The Tampa Bay Buccaneers haven’t seen the playoffs in years. With their “Glory Days” long behind them, they tried once again to re-brand the team. In 2014 fans got a look at the new Bucs uniforms. Although the design was nice, for the most part, the alarming change was in the font of the numbers.
Not only did the jerseys change, but also the logo. The flag was bigger and brighter and fit much larger on the helmet. It was a more modernized version of their original flag and it worked well.
Fans couldn’t help but notice how odd the numbers on the jerseys looked. Identical to an alarm clock, the jerseys were going to give you the time (pun intended).Tampa Bay fans were not happy with the change and expressed their frustration for years. However, just like all loyal fans, they bought them anyways.
From 2014-2019, Tampa Bay wore these jerseys more as a fashion statement and less as an intimidation factor. Some players from the “alarm clock” era might go down in Buccaneers history while some might be forgotten about.
Jameis Winston (2015-2019), QB
The Buccaneers selected the young quarterback in the first round of the 2015 draft. Being their first pick, Winston was highly touted by draft experts as the next big thing. Winston played for Florida State University and brought them a National Championship in 2013 and went 26-1 as a starter putting together one of the greatest college careers in NCAA history.
Fans were eager to welcome Winston to Tampa and so were the Buccaneers. Winston had two outstanding years for the Buccaneers, 2016 and 2019. In 2016, Winston threw for 4,090 yards, 28 touchdowns and 18 interceptions, with a completion percentage of 60.8%.
In 2019, Winston had a shaky year, throwing for a league leading 5,109 yards and 33 touchdowns. However, Winston also threw 30 interceptions which gave him a lot of heat towards the end of the season.
Winston’s time in Tampa Bay will go down as one of the most puzzling and “what could have been” careers in history. Bucs fans are split in half when Jameis Winston is brought up in conversation. Although Winston might not be everyone’s favorite Buccaneer, there’s no denying he had incredible athletic abilities.
On April 28th 2020, Winston signed a 1-year $1.1 million contract with the New Orleans Saints. While some fans were sad to see him go, others were thrilled. Winston’s career numbers with Tampa Bay are 19,737 yards, 121 touchdowns, and 88 INT. Winston is the record holder of every passing category in Tampa Bay history and was the first player in NFL history to start his career with 4,000 passing yards. He also is tied for most passing touchdowns in a game by a rookie quarterback with five and is the only player ever to throw for 450 plus yards in back to back weeks.
Mike Evans (2014-), WR
Drafted by the Buccaneers in the first round of the 2014 draft, the Texas A&M product is a fan favorite. In his rookie season, Evans caught for over 1,000 yards with 12 touchdowns. The season after in 2015, he hauled in 1,206 yards with three touchdowns. Evans has yet to have a season where he’s gathered less than 1,000 yards tying only Randy Moss for most consecutive 1,000 yards seasons to start a career.
His best season came in 2016 where he saw his first Pro Bowl. Evans turned 96 receptions into 1,321 yards and 12 touchdowns. In 2018, he went to his second Pro Bowl and had an outstanding 1,524 yards on the year. Before ending his season with an injury in 2019, Evans would get his third Pro Bowl nod after hauling in 67 receptions for 1,157 yards and eight touchdowns.
Mike Evans is the perfect Buccaneer. Not only is he incredible on the field, he’s a kindhearted person off the field. Evans started a charity called the “Mike Evans Family Foundation” which aims to motivate the youth about achieving their goals.
So far in his short career in Tampa Bay, Evans’ has caught a total of 7,260 yards and 48 touchdowns. Evans’ best years are still ahead of him and he’s only getting better each season.
Doug Martin (2012-2017), RB
Selected out of Boise State in the first round of the 2012 draft, Martin’s rookie season was one for the books as he ran for 1,454 yards and 11 touchdowns. He also made it to his first Pro Bowl. The next two years weren’t as kind to Martin.
However, his best season was in 2015 where he ran for 1,402 yards and 12 touchdowns finishing as the leagues best runner behind Adrian Peterson. Like the 2012 season, Martin made it to the Pro Bowl and he was given the honor of First Team All-Pro.
Martin’s numbers declined after the 2015 season and in 2017, he played his final season in Tampa Bay. In 2018 he played with the Oakland Raiders for one year. Martin is now a free agent and hasn’t played in the NFL since 2018. His career numbers in Tampa Bay are 4,633 rushing yards, 1,097 receiving yards and 30 touchdowns.
Jason Pierre-Paul (2018-), DE
Originally drafted by the New York Giants in 2010, Pierre-Paul was already a Super Bowl winner when he came to Tampa Bay in 2018. His first year as a Buccaneer he displayed his talents with 12.5 sacks and 48 solo tackles becoming the first pass rusher in Tampa Bay to eclipse 10 or more sacks since Simeon Rice.
Although Pierre-Paul is a relatively “new” Buccaneer, he has already made an impact on the team. His leadership and work ethic are inspiring to the younger players. He’s been named to two Pro Bowls as a New York Giant and a First Team All-Pro honor.
But the best thing about Pierre-Paul is his courage. In the Spring of 2019, Pierre-Paul was involved in a car accident that fractured a vertebra in his neck. He was expected to miss the upcoming season from an injury that almost seemed impossible to recover from quickly. However, he played in 10 games, starting in eight of those, and collected 8.5 sacks.
On March 26th 2020, the Buccaneers and Pierre-Paul agreed to a 2-year, $27-million deal. A definitive piece to the Bucs’ defense, fans will be happy to welcome him back to Tampa Bay.
Lavonte David (2012-), LB
The Buccaneers drafted David in the second round of the 2012 draft. There is no question as to how popular he has become in Buccaneers history. Although he has played in the original red and pewter, some of his best years were in the “alarm clocks.”
His best year actually came before the jersey change in 2013. David amassed five interceptions, 87 yards, 7.0 sacks and 107 solo tackles. While he didn’t go the Pro Bowl that year, he was given a bigger honor, First Team All-Pro.
David saw his first Pro Bowl in 2015, where he gathered three interceptions, one touchdown, 3.0 sacks, and 85 solo tackles. David continues to impress coaches and fans each year and is up there with some of the most well liked Bucs of all-time.
At 30 years old, David still hasn’t slowed down and is a major part in the Tampa Bay defensive success in the past year. Lavonte Davis is also extremely underrated in the NFL, being one of the best players at his position for years. David has compiled over 100 tackles in each of his season except in 2016. He unfortunately doesn’t get the recognition he deserves.
However, the thousands of Buccaneers fans that pack Raymond James stadium each Sunday make sure to let him know he’s appreciated. He will also become the first player in Bucs history to wear three different uniforms. David’s legacy as a Buccaneer is already solidified and the Ring of Honor is awaiting his arrival.
With all the fairly new names in Tampa Bay, it makes you wonder what the future holds for the Buccaneers. In the fourth and final part, we will look at just that; the future of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.