Through the first quarter of the 2009 football season the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are most infamous for their half of football they seemingly play in each game, a team that can’t hold its water past thirty minutes in any football contest. The 09’ Bucs are zero-dash-four and a striking mirror image of past lovable losers fielded in Tampa.
Since the inception of the franchise in 1976, no Buccaneer squad has ever gone on to make the playoffs after starting a season zero-dash-four.
In 1976 the Bucs started 0-4 and went on to finish the season 0-14 the only winless season in franchise history. 1977 saw the Bucs limp out of the gate losing the teams first 12 games, before snapping a 26 game losing streak that spanned through two seasons before capturing the franchises fist ever regular season win against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans the 77’ team finished a dismal 2-12 and no playoff berth.
After a few years in which fans were treated to a high caliber of play on the field, the team sank back to the bottom feeders many had come to expect, the season was 1983, Doug Williams had bolted for the USFL over a contract dispute with then owner Hugh Culverhouse and fans began deserting Tampa Stadium in droves. The team lost there first nine games of the season and finished 2-14. It was the start of the “Yuccaneers” a losing streak the marred Bucs fans for life, the first of 14 straight losing seasons and 13 in which the team lost double digit games.
1985 was supposed to be the year the team bounced back after finishing the 1984 season at 6-10 there were high hopes heading into the season opener against the Bears, with Leeman Bennett roaming the sidelines but all hope was lost, when the team dashed out of the gate to lose 9 straight games and finish the season 2-14.
In 1991 with a new coach patrolling the sidelines in Richard Williamson– renewed hope quickly vanished as the team dropped it’s first five games before battling the Eagles for a one point win. Reality quickly set in as the team was outscored 78 to 20 over the next three games, finishing the season with a 3-13 mark.
It was the 1996 season, a little known defensive coordinator from Minnesota was named the teams head coach, some fans might remember Tony Dungy, the Bucs would drop it’s first five games before beating the Vikings 24-13, and after nine games stood with a mark of 1-8, it was the season when things began to change the Bucs finished that season winning five of the last seven and finished with a 6-10 record.
It was 2004, just two years removed from hoisting the Lombardi trophy the Jon Gruden lead Bucs dropped it’s first four games dredging through a season that saw two four game losing streaks and finished with a 5-11 record and of course no playoff berth.
2006, a year removed from Division Champs, lead by Chris Simms, a season filled with high expectations and hope was disregarded after the Bucs lost four straight to start the season, with a spleen-less Simms out for the season and a rookie sixth rounder barking out signals from under center the Bucs limped to a 4-12 record and no playoff berth.
Now back to present day and the 0-4 Bucs under first time head coach Raheem Morris. The off-season was filled with excitement and renewed vigor from a fan base looking for change, a pre-season filled with solid defense and a downhill rushing attack has turned into a nightmare of biblical portions the team has been futile in it’s attempts at swapping out quarterbacks’, now it’s set too lean on an oft-injured running back for a spark.
But, more importantly it’s the other thirty minutes of football that the team can’t finish that is the underlining problem, a team that was sold as a downhill, physically violent, mentally tough no excuses squad looks more like a scared, out of sync and undisciplined in every phase of the game, grasping at straws hoping something might work team.
They have shown the exact opposite of what was sold to fans this off-season, some might even call it a bait-in-switch. It seems that it might really be time to get back to the core beliefs, get back to the drawling board and come up with some new found philosophy that inspires players to put it all on the line.
With reports of the team lacking chemistry surfacing and communication problems, where’s the accountability at, are coaches not being held accountable, are players being allowed to run a muck, has no one bought in.
The season is not over just yet, but by revisiting history one can plainly see, it’s not looking good for the home team.