Brimming with expectation, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers unveiled a new look yesterday for their historically struggling NFL franchise, but failed to “siege the day” as their fans had hoped.
The team donned their pewter and red uniforms with every intention to “siege the day” as the Bucs’ splashy new marketing slogan suggested.
With the league’s top draft pick, Jameis Winston, starting at QB, Buccaneer fans and players alike were giddy with optimism on the opening day of the 2015 NFL season.
However, the Tennessee Titans, led by 2014 Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota, required only a few minutes to thoroughly dampen the anticipation of Bucs fans.
The quick first quarter combination of Mariota’s passing and Winston’s opening drive miscue was like firing a torpedo into the side of the Bucs’ iconic pirate ship which seemed to teeter in one of the Tampa stadium’s end zones.
A palpable pall descended upon Raymond James Stadium before all the Buccaneers faithful had even found their seats.
Justifiable murmuring had already begun in the hot Tampa sun.
Was yesterday’s first quarter a precursor to another turbulent year?
Would Winston really become a bust like former 1st pick JaMarcus Russell?
How long until Tampa Bay fans start calling for Lovie Smith’s head?
Was the new Bucs’ marketing slogan of “siege the day” already obsolete?
Are the Bucs’ cursed?
After yesterday’s horrific start to an eventual 42 – 14 drubbing by a mediocre opponent, the Bucs’ new look team and highly prized QB pretty much resembled the old one.
Famished football fans in the Tampa Bay area are hungry for a winner. They desire the team’s return to its 2002 Super Bowl championship form.
But, based on the Bucs’ bumbling, fans will need to wait.
Yesterday’s performance left most fans to mutter that the more things change in Tampa, the more they remain the same.
The once woeful Bucs, or Yucs, started their NFL history in 1976 by losing an unprecedented 26 straight games.
At .385% Tampa Bay has posted an overall 241-385-1 career franchise record, dead last among 32 NFL teams.
In recent years, the Bucs’ struggles have continued. The team hasn’t made the post season since 2007. Plus, the team’s most recent history seemed to capture greater TMZ coverage than ESPN headlines. For example:
A recent MRSA outbreak sidelined three key players in summer 2014.
The team battled a Kardashian like saga of innuendo and circumspection in 2013 surrounding the release of former first round draft pick and starting QB Josh Freeman.
Previous coach Greg Schiano failed miserably to skipper a new mutinous Buccaneer ship.
And, the former face of the franchise, Warren Sapp, failed badly in representing the Bucs and the NFL as a Hall of Fame inductee with his ugly, well-documented recent history away from the gridiron.
Thankfully, Bucco Bruce, the original mustachioed swashbuckling Buccaneer mascot is long gone. And, so are the team’s garish cream sickle color uniforms.
But, a shiny new 1st round draft pick at QB is not Tampa Bay’s miraculous panacea.
Positive institutional and culture changes must be implemented immediately.
Mental toughness, respect for authority, tolerance in the locker room as well as disciplined players both on and off the field are the prescriptions for positive change which will lead to winning ways.
Hard nosed, defensive minded and relationship oriented new head coach Lovie Smith is a terrific move to right the Buccaneer ship.
Now, he’s a substantive change worth noting, and the Bucs’ new coach will be worth watching in this 2015 NFL season which started off in troubled waters for the seemingly always struggling Buccaneers.
MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!