The Tampa Bay Buccaneers Suffer Devastating Blow Ahead of NFC Title Game With the Packers

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are headed to face the Green Bay Packers in the NFC title game Sunday. It’s a winner-take-all matchup and a rematch of a Week 6 meeting that decides which team will represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. Just two days before the Bucs take the field, they were delivered some devastating news.

The Buccaneers and Packers set for a rematch

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This one is a lot more important than the one back in October. Back in Week 6, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hosted the Green Bay Packers and were very sharp in doing so. After the Packers, undefeated at the time, jumped out to a 10-0 lead after the first quarter, it was all Buccaneers.

Tom Brady and the Bucs rattled off 38 straight points as the Buccaneers cruised to a 38-10 victory to improve to 3-2. Things have changed since that October game and both teams are entering with impressive win streaks. The Buccaneers have won their last six games, while the Packers are riding a seven-game win streak.

“I think our team has come a long way from that day, but everything’s just words at this point,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur said, according to The Associated Press. “You’ve got to go out there and you’ve got to have a great week of preparation and you’ve got to go earn it on the field. So that’ll be our mindset and that’s how we’ll approach it.”

Jill Hobbs, a longtime employer of the Bucs, passed away

As the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were prepping for Sunday’s rematch with the Green Bay Packers, they were delivered some very sobering news. Jill Hobbs, who had worked 44 years in the organization, passed away earlier this week. The Bucs put out a touching statement revealing the effect Hobbs had on players, coaches, and everyone in the organization.

“Our hearts are heavy today as we mourn the loss of Jill Hobbs who has been a vital part of the Buccaneers since before the inaugural season in 1976,” the statement read. “Jill was a valued and dedicated employee with a big heart and deep passion for this organization, but she was so much more than that to our family. Jill’s knowledge of the team was unmatched, and her assistance has been invaluable to us.

“Nobody has impacted more Buccaneers players, coaches, and staff than Jill did in her more than 44 years of distinguished service. The Buccaneers were a significant part of Jill’s life ad she was equally as essential to our success.”

What they’re saying about Jill Hobbs

Jill Hobbs clearly touched many Tampa Bay players, current and former, and they were all quick to voice her importance in messages posted on social media. John Lynch, a former Bucs player, now the GM of the San Francisco 49ers, made his feelings known about Hobbs’ importance on Twitter.

“Jill was a straight-talking, kind-hearted woman who told it like it was and at the same time was as kind and caring as can be,” Lynch wrote. “God bless you Miss Jill. We love you and will miss you.”

Bucs tight end O.J. Howard also chimed in. “Sad day,” he wrote. “Mrs. Jill was the sweetest lady ever! I’ll never forget she introduced me to direct deposit after I forgot to cash my first NFL check! #RIP #TrulywillBeMissed.”