Best Bucs Team?

June 14th, 2021

Bucs coach Bucco Bruce Arians

Joe has a hunch this will be battled back and forth in local bars until everyone that saw both teams croaks.

In a story typed by Bryan DeArdo of CBS, he picks the best team for each NFL franchise

When it came to the Bucs, DeArso only had to choose between two, both Super Bowl winners. Chucky’s 2002 Bucs or Bucco Bruce Arians’ 2020 Bucs.

DeArso selected Arians’ 2020 Bucs.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 2020
* 15-5 overall record
* Featured the NFL’s third-ranked offense and eighth-ranked defense
* Defeated quarterbacks Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes

The 2002 Buccaneers will always hold a special place in the hearts of Tampa Bay fans as the franchise’s first title team. But the 2020 Buccaneers were a more balanced team who put together one of the most dominant performances in Super Bowl history. The ’20 Buccaneers also had the “GOAT,” quarterback Tom Brady, who won a record seventh Super Bowl and fifth Super Bowl MVP.

After a slow start, Tampa Bay won its final eight games. In the playoffs, they sent Drew Brees into retirement before defeating league MVP Aaron Rodgers in his own backyard. In Super Bowl LV, the Buccaneers’ often overlooked defense — led by linebackers Devin White, Shaquil Barrett and Lavonte David, defensive linemen Ndamukong Suh and Jason Pierre-Paul, and defensive backs Antoine Winfield Jr., Jordan Whitehead and Carlton Davis — held Patrick Mahomes and the rest of the Chiefs’ mighty offense to just nine points. Brady did his part, tossing three touchdown passes — two to tight end Rob Gronkowski — before halftime. Leonard Fournette, proving that a successful running game still matters in the NFL, essentially put the game on ice with his 27-yard touchdown run midway through the third quarter.

Joe would have to think long and hard about this one. Let’s try to break it down.

Best positions

Quarterback: 2020 — Tom Brady vs, Brad Johnson. Nuff’ said.
Running backs: 2002. This is a tough one. But Joe believes Mike Alstott gives 2002 the edge.
Wide receivers: 2020, not even close.
Offensive line: 2020, easily.
Defensive line: 2002. No brainer. Should be two Hall of Famers on 2002’s d-line.
Linebackers: 2020 by a landslide. Look, Joe loves Derrick Brooks, the greatest living Buccaneer. Think about it: Jason Pierre-Paul, Shaq Barrett, Lavonte David and Devin White vs. Brooks, Shelton Quarles and Al Singleton. C’mon.
Secondary: 2002. Should be two Hall of Famers in the 2002 secondary.

This would be a tough one. The 2002 defense was one of the best in NFL history. The 2020 offense was humming in the playoffs averaging 30 points a game in the postseason. Joe doesn’t think the 2002 offense would have done much against the 2020 defense. Would the 2020 offense and Brady have found a way to score just enough?

Tough call, man.

55 Responses to “Best Bucs Team?”

  1. Jeff Says:

    Final Score. 2020 Bucs 23 2002 Bucs 13.

  2. 1sparkybuc Says:

    The 2020 offense would score enough on the 2002 D. The 2002 offense would not. Vita Vea would have set up camp in the offensive backfield.

  3. Medicated Pete Says:

    Brad Johnson belongs in The Ring of Honor. Dude did his job & put up with Chucky’s maniacal B.S.

  4. SB Says:

    Different times and different rules. Hard to compare.

  5. SB Says:

    For ONCE I agree with Pete.

  6. DavidBigBucsFan99 Says:

    2020 Team hands down. Covid restrictions, no trainingcamp, no preseason, no fans in the stands, players out due to covid then beating the 3 best teams in the NFL, AND WINNING AT HOME IN THE STUPOR BOWL!!!!!! Yeah I think they got it.

  7. Cannon Says:

    I’m a total homer, and still wear my Sapp jersey proudly. I fully believe that the 2002 Bucs defense was one of the best of all time.

    That all being said, I have no doubt that our 2020 team would kick the crap out of that 2002 squad.

