Fall has yet to breathe its first breath in Tampa Bay and the season is over. That’s right. After spending 8 months talking about the offensive coaching that was to fix the franchise quarterback it seemed like Sunday was the same song and dance. On a rare Florida afternoon in September, with the humidity low enough to chase thunderstorms away, a season of bright expectations was suddenly filled with storm warnings. What happened?
The thing is
The Buccaneers were never going to go 16-0. In fact, the forecasted record was closer to 0-16. The offense was going to explode under Bruce Arians. Ruining that party was the 49ers who came in with three #1’s on the defensive line and wreaked havoc in Raymond James. The Ute Boot, Matt Gay was going to save the day with last second heroics. Then head coach Arians took 3 off the board and Gay would never again be a factor.
Anybody who calls any NFL matchup an expected win is an idiot. Mic drop! There is parity, coaching, breaks, both good and bad. Some may think that the term any given day applies only to any team playing the Patriots. To have looked at the ridiculous schedule the Buccaneers will play this year and worked your way back to the conclusion that because this was a home game they should win. That’s just not the way to pick NFL games.
A reason for hope
In the 1999 season the Buccaneers would host the New York Giants on week 1. Trent Dilfer would throw 3 interceptions that day, 2 returned for touchdowns as the Buccaneers lost 17-13. This was Tony Dungy’s 3rd season as head coach and the defense was really starting to gel. Those Buccaneers would finish 11-5 that season with Shawn King replacing Trent Dilfer in week 11. Tampa Bay played in its second NFC Championship that year. The first since 1979. Part of the success that season was that after that first loss to New York. With a suspect offense, rising defense, and solid coaching, it took fans a minute to realize the sky wasn’t falling.
Strength thru adversity
That 1999 season was after making the playoffs the two previous years. These weren’t rising expectations that Tampa Bay had. This was expected domination by a team that was at the top. The loss that first weekend to the Giants sounded alarms up and down West Florida. There were other factors that would eventually lead to the 11-5 record that season. This Buccaneer team is not that team. The point here being, the sun will come up tomorrow. The season is not yet over. Tampa Bay should enjoy the 2019 season. No matter how the ball bounces.
Photo credit: bucsnation.com