A playoff guarantee for the Buccaneers | but how legit is it?

TAMPA – As sports guarantees go, this one doesn’t rank anywhere near Joe Namath’s famous pool-side guarantee in Miami that the Jets would beat the Colts in Super Bowl III.

Nor are we going to put it in the same class as Mark Messier guaranteeing that the New York Rangers would beat the New Jersey Devils and win Game 6 of the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals.

No, as sports guarantees go, this one is pretty lame, largely because it comes from sports-talk radio and TV host Adam Schein, but it’s May and it’s a guarantee and we thought Bucs fans might get a kick out of it.

So here it is:

Now, we’re sure Schein is not the only one making such a prediction. The Bucs are fast gaining steam as one of the teams most likely to emerge from the non-playoff pack and reach the postseason.

Surely Bucs fans feel the same way as Schein, who hasn’t always been on the Bucs bandwagon but is clearly developing an affinity for all things Buccaneers.

At the very least he’s a big fan of Bucs general manager Jason Licht, whom he lauded for the work LKicht has done in rebuilding the Bucs during an interview on his “Schein on Sports’’ shown on SiriusXM Radio last week.

And well he should have. Licht has clearly rebuilt the Bucs into playoff contenders, but we find it interesting that even Licht has dialed back his enthusiasm regarding the Bucs. He has publicly at least.

Well ahead of the start of Dirk Koetter’s first season as coach of the Bucs, Licht said he thought the Bucs would be a playoff team in 2016. They were good enough to make that leap, he said.

Now, we seriously doubt Licht feels any differently this year. In fact, we’re pretty sure he feels even better about the Bucs chances of breaking what is now a nine-year playoff drought.

If that’s true, though, Licht is keeping those feelings close to the vest, because he’s been asked several times this offseason to gauge the Bucs playoff chance and his response has always been quite subdued.

For example, FloridaFootballInsiders asked Licht during a pre-draft press conference whether he thought the Bucs were good enough to make the playoffs this year and typically, his answer was a bit muted.

“The way that we finished last year and the chemistry of this team and then our coaching staff that we have, I think we are a better team than we were last year,’’ Licht said. “So, I think that we are closer.’’

That’s hardly an emphatic statement, but that’s OK. A lot has to go right for even the most talented of teams to reach the playoffs so it’s best to leave the guarantees to the likes of Schein and the fans.

The feeling here is similar to that of Schein. Just as they proved a year ago, the Bucs are good enough to make the playoffs but maybe not quite good enough to control their own destiny through 16 weeks of games.

The likelihood then is that barring a catastrophe, the Bucs should at the very least spend the season contending for a playoff berth of some kind. That much we can and do safely guarantee.

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