(Our Paul Stewart, Editor of BucPower.com, the definitive historical website of the Tampa Bay Bucs, is back with some of his favorite and important meetings in the Buccaneers previous match-ups with the New England Patriots)
The all-time series with the Patriots is now led by the AFC team 6-2 after wins in their last three encounters. The 2009 game was a Tampa home game but was played in London, England as part of the NFL’s International Series. The first meeting came in the final game of the Buccaneers’ expansion season and completed their winless campaign.
Because of the current NFL scheduling changing in 2002 and the 2009 game taking place overseas, this will be the Patriots’ first visit to Tampa Bay for a regular season game in 20 years, the longest-such streak of any team visiting any other in NFL history.
12 December 1976
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 14 New England Patriots 31
The expansion season of Tampa Bay football had not been a good one and naturally John McKay’s team completed their winless 0-14 campaign with a season-ending loss to the play-off bound Patriots. But they gave a good account of themselves, being tied at 14-14 in the fourth quarter before the game got really strange.
The Bucs were driving for the go-ahead score when Sam Hunt intercepted Steve Spurrier and returned it for a touchdown. British kicker John Smith added a fieldgoal to extend the lead later in the final period to put the Patriots 24-14 ahead and they had the ball again in the dying seconds of the season.
Instead of taking a knee to run out the clock, New England called a time out with seven seconds left to allow QB Steve Grogan to score a record 12th rushing touchdown of a season by a quarterback. LB Steve Zabel then replaced Smith to boot the extra point.
There were surprisingly no complaints from McKay after the game and he focused on the end of a trying season for his first-year team. ” We are 0-14, I can’t say much more than that. I’ll probably take a little time off and go and hide somewhere.”
16 November 1997
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27 New England Patriots 7
1997 was the first year of Pewter Power as the Bucs had a new logo, new uniforms and a new stadium taking shape across the way from the Old Sombrero. And under second-year head coach Tony Dungy, they had a new attitude as well.
This game was not even close as until Dungy called the dogs off on defense in the fourth quarter, Drew Bledsoe’s offense had gained less than 100 yards, suffered five sacks and two interceptions. The Bucs led 27-0 after three quarters as they moved to 8-3 on the season on their way to their first playoff berth in 15 years.
“I was mad about losing the shutout,” DT Warren Sapp almot jokingly said having sat out the fourth quarter. “I’ve already choked Steve White a couple of times, and I’ve slapped Regan (Upshaw) around. I’ll get to the rest of them Monday.”
25 October 2009
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 7 New England Patriots 35
This was the third game to be played in London, England as part of the NFL International Series (See Above) and the first time the Buccaneers had played a regular season game outside of the USA. They did play a 2003 exhibition game against the Jets in Tokyo.
The Bucs were 0-6 coming across the Atlantic under first-year coach Raheem Morris and were 17-point underdogs against the powerhoue Patriots. The game naturally followed expectations and outside of a 33-yard touchdown pass from QB Josh Johnson to WR Antonio Bryant late in the second quarter, it was all New England. Late in the fourth quarter, rookie QB Josh Freeman saw his first live action in preparation for what would be his first NFL start a fortnight later after the bye week.
The only Buccaneer success of the weekend came a day before the game when a team of British Buccaneer fans defeated their Patriot counterparts in a touch-football game organised by NFL UK, their team bolstered by Super Bowl winners RB Mike Alstott and LB Shelton Quarles, and coached by Hall of Fame DE Lee Roy Selmon.
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.