things that I always told my people: ‘Don’t be scared or shy to tell me no, because I check my pride in at the door….I’ll thank you later, you know, when I’m not behind bars, or when I’m still on a football team.” Moss continued, “A lot of these guys don’t realize that they’re being watched under a microscope and they don’t realize it until it happens to them and they’re out of  job.”

At this point, the fourth year Bucs QB Winston, has to realize that he is on the verge of being out of a job in Tampa. That’s if he doesn’t respond well from the suspension by staying out of trouble and performing well on the field.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

New Bucs DE Jason Pierre Paul still great reminder of July 4th safety

Florida Football Insiders



Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

The Buccaneers are excited to see what former USF and New York Giants star Jason Pierre-Paul can do on the field in Tampa Bay this fall. After being acquired in a trade with the G-men in March, Pierre Paul hopes to energize an almost non-existent Bucs pass rush from last year.

One thing is for sure, as much as he’s known for being a star on the field, Pierre Paul has become a reminder of “what not to do” and specifically fireworks safety on July 4th.

It was three years ago Wednesday night that Pierre Paul’s decision to celebrate and ignite amateur hand-held fireworks in South Florida led to a horrific and potentially, career threatening right hand injury.

But, out of what could have been football tragedy involving his  hand, Pierre-Paul has made a comeback and is now a national PSA symbol for firework safety.

The beginning of Pierre Paul’s football story is the Deerfield Beach, as a native of Hatian immigrant parents playing  as a Juco star in both California and Kansas. Then, he was brought back to Florida, by coach Jim Leavitt and staff, as USF’s dominant pass rusher in 2009. That year he attained All Big East honors with 6.5 sacks and 16.5 tackles for loss for the Bulls.

This fast tracked Pierre Paul to the NFL after only one season in Tampa and he was drafted 15th overall by the Giants in the 2010 NFL Draft.

After a rookie year with 4.5 sacks, he burst on the pro scene in season two with 16.5 sacks for the G-men leading to a Pro Bowl selection and was part of the New York Superbowl victory over the Patriots that February.

Pierre-Paul continued to be regarded as the Giants most consistent pass rushing threat and had another double digit sack season with 12.5 in 2014.

Then came the off season of 2015, where he chose not to sign his one year Franchise Player free agent tender (the Giants still had his exclusive rights) seeking a longer term deal. And, he remained unsigned as of July 4th that year.

That night in 2015 he loaded up a van with handheld amateur fireworks and with friends and neighbors began shooting them off until one obviously malfunctioned and mangled his right hand. Pierre-Paul was hospitalized and eventually had multiple surgeries on the hand and his right index finger amputated.

The Giants stood by him, when they could have dumped him for non-football injury, and he eventually made his way back onto the field in November of 2015. Signing a “pro rated” week to week one year deal, his debut came as New York traveled to Raymond James Stadium (Pierre-Paul’s USF home for a season) and he played with a padded “club” protecting his right hand against the Bucs.

He would play in eight total games that season with one sack and then, as further proof of the Giants being in his corner, they re-signed him on a one year $10 million deal for 2016. Pierre-Paul then worked a year ago with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission on a July 4th fireworks safety video:

The gnarly image and video of Pierre-Pauls right hand is obviously the deterrent the agency is looking for with the PSA campaign about safety. He played 2016 with a special padded glove to protect the hand/fingers registering another seven sacks before being placed on I.R. with a sports hernia.

Finally, and happiest of all financial endings after the fireworks disaster, Pierre-Paul inked a four year $62 million deal with $40 million guaranteed in March of last year to stay, so he thought, in New York.

Alas, the Giants had a nightmare of a 2017 season that finished at 3-13. Pierre-Paul had a solid season with 8.5 sacks and 68 total tackles despite the dismal team finish.
Then, Bucs GM Jason Licht swung the deal for Pierre-Paul and Tampa Bay agreed to assume his $12.1 million dollar salary for 2018.

So, while it all worked out in the end, obviously, the Jason Pierre-Paul July 4th fireworks mess could have had a much different ending all the way around for he, the Giants and now, the Bucs.

It’s a reminder to stay safe Wednesday night. Leave the handheld fireworks to someone else.

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