Bucs Thursday Throwback Offers Up A Look At Memorable Moments

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In Bucs Throwback Thursday, I take an occasional stroll down reminiscence lane and provide up my very own private perception and anecdotes on days passed by in Tampa Bay soccer historical past.

Every column earlier than providing up a brand new Bucs Throwback Thursday, I pay my respects to the late, nice former sports activities editor of The Tampa Tribune, Tom McEwen, who typically began his column “Breakfast Bonus” describing a big southern-style breakfast intimately earlier than turning the column again to sports activities.

Over your three fried eggs over medium, the place the yolk doesn’t run, it simply crawls in direction of your stone floor yellow grits from Rick’s Customized Meats in Pinecrest, and 4 hyperlinks of Uncle John’s Nation Sausage made proper right here in Tampa, chased down with a tall glass of recent squeezed Lake Buffum grapefruit juice, right here’s this version of Throwback Thursday.

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Final week in my The Hook column, within the closing part referred to as Cannon Blast, I provided up my least favourite Bucs I’ve lined in my on-and-off 25 seasons of overlaying Tampa Bay soccer. In fact there have been tons of extra nice gamers I lined than those who have been actual jerks. However I figured what the heck? Every little thing isn’t at all times unicorns and rainbows. The purpose of this rambling is to say out of every little thing I wrote within the column, that half was essentially the most commented on, so I assume it was them most loved.

It’s been some time since I did a Throwback column and with me happening a much-needed trip starting on Friday I don’t actually have many mind cells left to do some elaborate evaluation piece or sturdy opinionated column. I do know you’re laughing, however I do in actual fact nonetheless have some mind cells left. It’s simply those nonetheless churning in my noggin are already on the seaside ready on me to hitch them.

So on this week’s column I made a decision to tug the curtain again a bit and share the within lifetime of a reporter and share a few of my reminiscences – good and dangerous and the downright ugly. Keep in mind, my mind is already in trip mode.

The Good

Bucs Return To The Playoffs – Lastly

Let’s begin off with flashback from December 28, 1997 towards the Detroit Lions.

It got here when the Buccaneers, in Tony Dungy’s second season, returned to the postseason for the primary time since 1982 and first residence playoff sport since 1979. For a child who grew up with orange and white footie pajamas ordered from the Sears catalog, it was surreal to see Tampa Bay again within the playoffs to face the Detroit Lions.

I used to be working half time for Pewter Report, or Buccaneer Journal because it was referred to as again then. And sure, it was {a magazine} – effectively, a newspaper actually. My job was to assist a younger Scott Reynolds collect quotes within the Bucs locker room. Now once I say working, it was just about without spending a dime. Though I did get a Trent Dilfer duplicate jersey for my troubles that yr, which for some motive I nonetheless have.

However I knew I wished to be in sports activities and Reynolds gave me that chance to craft my writing expertise, however primarily it acquired me into the video games without spending a dime, and naturally the locker room.

Tony Dungy – Picture by: Mark Prepare dinner/PR

Again then within the outdated Tampa Stadium, which was huge and infrequently crammed to capability, the press field was outdated. It was small and cramped, so somebody like myself (not essential) was credentialed, however I needed to really sit within the stands as a substitute of getting a seat within the press field as I do now. My dad and my brother purchased tickets to the sport and their seats have been within the nostril bleeds, however simply exterior the press field which was handy. Though I didn’t have a seat inside, I may come out and in to make use of the restroom –the place Raiders proprietor Al Davis as soon as peed on my shoe, however that’s a narrative for one more time – nevertheless it additionally acquired me free meals. Ding! Ding! Ding!

Whereas it wasn’t an elaborate unfold like now we have now, with carving stations, a number of aspect objects, desserts and bananas foster at halftime, it was nice meals. The Bucs had a gentleman named Jose who made essentially the most unbelievable Cuban sandwiches and home made salsa I’ve even tasted.

Let’s simply say my dad and brother didn’t need to spend a single greenback for concessions that sport. I’m positive the press field attendant questioned how on the earth one individual may drink 11 Cokes, eat six Cubans, and a gallon of salsa and chips.

Sorry, Glazer household. Hopefully the statute of limitations has run out and I can’t be charged with grand theft. Additionally any probability we are able to discover Jose and rent him to make the Cubans at Raymond James Stadium?

