Some people are fans of the Tampa Bay Bucs. But many, many more people are NOT fans of the Tampa Bay Bucs. This 2017 Deadspin NFL team preview is for those in the latter group. Read all the previews so far here.
Your team: Tampa Bay Bucs.
Your 2016 record: 9-7. In those seven losses, the Bucs gave up nearly five touchdowns a game. Derek Carr hung 500 yards on them (in a game where the Raiders committed 23 penalties and still won). The Rams hung 37 on them somehow. This is a rough estimate, but 90 percent of Tavon Austin’s total receiving yards last year came against the Bucs.
But please keep telling me that this is an up-and-coming defense. This team still starts Chris Conte. During real games, no less!
Your coach: Dirk Koetter. “Well, I am sure there are plenty of people that think my playcalling stinks… But I’ve been doing it for 35 years. I don’t think I’m going to forget how.” Well actually, Dirk, in your NFL career your teams have had a winning percentage below .500. So it’s not that you’ve forgotten how to call plays, but rather the fact that you never learned how to call them to begin with.
By the way, the Bucs were this season’s designated Hard Knocks victim. Let’s see what kind of EXCLUSIVE ACCESS we’ve been given into Koetter and his coaching methods.
Christ. Honestly, it’s like they just draw slogans out of a hat every year.
Your quarterback: Congratulations, Jameis Winston! Your sexual battery case was finally dismissed after reaching an undisclosed settlement with your accuser! Finally, you can put this whole ordeal behind you. What a hardship it must have been. For YOU. Now Jameis is free to be a “leader” who “absorbs the playbook like a sponge” and “routinely commits turnovers that belong in silent comedies”:
Every time I gotta read some horseshit about Jameis’s uncommon maturity and growth as a passer, it’s like people completely forget that, at least once a game, he will take the snap and proceed to re-enact every Nordberg scene from The Naked Gun. By the way, Jameis has been the showcase star of this season’s Hard Knocks. Here he is killing a cockroach while it’s mating:
Technically, that’s ALSO sexual assault. And here he is acting like Taylor Swift in the front row of an award show:
I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that Jameis Winston may not be the most genuine (or mature) fellow in the world. Fresh off beating the rap, he had the balls to lecture a group of schoolgirls about being silent, polite, and gentle. Fuck his phony ass with a pirate flag.
Thankfully, the Bucs imported a MENTOR to help him become 50 percent more poise-y. That’s right. It’s Harvard Man, in the flesh! I could be dead in the ground 50 years from and I swear that Ryan Fitzpatrick could still be holding down an NFL roster spot for no reason whatsoever. This team now has not one, but TWO Harvard grads on the roster. I swooooon at the potential for elevated sideline discourse. “Oh, nothing coach. Just sipping some Gatorade and discussing the impact on South China Sea trade routes should a preemptive strike in North Korea take place [FARTS]”
What’s new that sucks: AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA YOU CUT THE KICKER. Yes, after trading up to draft Roberto Aguayo in the second round, the Bucs had to cut him and replace him with Nick Folk…
Priceless. That’s what you get for FSU-ifying half the roster. No one should ever let this team forget about the Aguayo draft bust. This was already one of the worst picks in draft history before they released the poor bastard. They should put a monument to the trade next to the stadium bathroom. GM Jason Licht should have to walk around with a sandwich board that says I TOOK A KICKER IN THE SECOND ROUND LIKE A MORON all day long.
“I’m owning up to it by releasing him. It was a bold move and it didn’t work out. I don’t know what else to say.”
“Bold” isn’t the word I’d use there, amigo.
Elsewhere on the roster, DeSean Jackson is here! On paper, the arrival of Jackson and absolute stud TE OJ Howard (drafted to replace the drunk driver they originally had at that slot) make the Bucs one of the best young passing teams in football. But, as someone who has watched DeSean Jackson over the years, I can assure you that every accidental fumble Winston makes is one that Jackson can make deliberately.
Doug Martin was suspended for the first four games for Adderall, and will be suspended four more after he beats my ass for screaming MUSCLE HAMSTER at him from a nearby balcony. Mike Evans drops passes as swiftly as he drops visible Anthem protests. Jon Gruden is getting inducted into the team’s ring of honor this season, even though Bill Callahan’s playsheet should have been inducted way before him. One of the linemen dined and dashed on a five-figure club tab.
