2021 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|Established 1976 |
Play in Raymond James Stadium,
National Football League (1976–present)
|Team colors||Buccaneer Red, Pewter, Bay Orange, and Black|
|General Manager||Jason Licht|
|Head Coach||Bruce Arians|
Team Nicknames The Bucs, Pewter Pirates
|League Championships (2)
|Conference Championships (2)
|Division Championships (6)
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are a team in the National Football League. Located in Tampa, Florida, the team plays their home games at Raymond James Stadium and are part of the NFC South division. They joined the league in 1976 as an expansion team, along with the Seattle Seahawks. The team is currently owned by the Glazer family. Though they had a rough start in the 70’s and 90’s, including going 0-26 in their first two seasons of play, they have become a recent contender for the Super Bowl during the 21st century. The team has appeared in two Super Bowls; the first being Super Bowl XXXVII, which they won 48-21 over the Oakland Raiders, thanks to their defense of intercepting Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon 5 times, 3 in which, returned for touchdowns. Eighteen years later, in their second appearance, they defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 31-9 in Super Bowl LV.
- 1 1976-82 John McKay Era
- 2 1983-1996 Long Lean Years
- 3 1997-99 New Logo and Colors, New Image, New Direction
- 4 2002-07 John Gruden Era: World Champions
- 5 Logos/Uniforms
- 6 Personnel
- 7 References
- 8 External link
1976-82 John McKay Era
The Buccaneers started in 1976 under the ownership of Ted McClowsky, a construction company owner from Philadelphia. Though he quickly was replaced by a wealthy tax attorney named Hugh Culverhouse after McClowsky ran into some financial problems. In a Name-The-Team contest, the name "Buccaneers" was chosen for the team. Tampa Bay joined the NFL as members of the AFC West. Longtime USC Coach John McKay was recruited as the Buccaneers’ first head coach. The Expansion draft was not too courteous to the Bucs as they were left with aged veterans and other untalented players that were cut from other teams. Despite McKay’s coaching ability, the Bucs looked out of it and barely showed up. For the 1977 season, the Bucs were switched to the NFC Central, but that did not change their luck as they ended up losing an NFL record 26 straight games, until they claimed their first win defeating the New Orleans Saints.
1978 was another losing season, but a diamond in the rough finally showed up in the Bucs organization as they acquired QB Doug Williams.
1979-80 Quick surge into Playoffs
In 1979 Tampa Bay had their first winning season as they went 10-6 and made the playoffs for the first time ever. They were led by Doug Williams, RB Ricky Bell, and Future Hall of Famer Lee Roy Selmon on defense. They then won their first division title after a tiebreaker with the Chicago Bears. In the playoffs, they upset the Philadelphia Eagles and hosted the NFC Championship game against the St. Louis Rams. They would lose that game 9-0.
In 1980, the Bucs would finish last in the division with a record of 5-10-1.
1981: Another Division title
In 1981, the Buccaneers did not play the best football, but a late 3 game winning streak, they found themselves in playoff position. However, after a heartbreaking 1-point loss at home to the San Diego Chargers, the Bucs needed a win over the Lions in Detroit to win the division. The game was close through out, but Doug Williams hit WR Kevin House on an 84-yard TD strike to lift the Bucs to a 20-17 win. Unfortunately, their season would end quickly with a 38-0 shellacking from the Cowboys in Dallas.
1982 QB Doug Williams defects to USFL
That season started just as poorly for the Bucs, as they went 0-2 before a player's strike shut down the NFL for seven weeks. When the league resumed play, the Bucs were nicknamed the "Cardiac Kids" for winning 5 of their final 6 games, all in the final moments, to go 5-4 and qualify for playoffs. In the first round, the Bucs once again faced the Cowboys at home in Dallas, but put up a much better fight, leading the game at the half. Tampa Bay lost 30-17.After the season, Doug Williams asked for a $400,000 dollar pay raise, and despite McKay’s pleads, the Bucs didn’t give it too him and Williams left for the USFL.
