Is the NFL trying to censor the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, or at least some of their history?
It happens every July. The family leaves for North Carolina and I binge watch the NFL Network. With “America’s Game” defining the Independence weekend lineup. But why was the 2002 Buccaneers Super Bowl XXXVII championship completely skipped?
See Something, Say Something
I’m very thankful that JoeBucsFan.com strenuously objected to the omission. What stood out even more in this ProFootballTalk article is what control some have over the spin, regurgitation, and production of what is news to NFL fans.
For some, going from the 2001 Patriots championship, to the 2003 Patriots championship might have been excusable. Admittedly, I got past the Buccaneers slight because the first Tom Brady championship led me straight to sleep. The next episode, the 2003 Patriots championship was the defeat of Carolina. Divisional opponent, so, enough said.
Controlling That Spin
As referenced in the PFT article. Jon Gruden has current litigation against the league. Rich Dalrymple gives the league nothing to cheer about. Being Buccaneers fans, the 2002 slight was obvious. Not watching the three letter network ALL WEEKEND, the 1995 Dallas Cowboys omission wasn’t.
PFT on the Buccaneers and Cowboys Snub,
“Our guess is that it traces directly to the fact that Jon Gruden, the first-year coach of the Super Bowl XXXVII champions at the time, currently has active litigation against the league — and because he was forced out of his job as coach of the Raiders after someone (he claims in his lawsuit that it was the league office and the Commissioner) leaked emails Gruden had sent to former Washington executive Bruce Allen in 2011.
Tyler Dunne of GoLong.com points out that the 1995 Cowboys also weren’t included. As Dunne speculates (likely accurately), that episode was leapfrogged because it includes extensive narration from former Cowboys P.R. executive Rich Dalrymple, who abruptly retired not long before ESPN.com reported that Dalrymple allegedly had videotaped cheerleaders while they were changing clothes in 2015, and that the team eventually paid out $2.4 million to settle any potential legal claims.”
Reasons, Good or Bad
Networks reschedule programming all of the time. For all kinds of reasons. The almost retirement of Buccaneers’ quarterback Tom Brady? That had the network running 72 hours of the GOAT. Who can say they minded. One assumes there are reasons the lords of football control what we digest. They are paid to program.
But in this day and age where there is so much spin we are dizzy. Does the shield retain the right to simply erase history? Should standing litigation or ongoing investigations give the NFL the right to skip historical games for the good of the shields press?
This is a slippery slope for the NFL. Where is the line? Do you now stop playing content with O.J. Simpson, Robert Kraft, Barry Switzer, Jerry Jones and Daniel Snyder? Do you as the NFL expand this censorship to accused players like Ray Lewis and Ben Roethlisberger? How would you handle Deshaun Watson content moving forward, well aside from handing him hundreds of millions of dollars. Obviously the NFL can chose what they put on their network, but a little consistency would be appreciated.
Does the NFL Network owe Buccaneers fans a Super Bowl XXXVII redo? You bet! Meanwhile, if you’re now sufficiently intrigued to watch the omitted episode the 2002 Buccaneers here.
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