What has always sucked: Miko Grimes claimed that she deliberately got her husband cut in Miami so he could come to Tampa. You played yourself, lady. Only an idiot would scheme to leave the glistening shores of South Beach to go to live in the middle of a Dog the Bounty Hunter fancon. She must have thought she could avoid the tax man there.
I may be biased here because a jury of Tampa tattoo artists bankrupted this site’s former company, but for real, Fuck Tampa. Tampa is the Arizona of Florida. Tampa is a seething mass of divorcees and wannabe pirates deliberately living in the cheesiest possible area. The Bucs stadium isn’t even the most popular building on its block (that honor goes to Mons Venus).
There’s a reason that Jon Gruden has a completely unironic love of Hooters. That’s 100 percent Tampa right there. I’m surprised they don’t blare Hoobastank from air raid signals all day long. I took my family to Tampa for Spring Break once. Seagulls tried to eat our dinner every night and some lady brought an entire hi-fi system to the pool so she could play Bon Jovi. Tampa is the worst. It’s the only city in America aiming to REDUCE mass transit. Nazis are everywhere. Local sports teams had to give money just to get a Confederate statue taken down and it still hasn’t been taken down. A local middle school tried to sell kids a $100 pass to cut to the front of the lunch line. The Scientologists are the most normal people there. Fuck Tampa eternally. VIVA GAWKER, MOTHERFUCKER.
What might not suck: They’re good enough on offense to score 42 a game, which would be promising if the rest of the division couldn’t score twice that against them.
Did you know?
HEAR IT FROM BUCS FANS!
Robert Aguayo. Robert Aguayo. Robert Aguayo.
There is nothing worse than waiting for decades for your team to get a potentially elite QB and then have him be an alleged rapist. Who tells groups of young girls they need to shut up and let the men lead.
Fuck Josh Freeman.
In two season Jameis will be the Bucs all=time leader in passing yards, surpassing Vinny fucking Testaverde.
The problem with Why Your Team Sucks is that, every year, I strive to think of something uniquely bad about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, some suck-property that grounds the team athletically and geographically in a characteristic awfulness that other people can point to and say, “I get why thisteam blows.”
But I’m starting to think that’s misguided, like writing a negative review of a flat, sad Big Mac. It’s a mediocrity expected, universal and unenlightening, as dissatisfying as you want it to be, assuming you need to buy it at all.
Apart from the pirate ship, Raymond James Stadium is unlovely in the way most stadiums are unlovely. It’s not exiled to some featureless exurban hinterland, but it’s not in a downtown core accessible to walking or convenient public transportation. Before games, the neighborhood food carts and stalls are all pleasantly above average; afterward, the hassle of finding a way to get to something else to do is what you’d expect.
Are the owners soulless profiteers using the NFL revenue stream to underwrite more exciting pursuits while relying on die-hard, underserved suckers? Yes. Does this distinguish them from most NFL owners? No. A Bucs fan gets grifted like everybody else.
Dirk Koetter seems like every other NFL coach without a defining malignancy or singular gift—destined to answer the future announcer trivia question, “What coach last led the Bucs to the postseason?” with, “They lost in the Wild Card to Atlanta/Dallas/Green Bay/etc.” He’s Steve Mariucci with the chance to become Dennis Green.
James Winston has a future of game-killing frozen-rope interceptions gifted to marginally better teams in that same Wild Card round, punctuating a career of inept local commercials, canned answers and occasional bursts of narcissistic self-exculpation and pity. That Winston’s history off the field is nauseating and ownership’s rationale for drafting him even worse stands out only because Marcus Mariota could have been drafted instead and spared everyone the hand-wringing and the suspicion that the Bucs thought they might get a few more ticket sales out of FSU fans.
But this is the story of most NFL teams: They make the morally void choice if they think the waiting list is longer than the list of season-ticket cancelations. Every time you might want to think that his drafting signaled some catastrophically inhumane disregard in a post-wokeness society, you have to remember that his first season was the year Greg Hardy went to the Cowboys and the NFL spent a season tongue-bathing Peyton Manning in spite of the amply documented story of his smothering a woman trainer with his ass and balls to humiliate her.