1983-1996 Long Lean Years
1982 would be the last winning regular season until 1990. After Doug Williams left, the Bucs immediately bottomed out at 2-14 in 1983, and started a string of 14 consecutive losing seasons. Included in their misery was the drafting of Heisman Trophy winner Bo Jackson with the first pick in the 1986 NFL Draft. Jackson never suited up for the Bucs, instead deciding to play baseball for the Kansas City Royals. Jackson would later return for parts of football seasons with the Los Angeles Raiders. Coach John McKay stepped down after the 1986 season and allowed former Atlanta Falcons coach Leeman Bennett to take over the coaching duties. Bennett who was optimistic about the Bucs was quickly replaced after two 2-14 seasons and replaced by New York Giants coach Ray Perkins. Perkins brought discipline and “three-a-day” practices to Tampa, but it turned out for the worst as the team was just too tired on game day, and the losses stacked up. He was then fired as assistant coach Richard Williamson took over, but he too was fired, right after the 1991 season, only serving a year on the job.
Sam Wyche was then hired to be the next coach of the Bucs. Wyche had coached the Bengals to a Super Bowl appearance. There was improvement under Wyche, as the Bucs would go on to draft key defensive players Warren Sapp, John Lynch, and Derrick Brooks. In 1994, the Bucs' original owner Hugh Culverhouse died after battling with cancer. Along with his death a new era of ownership, a brilliant new young head coach, would be ushered in for the Bucs organization.
1997-99 New Logo and Colors, New Image, New Direction
1997: Tony Dungy Era: Bucs finally back in playoffs
After the death of owner Hugh Culverhouse, his son filed for bankruptcy, which put the team’s future (at least in Tampa) in jeopardy. Culverhouse's son, Hugh, Jr. had at first planned to sell the team to either New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner or Baltimore Orioles Owner Peter Angelos. However in a surprising move, local entrepenuer and businessman Malcolm Glazer outbid both of them with a $192 million dollar bid, the largest price ever paid for a professional sports franchise. He then put his sons in charge of the team, and the family's deep pockets and serious commitment to fielding a winning team — in Tampa — finally allowed the Bucs to become competitive. The team's performance dramatically improved when the Glazers hired Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator Tony Dungy as head coach, jettisoned the old uniform designs (see below), and convinced Hillsborough County voters to raise sales taxes to fund the construction of Raymond James Stadium.
During Dungy's first season in 1996, the team continued to struggle, starting the season 1–8. But in the second half of the season they finished 5–2, primarily due to the performance of a defense ranked seventh in the NFL led by Hardy Nickerson and the maturing of Wyche's draftees Brooks, Lynch, and Sapp. Dungy, with his even-tempered personality, quickly brought balance and morale to the team, and his Cover 2 defensive scheme, sharpened to perfection by defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin and linebackers coach Lovie Smith, became the foundation for Tampa Bay's future success. Their version of Cover 2 was so successful that it became known as the Tampa 2. It has been brought to the Chicago Bears by Smith, Detroit Lions by Rod Marinelli, Kansas City Chiefs by Herman Edwards and to the Indianapolis Colts by Dungy himself, and copied by several other teams.The hire of longtime NFL defensive assistant coach and hot head coaching prospect Dungy to be the new head coach, at the time, only the third African-American in modern NFL history to be hired for such a position. In Dungy’s first season (1996), the Bucs started off 1-8, before finishing 5-2, mainly due their defense and the rising of their former draft picks.
In their final season at Houlihan’s Stadium, the Bucs made it back to the playoffs as everything came together in 1997. They went 10-6 and went to the playoffs as the wild card team. Disappointingly, they lost to the Packers in the NFC Championship.
With high expectations, and in the all-new Raymond James Stadium, the Bucs lost several close games and finished with a disappointing 8-8.