  8. Bird Says:

    Not sure myself

    But agree brad johnson would not have time to even dink and
    Dunk with zero run gAme against 2020 run defense

  9. Beeej Says:

    I seem to remember that classic 2002 defense being poor at stopping the run

  10. Steven007 Says:

    The biggest difference I can see is the glaring disparity between offense and defense. 2002 it was significant. Last year not nearly as much.

  11. BA4President Says:

    I’d like to see the argument over who had the best coaching performance in team history… 2002 Chucky or 2020 Arians????
    That would be a fun can of worms 🙂

  12. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I believe the 2020 competitors were stronger…….Saints, Packers & Chiefs……

  13. HeyItsAdam Says:

    The Bucs 2020 Super Bowl team turned in the single greatest Defensive performance in NFL history. It wasn’t the 00 Ravens, it wasn’t the 85 Bears, it wasn’t the 02 Bucs…. It was the 20 Bucs. No other team shut down AS HIGH-POWERED AN OFFENSE as the Chiefs so thoroughly.

  14. HeyItsAdam Says:

    ⬆️IN A SUPER BOWL…. Cool your jets.

  15. D-Rome Says:

    I think the 2020 team was better.

    I’d like to see the argument over who had the best coaching performance in team history… 2002 Chucky or 2020 Arians????

    That’s easy, it’s Arians. Chucky had the benefit of knowing the Raiders playbook and pretended to be Rich Gannon in practice. The Raiders also were without Barret Robbins who disappeared the day of the big game.

  16. Alanbucsfan Says:

    You forgot Tight Ends: 2020 not even close

  17. Bucsfanman Says:

    Man, that 2002 squad will always have a place in my heart but DANG! 2020 was so much sweeter, IMO!

  18. Defense Rules Says:

    Much as I love the 2002 Bucs’ defense, I don’t think it’d be that close; tend to think that the 2020 team would kick the snot out of them. Final score would probably be very similar to what we did to the Chiefs in the Super Bowl: 31-9. And the reason is exactly what you stated Joe: our 2020 team was a lot more BALANCED.

    The 2002 Bucs’ offense ranked #18, scoring 346 pts in the regular season (21.6 PPG average). The 2020 Bucs’ offense ranked #3, scoring 492 pts (30.8 PPG). That 2002 offense scored 20 or less pts in regular season 8 games … and we lost 4 of those 8 games. Not really much to discuss there; it’s not even close from the offense perspective.

    The 2002 Bucs’ defense ranked #1, allowing a mere 196 pts in the regular season (12.3 PPG average … THAT’S a kick-ass defense). Our 2020 Bucs’ defense ranked #8, allowing 355 pts (22.2 PPG). That’s a LOT better than what we did in 2019 & in more recent years, but still a looong way from only allowing 196 pts in 16 games. But because the rules have changed so much (favoring more offense), it’s really pretty hard to compare the two teams defensively. Still, I’d probably give the edge o the 2002 defense, largely because of their Secondary was superb.

    But when you look deeper, the 2002 Bucs has a relatively easy schedule. Yes they went 12-4 on the season, but when you look closer ALL FOUR LOSSES came against teams with winning records. And of the 12 wins, 8 of those wins came against teams with losing records. We did beat 4 teams with winning records, but we didn’t exactly roll over them. And in the playoffs we benefitted greatly IMO by getting a BYE in the first week of the playoffs. The 2020 Bucs team had to survive all 4 playoff games as a result of being a wildcard.

  19. dls5492 Says:

    Will always love the 2002. They put those scumbag Eagle’s fans in there place.
    The 2020 squad was awesome. They live, rent free, in the heads of the Packers and Chiefs.

  20. Evolvingbucsfan Says:

    Just pound “Alstott up the gut!” wear out Vea and Suh, lynch would live in the heads of our receivers all game. lol

    would be fun to watch that’s for sure.

  21. geno711 Says:

    I am not saying you can’t pick the 2020 Buc’s. Obviously the QB position is the most important in the NFL so Brady nuff said.