Anyway, on to the sport. It was a breezy late afternoon sport and anybody who has been on the prime of the outdated Tampa Stadium in late December is aware of as soon as the solar pale beneath the horizon how chilly it could get, particularly with a stiff north wind. The Bucs constructed a 20–0 lead halfway via the third quarter behind operating again Mike Alstott’s 31-yard landing run, a Horace Copeland TD catch and and two Michael Husted area objectives. The Bucs protection held  Barry Sanders to 18 carries for simply 65 yards and Frank Reich changed Scott Mitchell at quarterback after he suffered a concussion within the third quarter.

Detroit did rating 10 late factors to shut the hole. However the comeback wasn’t to be. After a protracted cross on third down throughout the closing minutes of the sport, Reich by accident spiked the ball on fourth down, ending the sport. See, Tom – forgetting what down it’s occurs to a whole lot of quarterbacks.

The sport ended with fireworks and the Bucs have been postseason winners for the primary time since they beat the Eagles 24-17 in 1979. The drought was over, and whereas they’d lose at Inexperienced Bay the next week, the muse was set for what can be a Tremendous Bowl wining workforce simply 5 years later.

One final notice, that sport was the ultimate residence sport at Tampa Stadium because the Buccaneers would transfer into Raymond James Stadium the following yr. I typically take into consideration why I didn’t pay extra consideration once I was within the locker room that night. I didn’t take a single image from inside the place a few of my childhood greats as soon as roamed – like Lee Roy Selmon, Ricky Bell, Jimmie Giles, John McKay and others I grew up idolizing. I ought to have requested to take one thing residence, however for no matter motive – perhaps the thrill of the win – I simply wasn’t pondering clearly.

The Unhealthy

The Firings 

Let’s face it. I’ve seen a whole lot of dangerous within the final 11 years of doing this full-time, and also you as Bucs followers have, too. Right here’s a partial checklist of issues.

The ten-game shedding streak in 2011 to finish Raheem Morris’ tenure. Chip Kelly backing out on the final minute for the pinnacle teaching job. Greg Schiano and his, “Toes on the road” mantra. The cornerback Eric Wright free agent signing. The rise and fall and full meltdown of Josh Freeman. The eight-game shedding streak to begin Schiano’s second season. The Darrelle Revis commerce that lasted only one season. Kicker Lawrence Tynes suing the Bucs. Free brokers Josh McCown, Michael Johnson, and Anthony Collins. Lovie Smith’s two years that included the epic meltdown in Washington within the Kirk Cousin’s “You want that?” sport.

Who can neglect the Bucs pulling starters at halftime towards the Saints to finish the 2014 season? The Jameis Winston vs. Marcus Mariota debate that listed for months earlier than the draft. The 2016 draft with Vernon Hargreaves and buying and selling up for kicker Roberto Aguayo. Onerous Knocks. DeSean Jackson. Chris Baker leaping offsides towards the Packers, who beat Tampa Bay late with Brett Hundley at quarterback. Ouch! Mike Smith’s smooth defensive scheme. Brent Grimes and spouse Miko’s Twitter rants. Double ouch! The London debacle in 2019. Winston turning into the league’s first 30/30 QB in NFL historical past.

Former Bucs head coach Greg Schiano and ex-QB Josh Freeman - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Former Bucs head coach Greg Schiano and ex-QB Josh Freeman – Picture by: Cliff Welch/PR

What did I miss Bucs followers? Lots. These have been simply the lowlights with loads of different miserable and embarrassing issues in between.

However yet another factor via all of it I by no means appreciated and bothered me have been the firings of teaching staffs. Regardless of liking some coaches lower than others, it was by no means a pleasing expertise to see head coaches and their staffs fired. I bear in mind my first full-time yr in 2011 when a member of the general public relations workers got here down the steps the Monday following the workforce’s tenth straight loss to shut that season and handed us a sheet of paper with a press launch saying Morris had been fired. Then having to go within the locker room because the gamers cleaned out their lockers and interview them about Morris being let go.

If you happen to haven’t been in that scenario, it’s onerous to clarify. Whereas it isn’t life or loss of life, the temper may be very somber. It jogs my memory of if you mill round in a funeral residence ready for the service to start. Quiet tones, some disbelief, and a whole lot of awkwardness.