1999 turned out much better with a surprising season by rookie QB Shaun King and the Bucs defense. The Bucs D turned out to be number 1 that season, and Shaun King helped lead the team to their third Central Division title and finished them at 10-6 once again. They then marched into the playoffs edging out the Washington Redskins in the first round, but in the next round they were dropped by the St. Louis Rams 13-6 in a controversial finish.
2000-01 Playoff disappointments: Dungy firing
Dungy was released from his head coaching job by the Buccaneers organization following a disappointing loss to the Philadelphia Eagles 31-9 in the Wildcard Round of 2001 and soon thereafter, hired by Indianapolis Colts GM Bill Polian to be the new head coach of the Colts, while the Bucs mounted a prolonged and much-maligned search for his replacement. Several potential candidates were offered the job, including University of Florida head coach Steve Spurrier, former New York Giants head coach Bill Parcells, and Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis. Spurrier jumped to the Redskins when he was offered the most lucrative salary package ever offered to an NFL head coach, and Parcells eventually passed on the Bucs' offer--the second time he had done so in the history of the franchise. Bucs general manager Rich McKay threw his support behind Lewis, who was fast becoming one of the top prospects in the NFL assistant coaching pool at the time; he would eventually land his big head coaching opportunity in 2003, upon his selection by Bengals GM Mike Brown to become the Cincinnati Bengals next head coach, the fourth African-American in modern NFL history, and the first in the Bengals' franchise history.
2002-07 John Gruden Era: World Champions
Head Coaching Moves
The Glazer brothers were so displeased with the selection of yet another defensive-minded coach that they overruled McKay and took control of the candidate search themselves. They made it clear that their top choice was Jon Gruden. The problem was that he was still under contract to the Oakland Raiders.
While talks with the Raiders were secretly under way, the Glazers publicly pursued another respected offensive mind, San Francisco 49ers head coach Steve Mariucci. Just when initial reports indicated that Mariucci had agreed to become both the Bucs' head coach and their general manager, Raiders owner Al Davis agreed to release Jon Gruden to Tampa Bay.
The Glazers' shrewd move eventually paid off in acquiring Gruden, but it cost the team dearly. The team hired Gruden away from the Raiders on February 20, 2002, but the price was four draft picks, including the Bucs' first and second round picks in 2002, their first round pick in 2003, and their second round pick in 2004, along with $8 million in cash; the league as a result prohibited any further trading of draft picks for coaches. Gruden, who was frustrated by the limitation of his coaching authority by Davis, was more than pleased to return to Tampa Bay, as his parents lived nearby, and he had spent part of his childhood in Tampa in the early 1980s when his father had worked as a Bucs running back, coach, and director of player personnel.
- Main article: 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Upon his arrival in Tampa, Gruden immediately went to work, retooling a sluggish offense. The league's sweeping realignment sent the Bucs to the new NFC South Division, along with the Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints.
Led by the league's top defense, the 2002 campaign was the Buccaneers' most successful season to date. They won the NFC South title with the team's best ever record, 12-4, and went on to rout Gruden's former team, the Oakland Raiders who had the league's number 1 offense, by a score of 48-21 in Super Bowl XXXVII.
- Main article: 2003 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Soon after the Super Bowl victory, a growing number of press reports indicated Gruden's lack of patience with general manager McKay. McKay was a major architect of the Bucs rebuilding effort over the previous ten years, and he, like Gruden, had long-established ties to the Tampa Bay area. However, during the 2003 season, the Gruden-McKay relationship deteriorated as the Bucs struggled on the field. In November, Keyshawn Johnson was deactivated by the team ten games into the season for his conduct, which included sideline arguments with Bucs coaches and players. Johnson was eventually traded to the Dallas Cowboys for wide receiver Joey Galloway.
In December, the Glazers allowed McKay to leave the Bucs before the end of the regular season, and he promptly joined the Falcons as president and general manager. Thus, McKay watched his first game as a Falcons executive sitting next to owner Arthur Blank in a Raymond James Stadium skybox. The Falcons defeated the Bucs 30-28. Despite opening the season with a Monday night win over the Eagles in Philadelphia's new stadium, Lincoln Financial Field, the Bucs finished the season 7-9.