    But to the 2020 Buc’s defense shutting down KC as more impressive than the Buc’s 2002 defense shutting down Oakland, I think the 2002 defense was at least as impressive as the 2020 defense shut down.

    Kansas City was the 6th best scoring offense last year – not 1st or 2nd. They averaged only 24 points a game the 4 games prior to the Bucs and we know they lost their two tackles for our game. Oakland was the 2nd highest scoring offense in 2002 and came in average 31 their last 4 games.

    The 2002 defense scored 21 points on their own and really did not allow any points until the game was over. Further, Oakland’s 1st TD was a gift by the officials and would not have counted with today’s replay system as Porter did not have control of the ball.

  22. Ron says Says:

    Love the 2002 defense but they would get in trouble when they were on the field too long so unless they could take the ball away and score on the 2020 offense which I don’t believe they would be able to do as the diversity of weapons and Brady would be too much. The other problem the 2002 team would have is on the offensive side in that they would give the ball away to this defense as the push up the middle and the run defense would put them in position to scramble and the DB’s are too fast to keep the ball away so possibly scoring or short fields turnovers for the 2002 team to try and overcome. Now we would have to also look at the rule changes that have occurred since then but even with those the advantage is still with the 2020 team regardless of which set or mixture of rules were in place. The real amazing part is this team is structured to be better than what they have shown.

  23. ArmchairGM Says:

    In a game between both squads, I’m picking 2020 all day and for one reason…Tom Brady. He won his 1st super bowl in 2001 vs a Rams team running the Tampa 2 (d-coord was Lovie Smith lol). The 2002 team had way better personnel than the Rams, but the 2020 Brady has 2 decades of experience and the Bucs O has too many weapons.

    A good question would be what rules would you use? 2002 or 2020? Both teams were built to win under the rules at the time. I still say Brady is the X-factor because he’s the only player who succeeded in both of those years.

  24. Buc1987 Says:

    2020, but you’re right 2002 will always mean a lot more to me.

  25. BA4President Says:

    Thanks D-Rome. I had never heard about the Barrett Robbins thing… what a wild turn of events that was for Oakland

  26. Frankinthe512 Says:

    Rules were different in 2002. You could hit a QB and a WR..

  27. Buc1987 Says:

    I still own a Gruden visor. lol

  28. 813bucboi Says:

    suh and jpp HOF material…

    GO BUCS!!!!

  29. August 1976 Buc Says:

    2020 all day!!!! 2002 was a team with a great Defense but the offense was rather pedestrian for the most part, even in the Super Bowl Year.

    And the 2002 team crumbled the next season 2003 to 7-9,

    This 2021 Brady led team will win AT LEAST 16 games this season, especially including the postseason, and that will be the MOST EVER for the BUCS!!!

    The 2020 BUCS ALL DAY!!!!!

  30. 813bucboi Says:

    and i agree with @pete…

    Brad should be in the ROH….

    GO BUCS!!!!

  31. AlabamaBucsFan Says:

    Not to steal the topic, but it down right audacious that there is no movement on nominating Mike Alstott to the Hall of Fame. He was the last of the dying breed of Fullbacks and may have been the best there ever was as this position. Played 11 great years with the Bucs.

  32. DoooshLaRue Says:

    Unfair comparison Joe.

    2020 had All-World LT Durable Donnie.
    Once in a lifetime passion and talent doesn’t come along like that very often.

  33. Show Me the TDs Says:

    Simeon Rice would rip Brady’s arm off. After that it’s all downhill for 2020.

  34. Rayjay1122 Says:

    The best Bucs team ever I think is still 1 season away. The 2021 team is going to be incredibly good. I really can’t wait.

    However, between the 2002 and 2020 units, I give the nod to the 2020 team because the current offense is so good that I do not think the 2002 defense would slow them down much. I also think the 2020 defense would have some success stopping the 2002 offense burt imagine how much fun it would be to see the A train vzs the current run defense. Yikes, that would be some epic collisions.