Two years later we did it throughout with Schiano, once more on a Monday. A public relations workers member got here into the media room and gave us the sheet telling us Schiano and common supervisor Mark Dominik had been let go. Twenty minutes later Dominik himself got here into the media room and one after the other got here to every media member and stated his goodbyes. That one was powerful. Regardless of loads of criticism to throw Dominik’s method, it was nonetheless powerful to see him in that way of thinking and with tears in his eyes. I’ll always remember him, simply as he walked again out the door stopping and turning to is and saying, “15 years I’ve been with this group – 15 years.”

The cruel actuality of residing and dying by wins and losses within the NFL.

Two years later it was Lovie Smith, then three seasons later it was Dirk Koetter. 4 coaches employed with a lot pleasure and 4 fired in miserable type.

The Downright Ugly

MRSA, MRSA, MRSA! (In my Jan Brady voice)

Every little thing that might go improper, did go improper for the Buccaneers in 2013. It began with a controversial captain’s vote and Freeman lacking the workforce photograph. Then a loss to open the season towards the Jets, a sport through which Freeman overslept and was practically left on the workforce resort.

It acquired worse.

Eight losses to begin the season and a rookie in Mike Glennon pressured to turn into the starter after Freeman was launched. All of it culminated with a 4-12 season and the firing of Schiano and Dominik after a 42-17 thrashing by the Saints in New Orleans. However of all these items the worst half hasn’t even been touched on.

MRSA. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. A extremely spreadable an infection that drew nationwide consideration to the Buccaneers. And never the great sort. If you find yourself in the midst of a catastrophe of a season you suppose you’ve seen all of it. And I did. Till MRSA confirmed up.

Former Bucs WR Vincent Jackson, CB Eric Wright and G Carl Nicks

Former Bucs WR Vincent Jackson, CB Eric Wright and G Carl Nicks – Picture by: Cliff Welch/PR

Guard Carl Nicks and Tynes have been recognized as having MRSA in August. It didn’t begin off as an enormous deal as these issues sometimes occur within the sports activities world and even in common life, notably in hospital and medical environments. However this breakout value two folks their careers and even a part of their toes. Each Tynes and Nicks had quite a lot of surgical procedures to cease the unfold however each by no means performed soccer once more. And Tynes and the Bucs ended up being concerned in a nasty lawsuit.

A 3rd participant contracted the antibiotic-resistant an infection, Johnathan Banks, and the Bucs needed to spend six figures having your entire constructing sanitized.

“We had an organization are available and nuke the constructing per week in the past after the cultures taken from Nicks and Tynes confirmed it was MRSA,” common supervisor Mark Dominik advised Chris Mortensen in 2013. “It was a precautionary transfer, however we didn’t need to idiot with it. Our house owners stated spare no expense; we had the power handled, and the league workplace authorised of our actions.”

As a reporter typically you suppose you’ve seen all of it. Then one thing else occurs to blow your thoughts. That might be the 2013 MRSA season and it actually hit me as I sat within the Bucs major auditorium listening to a Duke College professor clarify MRSA and the way it’s unfold and the way it’s contained. The Bucs actually had to usher in a world-wide main knowledgeable in infectious illnesses to fulfill with the media and seek the advice of with the workforce on methods to rid the constructing of MRSA.

Unreal.

It was a tough stretch for you followers, but in addition for the media members that lined the workforce alongside the best way. Luckily the Glazers and common supervisor Jason Licht discovered the correct coach in Bruce Arians and simply and importantly, the correct quarterback in Tom Brady. I’ll be trustworthy, there have been days once I questioned if I might ever cowl a successful soccer workforce once more – a lot much less a Tremendous Bowl workforce. That’s what made sitting in a cool Raymond James Stadium final February and seeing the Buccaneers win Tremendous Bowl LV this yr that rather more particular.

Right here’s to a different 11 seasons of overlaying the Buccaneers and some extra Tremendous Bowls between every now and then. However please depart any MRSA on the door. Thanks.

Wait, why is my toe beginning to itch?

Throwback Video

Right here is the Bucs’ playoff win over the Lions from 1997. Click on the Watch on YouTube hyperlink beneath.



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