- Main article: 2004 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
For 2004, Bruce Allen was hired as general manager. After Allen's arrival, both John Lynch and Warren Sapp were released, stunning many Buccaneer fans. The distracted Buccaneers began the 2004 season with a 1-5 record, their worst start under Gruden. The fading accuracy of kicker Martin Gramatica did not help matters, as the team lost many close games en route to a 5-11 record.
- Main article: 2005 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
In the 2005 season, the Buccaneers celebrated their 30th season in the league, and returned to their winning ways. The Bucs selected Carnell "Cadillac" Williams in the first round of the 2005 draft, and the rookie would provide a running game the Buccaneers had not possessed since the days of James Wilder in the 1980s.
After starting 5-1, the team entered a midseason slump hampered by a season-ending injury to starting QB Brian Griese. Replacement starter Chris Simms struggled early, but came into his own leading to the team to a last-minute win over the Redskins. The Bucs won the NFC South Division finishing 11-5. The season ended abruptly, however, with a 17-10 loss in the Wild Card round, in a rematch with the Redskins.
- Main article: 2006 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
After winning the division in 2005, the Bucs suffered through an abysmal 2006 season. The season was plagued by injuries, with starters such as G Dan Buenning, WR Michael Clayton, RB Carnell Williams, DE Simeon Rice, CB Brian Kelly, and QB Chris Simms all being placed on injured reserve at some point in the season. The season also saw a lot of rookies starting for the Bucs, such as QB Bruce Gradkowski, T Jeremy Trueblood, and G Davin Joseph.
The Bucs started off the season 0-3, with QB Chris Simms throwing only 1 touchdown to 7 interceptions. In the third game of the season, a last-minute loss to the Panthers, Simms' spleen was ruptured, and he was placed on injured reserve for the balance of the season. After their bye week, the Bucs elected to start rookie quarterback Bruce Gradkowski, a 6th-round pick from Toledo. After nearly beating the Saints, Gradkowski lead the team to last-minute wins over the Bengals and Eagles. The success was short-lived, however, and the Bucs lost five of the next six games. Tim Rattay replaced Gradkowski as quarterback late in the season, and the team finished 4-12. The aged defense, with 5 starters who had played there for a decade or more, was ranked 17th overall, the first time a Tampa defense was not ranked in the top ten since 1996.
- Main article: 2007 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
After a disappointing 4-12 effort in 2006, the Buccaneers for the first time in several seasons had money to spend in free agency. They brought in quarterback Jeff Garcia, offensive tackle Luke Petitgout, defensive end Kevin Carter, and linebacker Cato June. On April 28, the Buccaneers drafted Clemson defensive end Gaines Adams with the 4th overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft. After the draft the Buccaneers picked up tight end Jerramy Stevens and defensive tackle Ryan Sims.
The offseason changes resulted in the Buccaneers winning the NFC South title, finishing with a 9-7 record, and the 4th seed in the NFC. The division crown is the 2nd one in three seasons while under Gruden. In the Wild Card round of the playoffs held on January 6, 2008, the Buccaneers lost to the eventual Super Bowl champion New York Giants by a final score of 24-14.
On December 16, Micheal Spurlock returned a kickoff 90 yards for the first kickoff return touchdown (1,865 tries with 140 different players in 498 regular season games) in Tampa Bay Buccaneers franchise history, as the Bucs went on to clinch the NFC South.
The turnaround from 2007 helped convince Bucs ownership to re-sign head coach Jon Gruden and general manager Bruce Allen through the 2011 season. Although the team would lose many of its peripheral players, it would retain its core for the 2008 season. The Bucs didn't make it to the playoffs that year after losing the last 4 games in a row.
