Why the 2020 Buccaneers Defense is Superior to 2002 Squad


After what the 2020 Tampa Bay Buccaneers did against the Kansas City Chiefs did in Super Bowl LV, their defense is better than the 2002 squad. Before you crucify me as a Bucs fan, I’ll list this simple reason for this: the 2020 postseason. Obviously in the NFL, you don’t get to pick your opponents and many times, destiny has other plans when it comes to the playoffs. You can’t tell me that the level of competition the 2002 Bucs faced just in the realm of quarterbacks matched near the talent of 2020.

Buccaneers 2002 vs. 2020 Postseason QB Opponents

I’ll give credit to the world for the 2002 squad and Monte Kiffin for being the number one defense and dominating the league all season, but can you honestly say they would have conquered former MVPs and Super Bowl winners in New Orleans Saints’ Drew Brees, Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rodgers, and Kansas City Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes if given a chance? I’m not so sure. I’m omitting Washington Football Team’s Taylor Heinicke for consistency’s sake. The 2002 team defeated San Francisco 49ers’ Jeff Garcia, Philadelphia Eagles’ Donovan McNabb, and Oakland Raiders’ Rich Gannon on their way to the winning Super Bowl XXXVII. Can you say any of these 2002 QBs sniff the Pro-Football Hall of Fame?

Three One-Time Franchise QBs Versus Two Future Hall of Fame QBs

Brees and Rodgers are instant first balloters. Given the way Mahomes is progressing, he’s almost a lock if he can play long enough. All three also won Super Bowls while none of the 2002 Bucs’ opponents ever won. While the 2002 team managed a +9 turnover ratio in the postseason to the +5 in the 2020 squad, bear in mind that the combination of Gannon, Garcia, and McNabb’s combined career passing yards of 91,556 dwarves in comparison to Brees and Rodgers’ combined 131,603. The 2020 squad is also doing it in a heavier passing era.

The Mahomes Factor

Do you want to know what sold me on the 2020 squad being the best ever? How about on top of what they did to neutralize Brees and Rodgers, holding Mahomes and Kansas City out of the end zone and under double digits? If it were anyone else, that would be one thing, but Mahomes hasn’t been held without a touchdown since 2017 in his NCAA days and the Chiefs hasn’t lost a game within more than one score ALL season until Super Bowl LV and Bucs DC Todd Bowles deserves all the credit and then some for this epic run.