Tampa and the Bucs are like any mid-tier American city and franchise, capable of inducing rage or joy depending on how you pick your spots. Is Tampa racist? Yes, because it is in America. But it leans left, has good museums, good concerts, decent theater, a pretty fun party district and excellent food. There are great things to do if you’re looking for them. For the most part, you get what you put into it.
And, for the most part, in a Sunday Ticket era and in a city full of expats, you have to try to become a fan of this team. You have to make the choice to let it hurt you. When it does, like most NFL franchises, it will disappoint you on the field and as a human being. But—like the wise local who plans weekends around the rain or street festivals and preserves his or her sanity by not reading another story about another public-transport plan torched by fossil-fuel lobbyists—you can plan around this.
Don’t buy that jersey. Don’t buy the new mission statement. Hell, don’t buy a ticket. Between the heat, the rain and the on-field product, you already wanted to watch from home and probably from a DVR. Take your kid to the aquarium during the game. Then, when November and December roll around, when the weather is really beautiful and every local businessman with season tickets no longer wants to waste a Sundaygoing to see this turkey of a franchise, take a free ticket. You can’t lose what you don’t put in.
This is a franchise that has been to the playoffs only ten times in 41 seasons. There have four head coaches in the past eight seasons along with six last place finishes, including five straight.
Everyone has that friend that people judge, where they look at your friend and then you and they’re like “why the fuck do you hang out with that guy?” That is how I feel being a fan of the Bucs.
I also wanted to write something about Jameis, but the Tallahassee Police Department has put a gag order on this e-mail as I’ve written it.
As a Bucs fan living in Western Canada I have to travel a pretty great distance to watch my team play. Last season I made the solo pilgrimage to Raymond James Stadium for the home opener against the Rams. Well let me tell you there’s nothing quite like travelling 3600 km to watch your favourite team lose to Case fucking Keenum.
Bucs fandom is 100% dread. I have only one thought heading into the season: How will the Bucs fuck up this time?
Do you remember that season Darelle Revis spent rehabbing in Tampa, before the team cut him so he could sign with the Patriots and win a Super Bowl? No? That’s okay. I’m sure not even Revis remembers it.
Also this is what our QB has the public persona to be able to pull for endorsements these days.
It’s happening again, right on schedule. Year Two of the New Head Coach always has the same hype. It happened with Schiano. Morris got the same love. Poor Lovie wasn’t even around long enough to get it. And now Dirk Koetter is going to be The Guy to turn us around once and for all. He’s finally cleared out the old regime’s egregious mistakes and it’s nothing but smooth sailing from here! It’s always the same tired BS and we always buy into it because the defining characteristics of a Bucs fan are blind optimism and a weird fan version of CTE. We’re SUPPOSED to be good this year. That’s going to make 7-9 more crushing that I’ve become accustomed to.
Everyone seems willfully ignorant to the fact that Jameis can’t hit a pass over 20 yards without a healthy dose of luck. He’s good for at least two infuriating boners before the first quarter even ends, and by then we can’t recover. Our left tackle looks like he took blocking tips from the local WalMart greeter, and incidentally we’re just one blindside hit away from asking Fitzmagic to get us past Atlanta and Carolina. Our defense rode a hot streak over the second half of last season and suddenly everyone thinks the ‘02 Bucs are somehow back despite the fact that our safeties have more leaks than the White House. Who knows which Doug Martin will show up this year? Roberto Aguayo is gone. The list goes on.
Once we get roasted by the Pats in Week 4, maybe then the media will stick a fork in us and we can go back to wallowing silently in mediocrity as God intended.
I lived in Tampa through their shitty and good years. You’ve never seen a fan base turn so quickly. My dad and I used to sit on the 50 for basically three dollars and a firm handshake. They started winning? Shit tickets cost you a few mortgage payments.
Our GM is the only dumbass in the league that would draft a kicker in the second round because he was trying to outsmart the rest of the league and because 80% of our fans are also homer FSU fans.