2009-2011: The Rahiem Morris Era
In January 2009 the Buccaneers fired Jon Gruden and made Raheem Morris the head coach after having just named Morris the replacement of Monte Kiffin as defensive coordinator. Bruce Allen was also let go, with Mark Dominik his successor as general manager. On February 25, the Bucs released veterans Derrick Brooks, Warrick Dunn, Joey Galloway, Ike Hilliard, Jeff Garcia, and Cato June. They traded for tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. on February 27 for a 2nd round pick in the 2009 draft, and a 5th round draft pick in 2010. They signed running back Derrick Ward, from the New York Giants, to a four-year, $17 million contract. They signed quarterback Byron Leftwich to a two-year deal. They drafted Kansas State quarterback Josh Freeman 17th overall in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft. 2009 was one of the Bucs' worst years in recent memory. They started the season 0–7, behind veteran quarterback Byron Leftwich for the first three games, and Josh Johnson, who had never made an appearance in an NFL game prior to the season, for the next four. Following their bye week, Tampa Bay made another quarterback switch, this time to Josh Freeman. Freeman's first career start resulted in the team's first win of the season, a comeback win in which Freeman threw for two touchdown passes in the final quarter. Freeman remained the starting quarterback for the rest of the season, but the team won only two more games. Finishing 3–13, it was their worst record since 1991.
In 2010, the Buccaneers surprised everyone by producing the greatest single-season turnaround in franchise history, going 10–6. This was largely made possible by the breakout performances of second-year quarterback Josh Freeman, rookie receiver Mike Williams, and undrafted rookie running back LeGarrette Blount.
Freeman started all 16 games, throwing for 3,451 yards while completing 61.4% of his throws. He also had the ninth best TD/INT ratio in NFL history, throwing 25 touchdowns to only 6 interceptions. Williams, who was drafted by the Buccaneers in the fourth round of the 2010 draft, caught 65 receptions for 964 yards and 11 touchdowns. His 11 touchdowns were also a Buccaneers franchise record for all receivers. LeGarrette Blount rushed for 1,007 yards and 6 touchdowns, becoming only the second undrafted rookie in NFL history to break the 1,000 yard mark. He accomplished this despite not seeing significant playing time until Week 7.
On the one hand, they achieved double-digit wins just one season after finishing last in their division. On the other hand, they ended up outside the playoff race despite their 10 wins. Unfortunately, they lost a close game against the non-playoff Detroit Lions which ended up hurting them in the end as they would have made the playoffs as a wild card in place of the eventual Super Bowl XLV champion Green Bay Packers. The Buccaneers' schedule on their way to a 10-win season was also under debate, as their combined opponent win percentage was 0.477, good for 11th easiest in the league that season. This was partly a result of playing the entirety of the NFC West, which had a combined record of 25-39 and whose division winner, the Seattle Seahawks, ended their own season with a losing record of 7-9. In comparison, the Cincinnati Bengals, who had the toughest 2010 schedule, had a combined opponent win percentage of .582.
The Buccaneers would begin the 2011 season with high hopes after adding several key defensive players through the draft. After a 4-2 start however, the Buccaneers, would collapse by losing 10 games in a row and finishing the season 4-12. Quarterback Josh Freeman would go onto have his worst statistical year since being drafted and the Buccaneers defensive squad would struggle due to several mediocre performances and a variety of injuries/losses of key players such as defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, linebacker Quincy Black, in addition to safeties Cody Grimm and Tanard Jackson.
Once the regular season ended January 2nd, the Buccaneers fired Head Coach Raheem Morris, offensive coordinator Greg Olson and the rest of his corresponding staff.
2012: "The Buccaneer Way"
Almost three weeks after letting go of Raheem Morris, the Buccaneers announced the hiring of Rutgers's Greg Schiano as their new Head Coach. Thanks to his introductory conference in which he stated "There will be Buccaneer men, and there will be a Buccaneer Way", the phrase "The Buccaneer way" has become almost a slogan among fans and the local media for his new tenure as head coach of the team.
