The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are at the doorstep of reaching another Super Bowl. Tom Brady has helped guide the franchise toward tremendous success with a chance to compete on the grandest stage. With that in mind, here’s the last time the Buccaneers reached the Super Bowl.
Buccaneers’ franchise history
Since the Buccaneers came into existence in 1976, the franchise has experienced sporadic success throughout its history.
After spending its first year in the AFC West, the NFL moved Tampa Bay to the NFC Central until 2001, then finally the NFC South. The organization has six division titles (1979, 1981, 1999, 2002, 2005, 2007).
Meanwhile, they hold only 11 playoff appearances, with six out of those coming over the last 20 years. The Buccaneers have some forgettable marks, such as their 0-14 campaign in their first official season and the NFL record for 26 straight regular-season losses.
Tampa Bay has possessed some of the game’s greatest talents with six Hall of Famers in Lee Roy Selmon, Steve Young, Randall McDaniel, Warren Sapp, Derrick Brooks, Tim Brown. The team had other all-time greats such as John Lynch, Simeon Rice, Rondae Barber. The current roster includes future Hall of Famer Tom Brady along with Mike Evans, Antonio Brown, Ndamukong Soh, and Lavonte David.
The franchise worked past these struggles and did reach and win the lone Super Bowl they participated in over their nearly five-decade existence.
When was the Buccaneers’ last Super Bowl appearance?
Before the 2002 season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers made the blockbuster deal to acquire then-Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden.
Gruden’s arrival set the tone for the franchise that helped guide their veteran-laden team to Super Bowl 37. The matchup had an obvious personal connection for the head coach facing the Raiders.
Tampa Bay more than showed their best on the grandest stage in the blowout win at Qualcomm Stadium. The Buccaneers defense had Oakland figured out forcing five turnovers while limiting them to 11 first downs and 269 total offensive yards.
Super Bowl MVP safety Dexter Jackson had two of the five interceptions that Rich Gannon threw. The Buccaneers also forced five sacks and gave up only 19 rushing yards. The Raiders simply couldn’t get any traction offensively, putting them in a 20-3 hole at halftime.
Brad Johnson managed the offense the rest of the way behind 215 passing yards and a pair of touchdown passes to Keenan McCardell. Meanwhile, Michael Pittman paced the running game with 124 rushing yards.
The balanced effort on both sides of the ball made it that much sweeter for Gruden to enjoy the win over his former team.
However, the franchise struggled in the many years that followed, with their first playoff berth not coming until 13 years later in Tom Brady’s first campaign with the franchise.
A tough challenge ahead against the Packers
The Buccaneers have not been the model for consistency over the last decade, but they have their chance to reach the Super Bowl this season.
Tom Brady’s arrival quickly shifted things into high gear as Tampa Bay has put together a deep playoff run. The franchise looks every bit the part of a Super Bowl contender behind their steady play on both sides of the ball.
Brady has been the guiding force they need offensively, even in his 21st season. Following a 40-touchdown pass regular season, the 43-year-old has followed that with 580 passing yards with four touchdown passes and a 99.1 passer rating in two games.
The Buccaneers defense has forced four interceptions, with three coming against Drew Brees in the divisional round. However, the Green Bay Packers pose a much different challenge in the NFC championship game.
Aaron Rodgers is playing some of the best football after what will see him awarded MVP honors for his stellar 2020 regular season. Rodgers looked strong against the LA Rams’ stout defense in the divisional round with a pair of touchdown passes, 296 passing yards, and a 108.1 passer rating.
All this should set up what will be an entertaining matchup in the NFC title game.
Stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference.