When I stood last Sunday with my son in Raymond James stadium high fiving, hugging, screaming so much that we were both hoarse until Tuesday, it brought back memories of 1979, standing in the Big Sombrero hugging, high fiving, and screaming with my dad. This is not meant to take the victory away from every player who laid it on the line last Sunday in the victory over Carolina, but the biggest moments for us came on defense. If you know anything about 1979, defense was kind of a big deal.
I was ten in 1979, the same age my son is today. Of course, in 1979 Tampa Bay was experiencing the glory of a Buccaneer team that, after winning just 7 games in their first three seasons in existence, would win 10 games, the NFC Central title, and their first playoff game! Defensive linemen by the names of LeeRoy Selmon, Dave Logan, and Wally Chambers made pillaging offensive backfields a work of art. Last week it took constant pressure by Jason Pierre Paul, Gerald McCoy, Vita Vea, and Vinny Curry to make that victory possible. One particular play where Lavonte David seemed to channel Richard “Batman” Woods was the moment where, as we celebrated, I was momentarily transported back to the Tampa Bay of my youth and at the same time immediately realized how my dad must have felt so many years ago.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not comparing the 2018 Buccaneer defense with the defense that led the Buccaneers from worst to first in 1979. Of course I would rather hoist a Lombardi trophy instead of doing long division math in December, trying to figure out our mathematical chances of making the playoffs. But standing in Raymond James last week hugging my son, celebrating that glorious victory was why every season that doesn’t end with a Lombardi trophy or even a playoff game, for that matter, does not mean there won’t be memories made that will be every bit as precious, every bit as valuable.