For some NFL organizations, it can be difficult to find the best team in franchise history. The Green Bay Packers had a dynamic run in the early days of the NFL. In the 1970s, the Pittsburgh steelworks and the Iron Curtain dominated.
Bill Walsh, Joe Montana and the 49-year-old from San Francisco followed them on their legendary Bay Run, and the Dallas Cowboys seem to have regained the idea of being the American team in the early 1990s. Then of course there are the New England Patriots, a team that has won six Super Bowls since the beginning of the millennium.
But while all these fan bases have enough teams to choose from, the Tampa Bay Bookrunners only have one: the 2020 Super Bowl team.
The Buccaneers joined the NFL in 1976 as a joke of the league and crossed the line 14-0 in their first season. By the end of the decade and in the eighties they seem to have gained momentum and made the play-offs three times between 1979 and 1982.
But this would be the last playoffs in a long time. The pirates couldn’t survive the next 15 years in low season. They became known as the franchise that sold Steve Young and Vinnie Testaverde.
But Tony Dangi’s arrival in Tampa Bay brought the franchise to life. Dangi has led the Bucs to four play-offs in six years, including an NFC championship game in 1999.
Yet it took a new face to bring the pirates to the top. After two consecutive defeats in the wildcard round, the Bucs have made one of the most famous professions of all time.
Gruden arrives in town
John Gruden was one of the most popular coaches in football in the 2000s.
Gruden led the Auckland Ryders to the AFC Championship in just three seasons as head coach and has won 38 times in four seasons for a franchise that hasn’t been in the playoffs since 1993.
But Al Davis and the Raiders were a big hit in the 2001/2002 season.
Auckland traded Gruden for Pirates in exchange for a few first-round picnics, two second-round picnics and $8 million. It was an investment for both parties.
The Pirates made Gruden the main bus that could finally get them into the promised land, while the Raiders thought they would add future design capital to an already successful team.
Both teams were right.
Tampa Bay set the best record in the history of the franchise in his first year in Gruden (12-4).
The pirates had a totally dominant defense. Opponents averaged just over 12 points per game, allowing them to take first place in the NFL. In fact, the Buccaneers kept their opponents on the minimum number of yards and scored 10 touchdowns in defense.
From the seventh to the second front the hijackers had an elite employee. Warren Sapp was a strike center, while young Simeon Rice terrorized rival quarterbacks from the edge of the field.
On the second level, Derrick Brooks has established himself as one of the best lineup defenders in football. The Brooks had five interceptions and three touchdowns on defense, as well as 11 misses and 118 combined rounds. Midline defender Shelton Quarles also made his Pro Bowl debut.
Rapp, Rice and Brooks were named as the first all-professional team. But in the second place there was even more strength: Around Barber and Brian Kelly locked up the beneficiaries, and John Lynch and Dexter Jackson helped them upstairs.
The Buccaneers simply strangled their opponent’s attack, compensating for an attack that was only 18th in the points and actually relied on veteran quarterback Brad Johnson as game director.
As fate would have it, Gruden and the Jumpers will take on the Raiders in the Super Bowl.
In the battle for second place in the NFL goal, we count against the best defense in football. In this case, as the old saying goes, the defense wins the championship.
Tampa Bay scored a goal for the Raiders and won 48-21 in a fight that saw three defensive touchdowns by Books. Auckland scored only three points in the first half because Gruden made full use of its knowledge of the Auckland system.
This Super Bowl is one of the most famous rematch games in the history of the NFL and it was the perfect icing on the cake for the best team in the history of Buccaneer.
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