Why Do the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Have a Home Game in the Super Bowl?
If you didn’t already think Tom Brady had everything going for him, you will now. In his first year as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback, Brady has taken them to a place he knows all too well – the Super Bowl. Brady is looking for his seventh ring and he gets to do it in the comfort of his own backyard.
The Buccaneers aren’t known for their playoff success
For the second time in their 44-year history, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are playing in the Super Bowl. For most of the franchise’s existence, the Buccaneers haven’t enjoyed the taste of the postseason. Prior to this year, the Buccaneers have only reached the postseason 10 times.
For the first two seasons, the Buccaneers were the laughingstock of the NFL. When the Bucs came into the league as an expansion team in 1976, they went winless in their entire 14-game season. In fact, the Buccaneers also dropped the first 12 games of the 1977 season, running their winless streak to 26 games. They earned their first franchise win against the New Orleans Saints.
In 1979, head coach John McKay turned things around. He brought the Bucs to the NFC title game after going 10-6 in the regular season. The Buccaneers made their first Super Bowl in the 2002 season. In the postseason, they knocked off the San Francisco 49ers and the Philadelphia Eagles under head coach Jon Gruden. Gruden then led the Bucs to a Super Bowl title when they defeated Gruden’s former team, the Oakland Raiders 48-21.
Tom Brady had the Bucs Super-Bowl bound in his first year
Tom Brady has gotten very accustomed to playing February football. In his 20 years playing for the New England Patriots, Brady has played in nine Super Bowls, winning six of them. He’ll be making his 10th Super Bowl appearance as a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
As soon as the Buccaneers signed Brady to a free-agent deal, they went all in. Brady was locked up for two years in a deal worth $50 million and the Tampa Bay front office went to work surrounding him with some nice offensive weapons. the Bucs already had two quality wide receivers in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, but that wasn’t enough.
The Bucs added Pro Bowler Antonio Brown to the mix. They also reached out to Brady’s former teammate, tight end Rob Gronkowski, who had retired after the 2018 season. Tampa worked out a trade with the Patriots, who still owned his rights, and brought him to town. They also added Leonard Fournette, a former first-round pick, to help with their running game. The Bucs went 11-5 in the regular season and then won three road games in the postseason to reach Super Bowl 55.
Why do the Buccaneers have a home game in the Super Bowl?
Super Bowl 55 is a rarity. For the first time in Super Bowl history, a team playing in the game has true home-field advantage. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be “hosting” the Kansas City Chiefs as the game will be played in Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium.
Typically, Super Bowl sites are known four years in advance. In 2017, it was announced that Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium would be the host of Super Bowl 55. The 66,000-seat stadium opened in 1996. Tampa also hosted the Super Bowl in 2009 when the Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Arizona Cardinals.
So for the Buccaneers, it was luck of the draw. For the record, the Super Bowl will be held in Los Angeles in 2022. In 2023, the game will be played in Arizona.
All statistics courtesy of Pro Football Reference.