A few weeks later, the Buccaneers would then bring along New York Giants quarterbacks coach Mike Sullivan to fill-in their offensive coordinator position, Bill Sheridan (who also coached for the Giants in 2010) as their defensive coordinator and long time friend of Schiano dating back to his days with the University of Miami, University of North Carolina's ex-head coach Butch Davis to fulfill the role of main advisor to the head coach.
In the first day of the NFL Free Agency period, the Buccaneers would sign two out of the top 3 free agents available: WR Vincent Jackson, G Carl Nicks and alongside them, CB Eric Wright. The total of $140 million dollars committed to the team during that 24 hour period is considered the largest investment the Glazer family has put into the team going back almost a decade.
2013-2015: Lovie Smith and Jason Licht era
On January 1, 2014, Lovie Smith was hired as the new head coach of the Buccaneers, replacing Greg Schiano. Smith had previously spent 5 seasons with the Buccaneers from 1996 to 2001 coaching the linebackers under Tony Dungy. During his first news conference with the Bucs, Smith talked about restoring the quality of the team from the late 1990s and early 2000s: "There was a certain brand of football you expected from us," Smith said. "You know we would be relentless. There was a brand of football that you got from us each week at Raymond James Stadium. It was hard for opponents to come in and win. We have gotten away from that a little bit, and it’s time ... for us to become a relevant team again."
On January 21, 2014, Jason Licht was hired as the new general manager, replacing Mark Dominik. He was officially introduced at One Buc Place on January 23, 2014. In his first news conference, Licht talked about his philosophy: "Our philosophy is going to be to build through the draft. That's where we find our stars. That's where we find the next generation. But also in the short term and long term we're going to supplement our roster through free agency but we're going to look for value. We're going to spend wisely."
After signing veteran free agent Josh McCown and many more free agents, many analysts predicted that the Buccaneers could be the surprise team of the year and possibly make a playoff run. Those predictions soon went away after the Bucs began the season 0–3, including a 56–14 blowout against the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday Night Football. McCown was injured in that game, and second year quarterback Mike Glennon was named the starter. His first start of the 2014 season ended with the Bucs earning their first victory of the season in Pittsburgh against the Steelers 27–24. The Bucs lost the next 4 games, including two overtime losses against the New Orleans Saints and the Minnesota Vikings, one blowout against the Baltimore Ravens, and a 5-point loss against the Cleveland Browns. Going into week 10 at 1–8, McCown returned as the starter. Mathematically, the Bucs were still in playoff contention only being 3 games out of first place in the division. McCown's first game back ended with a 27–17 loss to the Falcons but won the following week in a 27–7 blowout against struggling Washington. The Bucs would lose the next three games and were officially knocked out of playoff contention in week 14. The Bucs finished 2–14, winning 2 less games than the previous season and secured the first-overall draft pick for the 2015 NFL draft.
Despite the team's record, first-round draft pick wide receiver Mike Evans had more than 1,000 receiving yards and he became the youngest NFL player to record more than 200 receiving yards in a single game. Vincent Jackson also had more than 1,000 yards receiving, which represented Tampa Bay's first pair of 1,000 yard receivers in a season. Second-year CB Johnathan Banks led the team with 4 interceptions and has 50 tackles. Danny Lansanah flourished in the Tampa 2 system with 81 tackles, 1.5 QB sacks, and 3 interceptions, with 2 of those interceptions returned for touchdowns for the 2014 season. Jacquies Smith, who was signed from Buffalo after waiving rookie DE Scott Solomon a month into the season, had 17 combined tackles, 13 solo tackles, 6.5 sacks, and 1 forced fumble in only 8 starts for 2014.
In December 2014, a report surfaced that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers used homeless people to sell beer and did not pay them.
