Tampa had the league’s fiercest, meanest, most talented and needless to say the NFL’s best defense that season, and in my opinion ever! After they made the Philadelphia Eagles look stupid in the NFC Championship, they earned the right to make that season’s best offense look the same and boy did they.
SUPER BOWL XXXVII:
The Bucs confronted the Oakland Raiders at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego and the Raiders were to face their former head coach Jon Gruden. The Raiders scored first a field goal and some Bucs fans, I remember, were saying, “Oh, here we go.” But it wasn’t said how fans say it now, we knew what the Raiders were about see.
Gramatica quickly tied it up 3-3, and that’s where the Raiders downfall began.
Tampa’s defense intercepted five passes, three of those returned for touchdowns and recorded five sacks. Tampa scored 34 unanswered points by the third quarter when the Raiders finally were able to get back on the board with another FG.
When it was all said and done, the Buccaneers throttled the Raiders 48 to 21 and forced Rich Gannon to throw a Super Bowl record 5 interceptions. It may be considered silly to live in the past, but that game is one I’ll never forget, and it seems neither will the record books.
Tampa played much better last season and has quite a ways to go to get to that 2002 caliber, but I have faith that it will be sooner than most think.