The Tampa Bay Buccaneers Buccaneers defeated their NFC South rival, the Carolina Panthers, on Sunday by a score of 32-6. The Buccaneers also clinched their first NFC South Championship for the first time since the 2007 season. Jon Gruden coached them during that era, and the quarterback was Jeff Garcia. Current Bucs quarterback Tom Brady led the New England Patriots to an undefeated regular season and went to play in Super Bowl XLII against the New York Giants led by Eli Manning. The Giants upset the undefeated Patriots and knocked off the 9-7 Bucs in the 2007 NFC Wildcard playoffs.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers would not see another winning season until 2016, and they missed the playoffs but finished the year 9-7. They would return to the playoffs in 2020 when a brand new era began after Tampa Bay brought in longtime Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. Tampa Bay would not win the NFC South in 2020 due to being swept in the regular season by NFC South rival the New Orleans Saints. The Buccaneers would see the Saints again in the NFC Divisional Round and would defeat New Orleans 30-20.
It was a frustrating time in Tampa during the eleven-year playoff drought. The Buccaneers went through five coaches during that time, and thankfully the playoff drought was not as long as the fifteen-year playoff drought until the Bucs returned to the playoffs in the 1997 season during the Tony Dungy era. After their first division championship in 1979, the Buccaneers would not win the division again until 1999.
What more can the Buccaneers still accomplish? There are two more games left on the schedule. If they win out, they will finish 13-4; that would be the most wins in franchise history. Tampa Bay, of course, can win back-to-back Super Bowl Championships. Bruce Arians said he wants to add a few more banners in Raymond James Stadium, which gave the Bucs some fuel in their win at Carolina on Sunday, which clinched the NFC South Championship.
This week, the Buccaneers will head to Metlife Stadium against the New York Jets, who are coming off a win against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jets have not had the best season, but Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski are very familiar with them. Still, the Buccaneers should not take them lightly, so I think they should have very little trouble with the Jets at the most.
Written by Zach Blaine