I haven’t talked about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a real long time… I think the last time I put up a post was in January where I gave a general sports roundup. Of course, my sports eye has been on my primary love in Tampa Bay — The Lightning — and that means the Bucs (who I grew to love during their hapless years) have taken a back seat.
Before anyone lays into me about being a bandwagon fan, I support the Buccaneers and haven’t turned a blind eye because another team in town won a championship. The Bucs earned my love over the years from miserable to respectable, and the Lightning won my love since their inception and I place hockey just ahead of football because it was a sport I liked to compete in.
Anyway, I haven’t abandoned the Bucs but I have to turn my eyes because of the train wreck the franchise has become.
Lets go to January of 2003 first and foremost and Jon Gruden / The Tampa Bay Buccaneers winning the Super Bowl. When Jon won the title, little did fans know it gave him carte blanche over the Buccaneer Franchise. A team assembled by Rich McKay and Tony Dungy was put over the top by Jon and of course we all loved him for it because this was the Buccaneers finally reaching the paramount of the NFL after being as low as you could get for so long.
Things fell apart last year as Jon Gruden started to follow a trend that previous Buccaneer coaches have shown and fallen with — Absolute power corrupts absolutely. The Glazer’s catered to his every whim and the only guy who stood in his way was Rich McKay…
Was, past tense. Rich left the only franchise he had known and went north to Atlanta… Jon was allowed to keep walking the walk he wanted and the Bucs continued the downward spiral.
A trend from Oakland seems to be in place here — not just a desire for veteran players over building a team from the ground up with talented youngsters, but also a “Just win, baby” mentality that tells players their off-field antics amount to shit as long as they perform on the field.
Case in point – Michael Pittman remains on the Buccaneer roster even though he is guilty of ramming his car into his wifes vehicle with children inside. He faces possible jail time and Jon Gruden could give a shit.
The Bucs picked up another ass-clown from the Raiders in the form of Bruce Allen who cut one foo the greatest players in Tampa Bay Buccaneer history – John Lynch — and signed one of the most notorious players in NFL history — Darrell Russell, who drugged a girl and taped him and his friends raping her.
Allen went so far as to compare Russell with former president Bill Clinton and said the rapist is guilty of less crimes than Clinton. (side-note, Allen’s brother is a Republican Senator in Virginia)
I could keep going with moves the Bucs have made and crimes their players have committed since the Super Bowl Championship, but I can’t. It’s watching a train wreck as it occurs and their are more people than just myself who can see this. For the first time since Raymond James Stadium was opened, their are tickets available on Ticketmaster for Buccaneers games this late after the initial public offering of tickets. The Bucs boast a season ticket waiting list of 110 thousand but all it takes is filling out a form online in order to do so. Somehow, my name is on the Season Ticket waiting list and I hate watching football in person. I didn’t sign up and I don’t have the foggiest clue how I got on there…
The number is artificially inflated and more than half of those on this waiting list would not invest in the current product on field.
I look at the Buccaneers this season and I see the train wreck in progress. I feel bad for guys like Derrick Brooks and Mike Alstott who are pillars in the community and who will be cut lose if it meant a marginal offensive tool could be picked up. The once vaulted defense is in shambles and Jon Gruden was given a contract extension before the season to continue is free reign over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
6-10 may be a reach but 4-12 is still a possibility this season. Break out the orange, it’s Yuccaneer football all over again.