  35. Defense Rules Says:

    AlabamaBucsFan … Mike Alstott remains my favorite Bucs’ player on offense, but Chucky ruined any chance Mike ever had of making it to the HOF. Take a close look at his year-to-year stats and he excelled in Dungy’s offense, both rushing AND catching the ball. Made the Pro Bowl 6 straight years (1997-2002) and First Team All-Pro in 3 of those years (1997-1999).

    BUT … as much as I loved watching him run through & bounce off would-be tacklers, he did have a fumbling problem (as in, a pretty significant fumbling problem … like 29 fumbles in his first 7 years). He was a beast when it came to scoring TDs (57 TDs in the 7 yrs from 1996-2002 says a lot), but after his first neck injury in 2003 he was never as dominant IMO as he was before that. And maybe that’s why Gruden didn’t use him nearly as much as Dungy did.

  36. geno711 Says:

    I agree DoooshLaRue. Donald Smith has some of the best dedication of any of the Buc’s. He was a 2nd round draft pick and suffered thru 5 years of Jameis Winston wanting his left tackle to block for 3 or longer seconds. Guy never complained. He just came to play each week. Arians and this current staff knew the problem was not with D Smith and he proved them correct.

    Glad we had him over number 1 overall pick tackle – Eric Fisher of the Chiefs.

  37. Pete I Says:

    Everyone knew that the 2002 Buccaneers were going to be good, maybe great, certainly in the playoffs and had a great Defense. They had been in the playoffs 4 of the last 5 years and had been in an NFC Championship game in 99. I fully expected to beat the Raiders.

    No one could foresee the 2020 Buccaneers and what they did. It was remarkable and unbelievable.

    Which team was better…meh who cares… But I know which game will go down as the bigger win…2020 (Brady, Pandemic, Wild Card and 3 wins on the road and finally winning THE GAME in your own home stadium vs a team everyone thought would roll)

    Winning SB 37 got us in the history books.

    Winning SB 55 got us a chapter in the history book alongside other firsts and historic NFL moments. (72 Dolphins, Jets in SB 3 and the Bills 4 SB appearances)

    Lets say the Rams win the SB in their own stadium next year…big deal…its been done!

  38. Steve Burke Says:

    Hey geno, that was one hell of a body slam you just put on the Dooosh…..just sayin….

  39. SlyPirate Says:

    2002 wins easily. The 2002 Raiders came in with the highest scoring offense in NFL history. The Bucs crushed them.

    Y’all are forgetting about Monte Kiffen. Brady folds when he gets hit. Here are your matchups …

    Simeon Rice vs Smith.
    Sapp vs Stinnie.
    Booger taking the doubles.
    Barber blitzing off the edge.

    2020 wants nothing to do with 2002.

  40. Bojim Says:

    Both teams did us proud.

  41. SufferingSince76 Says:

    2002 was epic because of all the lost years prior to that. 2020 was epic because of all the lost years prior to that. Let’s hope it’s not a pattern.

  42. AMI_Chris Says:

    I have to go with 2002. As a team, they were dominant (defensively) for several years before the Super Bowl win against the Raiders. Bucs were 6-2 in each half of the season for 12-4 overall. That team won their three playoff games by a combined 106-37. Brooks, Sapp, Lynch, Rice, Alstott. 2020 team certainly ended the season great but looked pretty pedestrian at 7-5. They nearly got beat by a backup in Washington in their first playoff game, and the Saints game turned on one play — Winfield’s strip. The Bucs might not have beaten Green Bay had that game last five more minutes. Both teams dominated the league’s #1 offense in the Super Bowl. Edge to 2002, for sure.

  43. D-Rome Says:

    AlabamaBucsFan … Mike Alstott remains my favorite Bucs’ player on offense, but Chucky ruined any chance Mike ever had of making it to the HOF.

    I agree DR. I don’t know if it was deliberate or if it was scheme but if Alstott was used the way he was previously used under Dungy and was able to make it to one or two more pro bowls I think he would have gotten the call for the hall eventually.

