(As the Buccaneers get set to host the Atlanta Falcons on Monday Night, our resident Bucs historian, Paul Stewart of BucPower.com 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.)
THE BUCS ON MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
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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