THE OPTIMIST: Bucs To Overcome History In 2011

July 14th, 2011

"Step aside, little man."

You’ve all read THE PESSIMIST, who spews his Bucs-related anger like no other. But Joe brings you THE OPTIMIST

THE OPTIMIST is Nick Houllis, a Bucs fan and an accomplished writer whose steadfast allegiance to the team goes back to the 1970s. Houllis is the founder, creator and guru of BucStop.com, a place Joe goes to get lost in time via Houllis’ stunning video collection.

THE OPTIMIST will shine that positive light in your eyes. Some will love it. Some won’t.

Every time the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have tasted success after prolonged agony, the next season turns out to be a major disappointment.

The start of it goes back to 1980, when the Bucs sold out almost every home game following one of the greatest sports seasons in Tampa Bay history. It was the year after 1979, when the Bucs shocked the world and won 10 games when only 16 games before that the Bucs had won their first two games EVER — to the tune of a 2-26 lifetime record.

Ending up 10 points short of the Super Bowl, everyone expected the Bucs to make a serious run for the Big Game in ’80. Instead, Bucs fans got a team that surprised no one, and felt the move from an easy schedule to a much tougher one.

The ’80 Bucs defense was passed on repeatedly and its linebackers were exposed for being poor at covering receivers and speedy runners out of the backfield. Add to the mix rumors of drug use, and 10-6 turned into a 5-10-1 disappointment. The Bucs bounced back to make the playoffs the next two years.

Fast forward to 1998. The second year of Pewter Power had the Bucs expecting a playoff push to the Super Bowl following the breakthrough playoff season in ’97 with new uniforms and a new day in Tampa Bay. Instead, an inconsistent Tony Dungy team made more mental mistakes than ever, and it wasn’t until proper focus in 1999 and beyond were the Bucs perennially playoff bound.

I could go on and on … the Super Bowl victory was followed up with a 7-9 season. Take away a blocked extra point vs Carolina and that ridiculous LEAPING game with Colts on MNF (and the 21 straight points Indy Scored) and the Bucs start out 2003 with a 5-0 record. Instead they were 3-2 and the wheels were ready to fall off. After two losing seasons, Jon Gruden put together a solid defense and durable running attack in 2005. The next year, the QB’s spleen and the rest of the 2006 season were outta here.

This time it’s different; so don’t expect the 2011 Bucs to have a down year before resurfacing in 2012. There are just too many reasons why it won’t happen, and we’ll all be happy campers, lining up overnight for playoff tickets this coming January.

1) Nothing was really won in 2010: All the other examples show the Bucs winning something tangible, and when you win something, sometimes your fight goes away for a bit until it comes back. The Bucs won nothing; no division title, no playoff position, they simply had a winning record. If anything, that should make the team even hungrier, because they were ‘robbed’ of something.

2)The schedule does not get tougher: Granted we don’t play the NFC West this year, instead we get the NFC North, which does have two tough teams but two easier ones as well. Even the AFC division we play, the South, has Titans, Jaguars and Texans teams with weaknesses. The Colts are no longer the powerhouses they once were. The Bucs are going from the easiest schedule to the 15th-easiest, right in the middle, so there should be no complaining. There are only TWO GAMES each year that match your position in the division standings anyway. And this year it’s third place.

3) The Bucs have potentially nine games against teams with new coaching staffs and/or rookie QBs. That alone is an advantage in any normal season, but coupled with the lockout, a team like the Bucs returning its core group of players and coaching staff with the same offense is going to have a major advantage over teams whose players will be learning terminology only a few weeks before the start of camp. 

So I’m pretty sure the outcome is going to be something special in 2011 and beyond, a result you don’t have to be a real optimist to see.

10 Responses to “THE OPTIMIST: Bucs To Overcome History In 2011”

  1. McBuc Says:

    To brighten a little more, we had the 25th hardest schedule last season, so we are only moving up ten spots.

  2. barton1017 Says:

    I like that article, but something scared me about it. their the youngest team in the league and i have to wonder about a vetran presence that can teach them how NOT to read into things like the article said (schedule, other teams new coaches and QBs ect) and other sources of media. i would love for them to get a vet or put some guys like Brooks or Sapp or Lynch or Alstott on the side line or in the locker room to tell these kids what it means to play with a “chip on your shoulder”. their crazy talented and a “chip” might be what they need to push for a LONG playoff run. im sure coach Raheem will keep them motivate, and by the way was he even considered for coach of the year? LETS GO BUCS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. BigMacAttack Says:

    I’m going to lay it out there for you guys, right here, right now.

    13-3

    6-0 in the division with crushing blows to all that cross Freeman’s path. I’m with Sapp on that MVP nomination. He won’t win because everybody hates the Bucs, but he is Pro Bowl caliber now.

    I would like to say 15-1 but I’m trying to be conservative.

  4. Brandon Says:

    I think we are headed for 10+ wins this season. I have documented proof of saying BEFORE the season last year that the Bucs would win 9 or 10 games. http://www.tampabay.com/sports/football/bucs/tom-jones-bold-predictions-for-tampa-bay-buccaneers-in-2010/1120781 -under Brasho

  5. Apple Roof Cleaning Says:

    I agree with BigMacAttack, I see Tampa winning the division this year.

  6. niko (The Optimist) Says:

    Brandon, one of the brilliant things about the internet and these comments is that they never go away. You will find littered on all the sites the comments of ignorant people who said the Bucs were lacking coaching, which was the ONE THING the Bucs truly used to go 10-6, as well as the passing of Freeman, Catching of Williams, and running of Blount.

    You wont find those names anymore, those people have gotten new aliases like MWilliams, JFree, and such. But their comments, their ignorance, their betrayal of the team they love so much, will never go away. Those of us who proudly stood by our team even in the darkest hour will always know we stuck by our team through thick and thin. We are the REAL Bucs fans Brandon.
    BTW, your welcome to start and run a pickem competition on my website http://www.bucstop.com. Contact me for details, or ask Joe for my email.

  7. flmike Says:

    If I hear one more person say that Brees is 6 feet tall I will personally send them this photo, from the angle of the photographer (which looks to be eye level) there is about an 8″ height advantage for Josh, Brees is maybe 5’9″ (6′ according to the Saint’s site), and thats cutting him some slack. Like the caption says “Step aside little man, there’s a new MVP in town.”

  8. flmike Says:

    Oh yeah, I said 10-6 last season, and from the looks of the schedule I can see 12-4, maybe even 13-3. This is a team to be feared, and the league knows it, 2 Primetime games this year, watch, the NFL will make them the darlings of the league come ’12 and we’ll have 4 PT games.

  9. BigMacAttack Says:

    That’s what I’m talking about guys! Let’s get fired up and kick some A$$!!!

    Go Bucs!!!

  10. RustyRhino Says:

    Joe,
    Love the quote below the photo.
    Step aside little man… roflmao….
    Looking at this photo I can see how and why it would be hard to bring Freeman Down he is as big or bigger than most DL men… 6′-6″ is big for a QB or a DE.

 
 

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