THE OPTIMIST: Bucs Monday Night Highlights

September 30th, 2011

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

THE OPTIMIST is Nick Houllis, a Bucs fan and an accomplished writer whose steadfast allegiance to the Buccaneers goes back to the 1970s. Houllis is the founder, creator and guru of, 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.


It’s Back! Monday Night Football!

I started thinking about how a lot of today’s fans havn’t really had a chance to enjoy their Bucs on Monday Night Football, and if you became a Bucs fan after the SuperBowl when Chris Simms was our QB or later, you don?t remember the days of Sapp, Lynch or the rebirth of MNF on the Gulf Coast.

So let me take you down memory lane as you get ready for Prime Time on Monday.

The Bucs became a team in 1976, and almost instantly Bucs fans learned to loathe MNF, not so much because we were never on it, but we never got to see our team on the halftime highlights.

Because they were narrated by Howard Cosell, Bucs fans learned to hate the nasal announcer. It wasn’t his fault — blame the producers — but that didn’t stop Tampa Bay from hating Mr. Cosell.

Finally, after the magical 1979 season, the MNF team awarded the Bucs two Monday night Games (one on Monday, one a Thursday Night special edition vs the LA Rams in a rematch of the NFC Championship game.) The Bucs scored 10 points to avenge their 9-0 loss — 10-9 on a late Doug Williams touchdown.

During the game, a MNF Camera panned the crowd and showed a sign reading MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL with a photo of Howard Cosell. After a brief moment, it was revealed it was two signs, and the half that said MNF dropped showing the words “COSELL SUCKS!”

“We’re not going to touch that.” announcers said.

A few appearances later, during a disasterous 1983 season, the Bucs put the country to sleep with a 12-9 OT win over Green Bay, and even though it was Week 15, it was Cosell’s last game on MNF.

Fifteen years later a whole new crew of MNF appeared in Tampa as the Bucs hosted the Packers again, only this time with Pewter uniforms at Raymond James Stadium. The place was rocking as MNF hadn’t been in Tampa Bay for a decade and a half. Some people got too excited.

One guy ran onto the field and was leveled by a state trouper thatlooked like a middle linbacker, all caught on film by the MNF crew, showing how crazy we were for primetime in Tampa Bay.

Even though it hasn’t been 15 years, Bucs fans of late have a lot to look forward to on Monday. The nation will be watching us; and, as I mentioned above, we have always had something good for MNF to show to the country:

1999: Rookie Shaun King gets his first start, and throws two TDs to beat the Vikings.

2000: A fake punt Mike Alstott pass to a wide open Dave Moore was overthrown.

2000: St. Louis Rams came to town for a rematch of NFC Championship game, and fans saw the best Bucs game of all time.

2002: Keyshawn Johnson and head coach Jon Gruden get into an argument on the sideline for the cameras, but it would be ok. They’d win a Super Bowl togetherin a few months

2003: Bucs open “The Linc” in Philly with a 17-0 shut out of the Eagles

2004: Rams Adam Archuletta pulls in a ball that fell off of Michael Pittman’s ankle and returns it for a Rams touchdown

2008: The Bucs at 9-3 give up 300 yards rushing to a 9-3 Panther team that started a four-game losing streak for the Bucs that cost Jon Gruden his job, and put him in the MNF Booth — to call this game Monday.

If you didn’t get all that, see you in 10 years, we’ll have a bunch of new MNF history to tell the new fans then. And it all starts Monday.

13 Responses to “THE OPTIMIST: Bucs Monday Night Highlights”

  1. Oahubuc Says:

    Great article! But I thought… there was one more… Nope, my mistake, you got all of em! Great read.

  2. T in Orlando Says:

    How could you forget the colassal meltdown, giving up a 21 point lead with less than 5 minutes in the game to the Colts, back in ’03?

  3. SteveK Says:

    Nice read, could we add one more bullet point?

    – 2011: Each of the Bucs front four recrod a sack, and ronde barber gets a pick 6. On offense Freeman throws for 300 yards, and Blount runs for 150 yards and averages 7.5 yards a pop.

  4. chargedcbh Says:

    that 2000 game when Dunn pitched the ball back to King and the game winning TD by Dunn, was one of the best games EVER!!!! If anyone happens to have that on video please let me know!!!!!!!!

  5. OAR Says:

    Not the whole game, but the sandlot play you mentioned.

  6. OAR Says:

    That 2000 MNF play is the bottom/last video.

  7. roast iguana Says:

    T in Orlando, what in the world are you talking about?

  8. BigMacAttack Says:

    Nick, you are the Bucsopedia. If you ever have a question or want to know something about the Bucs, just ask Nick.

    The 2008 loss to Carolgina made me sick all over again.

    Happy Friday Everybody!

  9. McBuc Says:

    T,I think that was a Thursday night game…I could be wrong though. I have tried to black that game out for years.

  10. Niko (The Optimist) Says:

    Sorry T in Orlando, I actually did a story on my website about it, and you can actually watch the WHOLE LAST 1 HOUR of the game. Search for it on my site.

    Anyone who wants any Bucs games on DVD, just needs to contact me through my website. There are only 20 Bucs games I don’t have. and that list gets lower and lower each year.

  11. astrobuc Says:

    you had me at, It’s Back!

  12. Sgt Mike Says:

    I was at the 1999 game. That was one helluva game. Won’t be there tomorrow night but I hope it is a great game as I will be able to watch on TV here in D.C.. Go Bucs!

  13. fred Says:

    I saw that Howard Sucks game. It cracked me up then, and now whenever someone says Howard Cosell, I remember that and tell them the story.