I have made the conscious decision that i just can’t justify spending the mental energy, time and money on this mostly awful team. I’m in my mid 40's and have been a Bucs fan since the first (winless) season. They’ve been playing for 40 seasons, and of those forty, they’ve been legitimately good for 4 or 5. Almost every other year they have been either terrible or a national punchline. I know being a fan is not a logical decision in any circumstance, but eventually the lack of ROI caught up to me. And of course it doesn’t help now that the uniforms are hideous and the face of the franchise is a doofy country rapist.
Also, Tampa sucks. A not insignificant percentage of the population are wannabe Scaramuccis. The one interesting era of our history was made into a terrible movie by Ben Affleck. About the only time I have ever been proud of Tampa was on election night in 2016, when Hillsborough county went for Clinton. The retiree shitbags in Pinellas voted for Trump because of course they did. I hope Donald takes away all their Medicare.
The only reason to go to a game is if you are a fan from out of town looking to hit the excellent strip clubs near the stadium.
Also their stupid ass QB will probably eat himself out of the league, if he hasn’t sexually assaulted his way out of it first.
This franchise is so desperate for attention, the only way it could capture any portion of the public consciousness is by becoming a Hard Knocks participant. While this may draw eyeballs from other portions of the country, it will probably fail on a grand scale directly in the greater Tampa Bay area. Few people in the Tampa area care about the Buccaneers. Those that do are probably still drunk from 2002.
Creating a positive story line about this year’s team (and frankly, every other Bucs team cobbled together since Super Bowl 37) is a desperate cry for help from this franchise. Putting one together in post-production for HBO is pretty easy. Those editors will be the only people that can get anyone to care about what may happen on the field. Could they improve on last year and get in the playoffs? Sure. Just the same, they could go Chernobyl on the greater-Tampa area and nuclear burn anyone in Central Florida who may have believed in them. I’m betting on the latter.
The players? There is no one on this team to root for. Unless you count rooting for Chris Conte to not give himself a concussion walking from the tunnel or to not die on the field.
Whatever douche canoe executive willingly shunned embracing the orange, red, and white Bucco Bruce uniforms is the biggest criminal this franchise has ever seen.
Fuck Jerry Markbreit and Bill Carrollo.
A few years ago, before the Bucs’ slogan became “Siege the Day” (which was promptly ripped off by a shitty Tom Clancy video game), their catchphrase was “It’s a Bucs life”. The Bucs were so embarrassing that year that my ex would patronizingly utter this term every time something really terrible happened, akin to FML.
Spill coffee on your white shirt as you’re walking into the office? It’s a Bucs life. Step in a hellish pile of dog shit? It’s a Bucs life. Trump finished the job that global warming couldn’t by starting a nuclear apocalypse, all with a statement that’s was under 140 characters? You guessed it. It’s a fuckin Bucslife.
I encourage you to try using it. The phrase is family friendly yet feels far more lewd than any cuss word when used correctly. My kinja handle is “Itsabucslife”.
P.S. Please feel free to edit this email, I am drunk. Don’t fucking post my shit with that [sic] fuckery and make me look dumb, please.
Every day of my adult life I question why back in 2005, with the choice of any team in North America, I chose the one which would go 77-111 since then.
Some low lights from my time as a English Bucs Fan:
- Chris Simms
- Trading Micheal Bennett for a Pack of Cigarettes
- The ‘youngry’ years
- Gregg Schiano and his Belichick endorsement
- The constant Gruden sightings
- Bruce Allen
- The second ugliest uniform in the NFL
Plus side is, they have been so shit, the 1pm games are easy to watch from the other side of the Atlantic.
Have you ever been to Raymond James Stadium? I recommend it for your pale-as-death complexion if you ever want to recreate the experience of paying $100+ to stand on the surface of the sun while your team might (MIGHT!) give away the game in epic fashion (re: see the Oakland game last year where despite them being penalized 200+ yards) or can’t beat a team they are objectively SUPPOSED to beat (a gifted victory to Jeff Fucking Fisher & the Rams, AND the “dynamic” QB duo of Paxton Lynch and Trevor Siemian when Tampa lost by 20 to Denver the following week). Add those two to the win column in 2016 and you’d be making fun of us a little later in August than sooner.
