(As the Bucs prepare to host the Giants this afternoon, our resident Bucs historian from London, Paul Stewart, gives us his top moments in their meetings, as archived on his Bucpower.com site.)
The all-time series with the Giants is now led 13-6 by the team from the Big Apple thanks to their wins in the last four encounters. Although the Bucs and Giants are in different divisions, they twice played each other home and away in a season thanks to the NFL’s original 5th place finish schedule. They also met in the 2007 Wild Card game that the Giants won on their way to winning the Super Bowl that season.
24 November 2003
This was a Monday Night game so full of all the off-field antics and mayhem that happens to an NFL stadium when the iconic series arrives. The Bucs were defending Super Bowl champions so had three appearances in 2003 including an earlier one against the Colts that featured one of the worst losses in franchise history.
The 2003 Bucs were larger than life in so many ways and one of their most outspoken players, Keyshawn Johnson, had finally pushed the coaching staff too far in the week leading up to this game and was suspended for the remainder of the season. The Bucs could not afford to release him because of salary cap issues so for the final six weeks of the year, he was a gameday inactive. Naturally his absence was a major talking point for Al Michaels and John Madden.
On the field, the Bucs did not miss him at all in this win over the Giants. Little-used Charles Lee stepped up and had a 53-yard scoring pass from Brad Johnson as the Bucs jumped out to a 14-3 half-time lead and then sat back to allow their still mighty defense to pummel Giants’ QB Kerry Collins into two interceptions and three sacks.
“These guys have been scrutinized a lot,” said Coach Jon Gruden of his defense. “They did a great job when they needed to.”
6 January 2008
The Buccaneers have not made the post-season in 10 years and this was their last appearance. It was one last hurrah for some of the remaining Super Bowl defense as Derrick Brooks and Ronde Barber appeared in an NFL play-off for the last time. And Jon Gruden would only last one more season before departing Tampa for the commentary booth.
Led by Jeff Garcia, the Bucs took an early lead and seemed on their way to earning their pre-game favourite title. But the wild-card Giants came back with 24 unanswered points and began a roll that would end with their stunning upset of the undefeated Patriots in the Super Bowl.
Jon Gruden (photo post game above) had been critcised for resting many of his starters over the final two weeks of the regular season when the playoff berth was clinched but his players refused to use this as an excuse. “It wasn’t rust; we just didn’t play well,” LB Barrett Ruud said. “The question is always going to be did we get too much rest or should we have played more, but I think Bill Parcells said it best. ‘You’re not right unless you win.'”
16 September 2012
You would think that a team passing for over 510 yards would be the lead story in the NFL. Not when Greg Schiano was the head coach of the Buccaneers. As the Giants moved into victory formation to take a knee and run out the final seconds of the game, Schiano ordered his defense to crash the line and try and force a fumble. It did not work and it led to a storm around the NFL that is remembered to this day.
Giants coach’ Tom Coughlin approached Schiano after the game with his finger pointed, walked away then returned to yell at him for about 15 seconds before shaking his hand. “I don’t think you do that at this level,” Coughlin said. “I don’t think you do that in this league.”
The Bucs led by two touchdowns nearing the end of the fourth quarter and then Eli Manning got going with his aerial attack. The most yards ever allowed by a Tampa Bay defense through the air and only three yards short of Phil Simms’ franchise record.