Sounds Like A Plan

December 2nd, 2016


Tampa Bay’s only Hall of Fame voter, Ira Kaufman, esteemed columnist, finds himself San Diego dreaming today. Kaufman’s columns publish Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. His award-winning podcasts rolls Tuesdays and Thursdays. 


Good old Qualcomm.

By any name, it’s been a historic venue for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as they prepare for Sunday’s matchup against the dangerous Chargers.

The creaky facility off Friars Road was known as Jack Murphy Stadium when a rookie coach named Tony Dungy led a 2-8 club into San Diego as a significant underdog in 1996.

The Bucs rallied from an early 14-0 deficit to win 25-17 that day behind a prolific effort by Trent Dilfer, but the real turnaround came hours earlier as Warren Sapp, Derrick Brooks and John Lynch tuned in to watch a pregame show.

ESPN anchor Chris Berman was ridiculing the Bucs when a pair of Hall of Famers and a strong 2017 candidate for Canton turned to each other and declared enough is enough.

The losing stops today.

“We were being made fun of, being called the Yuccaneers,” Brooks said after the stirring comeback victory. “We were the laughingstock of the NFL and we took it personal.”

Those disrespected Bucs finished with five wins in their final seven games, setting the stage for a playoff season in 1997 and a thrilling six-year run that put the Chris Bermans of the world in their place.

New Identity

Tampa Bay had been 1-19 playing on the West Coast until Dilfer threw for 327 yards and the Bucs picked off three Stan Humphries passes.

“We got in their face and punched them in the mouth,” Sapp said. “That’s what we want to be known as.”

The 2002 Bucs were truly a bad-ass outfit, capped by that 48-21 humbling of the Raiders in the Super Bowl at San Diego. The stadium went by the name Qualcomm that glorious afternoon and no Buc fan at the time would have believed that we’d be here 14 years later — still waiting for another postseason victory.

Certain stadiums bring back specific memories for Buc supporters.

Who can forget the image of Steve Young getting his face pushed into a snow bank at Lambeau Field for those inept 1985 Bucs? Who can think about that concrete monstrosity known as the Vet without recalling the day Tampa Bay closed the joint down with a shocker in the NFC championship game against the Eagles?

On Jan. 23, 2000, the Trans World Dome in St. Louis was the site of the most shattering setback in franchise annals, an 11-6 loss to the Rams that left the Bucs excruciatingly short of a Super Bowl berth. Tampa Bay lost despite allowing only one touchdown to an NFL juggernaut that reached the end zone 73 times that season.

Throw Out The Record

As the Bucs head off to San Diego, Qualcomm once again looms as a potentially momentous venue.

The Chargers are slight favorites, which should tell Buc supporters to ignore the 5-6 record and realize San Diego owns a 313-291 scoring advantage this season. An opening-day setback against Kansas City came in overtime after a second-half collapse and the Chargers would soon suffer three consecutive losses by a combined margin of eight points.

The Bucs now have an opportunity to make another statement at Qualcomm, with perhaps a chance to fly home Sunday evening sitting in the NFC playoff catbird seat. A Tampa Bay victory, coupled with a Redskins loss at Arizona, would vault the Bucs into the No. 6 playoff position, the final Wild Card berth, with four games remaining.

Yes, Tampa Bay fans are California Dreamin’ once again. When they get off the bus at 9449 Friars Road, the Bucs need to heed the words of their great sage and bully, No. 99: “We got in their face and punched them in the mouth.”

Sounds like a plan.

8 Responses to “Sounds Like A Plan”

  1. Bucsfan951 Says:

    Such a well written article… I will be there to witness them punching the Chargers in the mouth. This game is a big test for this young bucs team but I know they’re up for the challenge. GO BUCS!!!

  2. Mike Johnson Says:

    Lets just watch the game people. anybody who has ever viewed the Chargers playing at home knows Rivers plays exceptionally well there. He knows every inch of that tundra and throws like he knows it too. Our Defense is going to have to continue to play well in order for us to win. Play like we played this past Sunday and we win. If not? Rivers and his offense has a field day. Its just..that simple. IF you’ve been paying attention..when our Defense plays all out, we win. When they don’t..we lose. DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS knucleheads!! I’ve been sayin this 1976. Defense won our 1st and only superbowl.

  3. Patrick in VA Says:

    Well done, Ira. Really fun piece to read.

  4. Ga. Buc fan 40 years Says:

    And the stars align once again !

  5. BucfanBF Says:

    Thank you for the excellent article. I agree with Mike Johnson above: defense wins championships. We now have an offense capable of lighting up the scoreboard too.
    I want to see a complete beat down of the Chargers, if we do that then I say this team has definitely arrived!!
    Go Bucs!!

  6. steviejanowski39 Says:

    Well done Ira! I teared up thinking about the past glory and promise that the future holds. It’s been a long time comin….

  7. Lord Cornelius Says:

    Man that Rams loss in 2000 was tough. I was in 7th grade and crying like a baby b*tch. My dad was drunk and threw a house plant.

  8. beeric2008 Says:

    Ira is such a good addition to this site.