But wait, oh yes, I forgot, we’re a “potential playoff team” this year who BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! D-JAX & MIKE EVANS! YAP! YAP! YAP! OJ HOWARD! BARF! BARF! BARF! (due to heatstroke) JUST GIVE ME A CONSISTENT TEAM, TAMPA!! As any true Bucs fan can tell you, it wasn’t that long ago when we were stinking up the league, so calm your suntanned tits down until we get regular results first, people.
FWIW, I can’t wait to have the nosepads on my sunglasses burned onto the bridge of my nose forever for our home opener while we beat up on our QB leftover Mike Glennon because I’m a sadist and I hate myself. GO BUCS.
I feel like the racism of Bucs fans doesn’t get talked about enough (though maybe it’s just that there’s not enough fans). After the team improved from 2-14 to 6-10 under Lovie Smith, people celebrated his firing for Dirk Koetter, and pointed at the fact that Lovie’s teams were too conservative and didn’t score enough. Koetter took over, and shocker, the offense basically scored the same amount and was just as conservative.
However, ask any fan and now the team is apparently coached way better. By the way, this same pattern emerged with people praising Schiano after they got rid of “Rah”. There are still the people who will defend Schiano to the death, despite him possibly being the worst coach in NFL history. Oh....and did I mention the fans still pining for “smart” QBs who wore Bucs jerseys like Mike Glennon and Luke McCown? Luke, not even Josh. As you’re walking through the tailgates, there’s a 50/50 chance you’ll hear an n-bomb dropped. And while all fanbases have their issues, most don’t have prominent members of the media covering the team hitting all of these notes as well.
Also, I’m pretty sure you would get a better reaction from Bucs message boards by saying that you fucked all their mothers than question if the FSU investigation of Jameis Winston was done properly.
I root for a team that when I meet people from TAMPA are shocked I root for.
I root for a team that won a Super Bowl. All anyone has to say about that Super Bowl is how terrible it was.
Every city that wants a team to relocate to their city always assumes the Bucs will move sooner or later.
Our uniforms are terrible. None of the fans I know wear anything from the current uniform design. It’s always throwbacks.
Despite the fact that the home team is pirate-themed, has a pirate ship that shoots cannons when we score a touchdown, and has a star QB, I get the sense that when he’s old enough my kid will give zero shits about this team.
9-7! Finally a decent year. But we of course missed the playoffs on a tiebreaker due to the following two games:
-Case Keenum and the “I’m not going 7-9" Rams averaged 12 points a game the rest of the year yet managed to fly cross country and hang 37 on us.
-Roberto Aguayo (who I wrote in about last year as one of the worst picks of all time, and that’s when I assumed he was good) missed a PAT and another short field goal, which also led to two missed 2-pointers later on. That put us down five late in the game instead of likely ahead, but at least we were driving.
-Coach Koetter’s clock management on that last drive caused Andy Reid to yell “Hurry the hell up, dude!” at his TV. He flat out wasted 30-40 seconds giving us 1st and 10 from the Rams 15 with nine seconds left. As you could probably guess, Jameis was tackled with no time left, still pump-faking five yards past the line of scrimmage:
-The Raiders also flew cross country and despite a 1 PM game in 90 degree heat, wearing black jerseys, and SETTING AN ALL TIME NFL RECORD FOR PENALTIES, they scored the tying TD with under a minute left and the game winner with four minutes left in overtime.
Now fans of a normal team would probably say, “Ehh it’s OK, they’re an up and coming team and it was something to build on.” But since this is the Bucs, that was probably our “window” and it’s back to 5-11 now.
In 1992, when I was 11 years old, the Bucs were playing the Los Angeles Rams on ESPN Sunday Night Football in Tampa. A rare thing for my beloved Bucs. But, being the Bucs, the game had not sold out, so I was relegated to listening to it on the radio.
At halftime, we were up 27-3 and I was a happy little boy. I went to bed with visions of a 40 point game in my head. The next morning, I woke up and the first thing I did was ask my mom, “How much did we win by?”
She had the saddest look on her face as she told me, “Oh, honey. They lost, 31-27.”
I cried. I cried and I didn’t want to go to school because the other kids all crapped on the Bucs and would give me shit for it. My eyes are tearing up right now at the memory. FUCKING BUCS.
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