Running From Ghosts Of 1976

November 9th, 2013

The Bucs are more than halfway home to tying a putrid record many Bucs fans have tried to purge from their memory banks with untold bottles of beer and gallons of liquor: the 1976 winless season.

It really is hard to fathom the Bucs have stooped to this level. The Bucs are not an expansion franchise. They have quite a few big-moneyed free agents. They’ve had strong draft picks. They have Pro Bowlers on the roster.

If the Bucs lose to the scandal-ridden Dolphins Monday night, the Pewter Pirates are a mere five consecutive losses from trying a franchise-worst record of starting a season 0-14.

In ’76, the Bucs were an expansion franchise. They did not have years of draft picks to stock the roster. There was no free agency. Basically, the Bucs were playing with other teams’ castoffs. That’s certainly is not the case now.

Andrew Astleford of Fox Sports Florida spoke with Bucs survivors of the 1976 team to find out how they would handle avoiding a repeat.

Dan Ryczek says avoid losing faith. That’s one thing the former center makes clear about 1976: The Bucs kept working, kept their noses to the turf, even as scoreboards stayed gruesome from September through December.

Little about pressing forward was easy, though. Head coach John McKay, who led USC to four national titles in 16 years, thought he could turn any group into a contender with steep expectations and more than a little sweat. Ryczek recalls grueling two-a-day practices starting before the Fourth of July and lasting through September.

“It was very hard on the guys — more mentally than physically,” Ryczek told FOX Sports Florida. “The thing the current Bucs have to do, they don’t have to deal with that type of situation. They just have to continue to work hard. Things will break.”

That seems to be what the current-day Bucs are doing. They have yet to tank. They are playing hard and hanging in there, though not quite long enough as was evidenced last week in Seattle.

Joe isn’t sure where the Bucs could get another chance for a win, short of in St. Louis just before Christmas against the wayward Lambs, perhaps the Falcons at home, or maybe in New Orleans to close the season as the Saints could have their playoff slot locked in and may be resting players (that happened three years ago).

Joe never dreamed he would see the Bucs go winless again. It’s closer than fans may realize.

12 Responses to “Running From Ghosts Of 1976”

  1. Mike J Says:

    That season was no fun. But at least I didn’t expect the team to make the play-offs the summer before.

  2. Chef Paul Says:

    I agree with ol’ 1987 about not getting any expectations the rest of the year, and just go in thinking we will lose but hope for a win. But I just cant help myself. Last week showed us, these guys can take on any team in the league if they play like they did last week. I think the players and coaches saw that too. I should have learned my lesson but I didn’t. I expect a win Monday, and I’m pretty darn excited about it too!!

    Sorry to the people that want to win the draft, but I think we are going to start winning some games. The turn around starts this week MFers

  3. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I was there…..and there is a difference….we had no history then. I started to get the feeling that we just really weren’t as good as the rest of the league…that our talent level wasn’t the same.
    But there is hope….we went from 0-26 in 76/77….to hosting the NFC Championship in 1979…..and we did it with the same coach!!!

  4. BucFanForever Says:

    Time to finish the season 12-0. Bucs are not mathematically eliminated. Best way to start is to win on Monday.

  5. Mr. Patrick Says:

    The Bucs should have beaten Seattle but as usual the coach choked it away late game. But Seattle is an injury riddled team all over the field and almost lost to the lowly Rams the week before. Now they have Miami Monday night, a team in more disarray than themselves who just lost 2 O-Lineman. I predict the Bucs get their 1st win Monday. However, if they don’t hopefully on Tuesday the Glazers do something necesarry

  6. Mike J Says:

    ”The Bucs should have beaten Seattle but as usual the coach choked it away late game.”
    Was that the one where the Seahawks kicked the last-second FG, Mr. Patrick ??

  7. Mr. Patrick Says:

    @ Mike J
    Did you actually watch the entire game? You know, the one where the Bucs stopped doing the things that got them the 21-0 lead that they squandered?

  8. Bucfan#37 Says:

    0-16 happens, rather shit happens. The lions went winless recently. Everybody got over that. When the Bucs were awarded the franchise everyone was excited to have a team. Even with the poor record of those first two years, the excitement was just out of this world. Carolina and Jacksonville had better players when they came in during the later expansion.

  9. Mike J Says:

    Oh, very sorry. I thought that you were referring to the 1976 game–seriously.

  10. Mike J Says:

    I was wrong anyway; it was a very late blocked FG by Seattle, by ex-Colt Mike Curtis, the LB famous for forearming a fan who ran onto the field in Baltimore.

  11. Rob Says:

    I have been watching and attending since day one when I was 12. This had 0-16 written all over it.

  12. 1976Buc Says:

    We had much less talent on the ’76 team. The fact that we are playing very “simple” football and at times a defense that no one can even recognize is disheartening.