  44. SlyPirate Says:


    There should be a Secondary HOF for all-time, fan favorite, badass, players not in the HOF. Just off the top of my head …
    -Mike Alstott
    -Christian Akoye
    -Ickey Woods
    -Ricky Waters
    -Lyle Alzado

  45. Mark Says:

    Don’t forget the 2002 defense is good for 2 or 3 scores themselves.

  46. D-Rok Says:

    Going into this last Superbowl, my gut feeling was the chemistry between Brady and Gronk would be the difference, and it turned out to be the back-breaker for the Chiefs. Sure, KC could have come back in 4th Qtr, but due to our dominant TEAM effort on D, it did not happen. The trademark of a great D is when all is on the line, CAN they shut down a team? They did. As great as 02 D was, in some ways, I think 20 D was better because of when they clamped down. Projecting 2021, I can only envision our D being more consistent and when they get punched in the mouth at times, one thing our D has is knowing they CAN clamp down. Let’s hope they do, but I’m betting our O will be similar if not better, and our D will have much more confidence. Raising a Bromosa and hoping!!! GO BUCS!!

  47. Kansas95Buc Says:

    I have to side with ’02 Bucs, like some have said, it’s 2 different eras but something about that first championship will always be special

  48. D-Rok Says:

    PS: I also project 2021 Bucs D to score more than last year. They have swagger now – they know what they are and what they can do. Lights out, yo (I hope and pray!).

    – D

  49. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    I watched them both, but I have to say 2020 Bucs by far.
    The 2002 Bucs won by defense, but the 2020 Bucs could beat you both on Offense and Defense.
    When we reach the Super Bowl next year, even if we don’t win it again, all this talk about what year Bucs were the GOAT will cease.

  50. Buczilla Says:

    2002 Bucs in a fairly close game. Some folks like this DeArdo have a short memory. Our 2002 defense is the best of all time and only the 85 Bears deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence. Teams just could not pass on us and even the great Brady would be screwed. I love both teams but you have got to be realistic about these things man.

  51. Go Bucs! Says:

    Agree most balanced team and better team is 2020. That being said, as someone who followed the 2002 team through the Tony Dungy era and all of the trips to the playoffs and build up to 2002, I would say I’m a bigger FAN of that team. Love the current Bucs and TB12 as well as all the others but it’s hard to compare to the more sentimental connection to 2002.

  52. Wesley Says:

    The 2002 defense was top 5 defenses ever. Nobody is beating that defense, not even Brady.

  53. Buc4evr Says:

    For me 2002, that defense was the best D ever top to bottom. Lights out. In the 2002 SB game, Brad actually played better than Brady did in the 2020 SB, and if you look at the SB tape the 2002 WR’s made some phenomenal catches. I’m not saying Brad is even close to Brady in terms of talent and wins but in that one game I think Brad was better. Of course the 2020 offense is light years better than the 2002 offense.
    Nobody gave the Bucs any chance of winning in 2002 and when Ronde burned down the Vet and then the Bucs demolished the #1 offense in the SB it shocked the NFL. 2002 is still the best so far for me, but I’m looking forward to see the Bucs get even better in 2021!!

  54. Blu Says:

    2002 bucs not stopping this 2020 team bunch of homers on here lol brady has carved up that tampa 2 defense way too many times for it to work. You dont think he knows the coverages and hot routes to use against it 😂🤣. Then the pathetic ass offense of 2002 don’t even get me started. Well they might do something since the corners are all average on 20 but the d line would prob keep em sheltered long enough. Point being is 2002 getting their doors blown off everytime unless the o line just disappears.

  55. Bucs Bro Says:

    2020 would shred the Bucs 2002 squad.

    2002 Defense was great but they feasted on a lot of bad QB’s and bad teams to get to 12 wins. The 2002 Bucs offense struggled mightily against good defenses, can you imagine Kenyatta Walker against JPP or Shaq?

    Carlton Davis would shut down Keyshawn

    A one sided offense called by Gruden would not do much against the way this defense played in the 2020 playoffs.

    Love both squads but the 2020 team is superior