Our pleasure to welcome guest columnist/writer Paul Stewart of BucPower.com, the premier historical site of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Paul is actually based in London, England but knows, has watched and written on everything Bucs for over 30 years. Each week in conjunction with his site, he’ll feature his top games the Buccaneers have played in their history against that week’s opponent for us. Enjoy!
THE BUCS AND THE BEARS
The Bucs and Bears have met 57 times in all dating back to the 1977 season, most of those being the twice-yearly NFC Central showdowns when the two teams were part of the same division. Chicago leads the overall series 38-19 but the Bucs won the most recent meeting in November 2016 by a score of 36-10.
The Bears won 12 straight games between 1983 and 1988 with the Bucs owning a six-game win streak from 1997 to 2000. The 2011 game was played in London, England as part of the NFL’s International Series.
30 September 1979
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 17 Chicago Bears 13
Sports Illustrated had made the 1979 Bucs their cover story after the previous week’s win over the Rams. “Unbeaten, untied, unbelievable” was the headline as LB Dewey Selmon flattened another Ram player. Now came a trip to Soldier Field and for the first time probably in their four-year history, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were expected to win.
And thanks to a 54-yard, 10-play drive in the fourth quarter that ended with Doug Williams 8-yard scoring pass to Isaac Hagins with 5:07 remaining, the Bucs made it to 5-0. RB Jerry Eckwood rushed for 120 yards including a 61-yard scoring run in the second quarter on Coach John McKay’s famous “Student Body Right” play from his days at USC.
Interceptions by CB Jeris White and S Cedric Brown stopped the final two Chicago drives to secure a win that proved decisive in tie-breaker scenarios at the end of the season.
2 January 1983
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 26 Chicago Bears 23
The strike-shortened 1982 season saw a nine-game regular season and eight teams in each conference making an enlarged post-season tournament. The 4-4 Bucs had to win to qualify but found themselves 23-6 down midway through the third quarter of the final game at home to the Bears.
QB Doug Williams passed for 367 yards, with two scores to TE Jimmie Giles. K Bill Capece tied the score with a 40-yard fieldgoal with 26 seconds remaining and after RB James Wilder rushed 47 yards on the Bucs’ first play of overtime, Capece converted a 33-yarder to win it for Tampa Bay.
One of the key plays in the game came late in the first quarter when Doug Williams was hit and fumbled but then chased down DT Steve McMichael after a 64-yard return to the Tampa 8. The Buc defense held the the Bears to a fieldgoal which turned out to be decisive in the long run.
“We got another heart check and we got another gut check today,” Coach John McKay said. “I believe I am the oldest coach in this league. I was 29 when the season started.”
8 October 1989
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 42 Chicago Bears 35
The Bucs had waited six years for success since Doug Williams had left and the 1989 season was supposed to be when it happened. Ray Perkins’ team was in its third season and Vinny Testaverde had apparently turned a corner and become the franchise quarterback the No.1 overall selection was expected to be.
And on a hot October afternoon in Tampa, it all came good for the Buccaneer offense. Six touchdowns, three through the air from Testaverde and a 100-yard ground game from Lars Tate and the Bucs put 42 points up on the once-great Chicago defense. The NFL awared their NFC Offensive Player of the Week award to the entire Tampa Bay offense.
The Bears did come back to make the score more respectable with Jim Harbaugh leading a fourth quarter revival but this was Tampa’s day as was the return game later in the season when the two offenses exploded in the final five minutes in a wild 32-31 Buccaneer victory.
“This was a great win for the franchise and for the team,” Ray Perkins said after the game. “This kind of win can go a long way toward getting us over the hump. This is the kind of win you build on.”
Unfortunately the hump returned a week later when the Bucs surprisingly lost at home to a poor Detroit team and embarked on a five-game losing streak that ruined another season of dreams for Buccaneer fans.
The Bucs and Bears in Hollywood
The long-running success the Bears had over the Buccaneers in those years led to a story line in a 1990 episode of the TV show “L.A.Law” when a supposed Bears season ticket holder sued the franchise for a refund on his tickets saying that he had been promised a successful playoff team. “They even lost to Tampa Bay … twice” was one of the immortal lines that also had Mike Ditka making a cameo appearance.
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.
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