After the conclusion of the 2014 season, Tampa Bay hired Ben Steele to become the team's new offensive quality control coach as well as former Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter to be their new offensive coordinator after parting ways with QB coach and interim offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo. Having a 2–14 record, tied for the worst record in the NFL in 2014, Tampa gained the first-overall pick in the 2015 NFL draft. They also made some headlines when they released QB Josh McCown on February 11, 2015, to save $5.25 million in cap space. With the first overall pick in the NFL draft, the Buccaneers selected Jameis Winston from Florida State. Throughout the off-season, there was much debate whether the Buccaneers should pick Winston or Oregon QB Marcus Mariota.
On January 6, 2016, Smith was fired by the Buccaneers after posting a record of 8–24 in his two seasons, including a 6–10 record in the 2015 season
2016–2018: Dirk Koetter era
On January 15, 2016, Dirk Koetter was promoted from offensive coordinator to become the new head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The teams' record sat at 3-5 following a blowout loss to the Atlanta Falcons in a nationally televised Thursday Night Football matchup. Playoff chances grew increasingly more unlikely. However, following the loss, the Buccaneers rattled off five straight victories, the longest winning streak since the 2002 season. During the streak, the Buccaneers earned upset victories over the heavily favored Kansas City Chiefs and Seattle Seahawks. The Buccaneers ended their 2016 season with a 9–7 record, but lost the NFC's sixth seed to the Detroit Lions due to tiebreakers.
On March 9, 2017, the Buccaneers signed former Washington Redskins wide receiver DeSean Jackson, defensive tackle Chris Baker, former Dallas Cowboys safety J. J. Wilcox (traded to Pittsburgh Steelers), former New York Jets kicker Nick Folk, and veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.
They were hampered with poor performance and an early kicking situation, as they failed to improve or match their 9–7 record from the previous season. After a loss to the Detroit Lions, they were mathematically eliminated from the playoffs with a 4–9 record. The Bucs finished the season 5-11. This was their tenth consecutive season without a playoff appearance, with their last being in the 2007 season. Also, the Bucs finished last in the NFC South for the seventh time in nine seasons.
The Bucs began the 2018 season 2–0 for the first time since the 2010 season. Journeyman quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick started the first two games after Jameis Winston was suspended during the off-season for the first three games. Fitzpatrick threw for over 400 yards and 4 touchdowns in the two-game winning streak, coming against the Saints (the eventual NFC South winner) and the Eagles (the defending Super Bowl champions). Fitzpatrick would continue the success in week 3's Monday night game against the Steelers, throwing for another 400 yards and becoming the first player in NFL history to throw for 400 or more yards in three consecutive games. After Winston's suspension was up following the Monday Night game, Fitzpatrick remained the starter for week 4's matchup against the Bears. Fitzpatrick struggled and was benched after halftime for Winston. Winston returned as the starter in week 6. Despite the quarterback controversy, the Bucs had a top 3 offense, averaging 27.8 points during the first six games. However, their defense continued to struggle. After week 6's loss to the Falcons, defensive coordinator Mike Smith was fired and linebackers coach Mark Duffner was named the interim defensive coordinator. After a close overtime win against the Browns, Winston threw four interceptions against the Bengals the following week. After returning from suspension, Winston threw at least two interceptions per game, and due to that, Fitzpatrick was once again named the starter in week 9. Fitzpatrick, again, struggled, and Winston was renamed the starter for week 12's game against the 49ers. Winston improved, and the team won two straight. However, they dropped their last four games. After a second consecutive last-place season where the team finished with a 5–11 record, Koetter was fired.
2019–present: Bruce Arians era
Following the termination of Dirk Koetter, the Buccaneers named Bruce Arians as the twelfth head coach in franchise history on January 8, 2019. Arians had been out of coaching for a year, having retired in 2017 after five seasons as head coach of the Arizona Cardinals. Because Arians was still under contract with the Cardinals through the end of the 2019 season, Tampa Bay agreed to give the Cardinals a sixth-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft for the rights to Arians, as well as receiving Arizona's seventh-round pick in the same draft. On the same day it was reported the Bucs would also bring Byron Leftwich onto the staff from the Cardinals as offensive coordinator. The next day the Buccaneers announced the hiring of former New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles as Defensive Coordinator.
In the 2019 season, the Bucs finished with a 7–9 record. Jameis Winston set a franchise record with 5,109 passing yards, becoming the eighth player in NFL history to eclipse 5,000 yards. He also set a franchise record with 33 touchdown passes, however in throwing 30 interceptions, he became the first quarterback in league history to have at least thirty of each. He would not be re-signed by Tampa Bay after the season.
The Buccaneers made arguably the biggest acquisition of the 2020 offseason when they acquired veteran quarterback Tom Brady, widely considered the greatest to ever play the position. The offensive engine of the New England Patriots' sports dynasty from 2001 to 2019, Brady announced that he would not be re-signing with the Patriots after 20 seasons and joined the Buccaneers for 2020.
Later in the offseason, tight end and Brady's New England teammate Rob Gronkowski announced that he was coming out of retirement to return to the NFL. On the same day, the Patriots made an agreement to trade Gronkowski to the Buccaneers, along with a seventh-round pick in exchange for a compensatory fourth-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Gronkowski would finish the regular season with 45 receptions, 623 receiving yards, and 7 receiving touchdowns in 16 games.
On October 27, 2020, free agent wide receiver Antonio Brown signed a one-year contract with the Buccaneers. The move reunited Brown with Arians, who was his first offensive coordinator on the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Brady, whom he played one game alongside of for the Patriots. Brown made his first appearance with the Bucs in week 9 and would finish the regular season with 45 receptions, 483 receiving yards, and 4 receiving touchdowns in eight games.
In Week 15, the Buccaneers overcame a 17–0 deficit against the Atlanta Falcons, to win 31–27 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia.
In the 2020 season, Tampa Bay clinched their first playoff berth since 2007 after a 47–7 victory against the Lions in Week 16. By the end of the 2020 regular season, Brady had set the Buccaneers record for passing touchdowns with 40. In the same game, receiver Mike Evans set the NFL record for consecutive 1,000-yard seasons to start a career with 7 straight 1,000 yard seasons.
In the playoffs, the Buccaneers defeated the Washington Football Team 31–23 in the wild card round, their first postseason victory since winning Super Bowl XXXVII in 2002. In the divisional round, they defeated the Saints 30–20 to advance to the NFC Championship Game for the fourth time in franchise history, and first since the 2002 season. They then defeated the Packers to advance to Super Bowl LV for the franchise's second appearance in the league championship, facing the defending Super Bowl champions, the Kansas City Chiefs. The Bucs defeated the Chiefs to win their second Super Bowl title by a score of 31–9. Coincidentally, Raymond James Stadium was named as the host stadium of Super Bowl LV in 2017 when it was determined that SoFi Stadium, which had been awarded the game the year before its construction had begun, would not be completed in time to be eligible under league requirements to host. Thus, the Buccaneers became the first team in NFL history to play in and win a Super Bowl that was held at its home stadium.
In the 2021 offseason, the Buccaneers re-signed all 22 of their starters from the 2020 Super Bowl championship season, in addition to re-signing Fournette and former Bengals running back Giovani Bernard. The Buccaneers are the first team in the salary cap era (1994), and fourth team all-time, to re-sign all 22 starters from their Super Bowl team, while every other team's roster changed.
- Image gallery
Tampa Bay Buccaneers current staff
Special Teams Coaches
Strength and Conditioning
Tampa Bay Buccaneers current roster
|Unrestricted FAs (cont'd)
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Rookies in italics
- Bucs release Brooks, Dunn, Galloway, Hilliard, June
- Roy Cummings (January 8, 2011). Bucs reward Morris for turnaround season. Tampa Tribune. Retrieved on February 4, 2011.
- Rick Stroud (January 3, 2011). Freeman's season 9th all-time in TD/INT ratio; Dominik: "He is a franchise quarterback". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved on February 4, 2011.
- On the Record. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (January 17, 2011). Retrieved on February 4, 2011.
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