Cross-posted at the Buccaneers Message Board:
I'm going a different direction with this one. I'm too depressed to continue to be depressed about the current situation for the Bucs.
On January 26, 2003 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, the NFC champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers won their first Super Bowl by defeating the AFC champion Oakland Raiders, 48-21.
Oakland came into the game as four-point favorites. However, the Tampa Bay defense dominated the contest. Raiders' quarterback Rich Gannon threw a Super Bowl record five interceptions, three of which were returned for touchdowns. Bucs safety Dexter Jackson, who had two of those interceptions and returned them for 34 yards, was named Super Bowl MVP. Jackson became only the second safety and third defensive back to ever be named Super Bowl MVP.
I was at a wedding during the first half of the Buccaneers beatdown of the 49ers in the divisional round. It was sad. So I made a point to let my wife know that if the Buccaneers won against the Eagles and went to the Super Bowl, I was going to do whatever the hell I wanted for that game, no wedding, or anything else was gonig to stop me.
It had been way too long. We went decades of being the laughing stock of the league. We gained respect in the late 90s and came ever so close, we were right there, we needed a Super Bowl appearance or all the blood, sweat, and tear would be worth nothing. The door doesn't stay open forever.
Sitting on my couch in my one-bedroom apartment at the time, I remember watching Joe Jurevicius catching that crossing pattern on 3rd down and going 70 yards up the field. I was going to have a heart attack, could we finally be conquering the hated Eagles and be making our first ever trip to the Super Bowl? With 3 minutes left in the game, Ronde Barber gave us our answer, "Yes, we were."
Super Bowl Sunday came really quick, especially when that's all I could think about for 2 weeks. I decided to go over to my brother's house were he was having a party and his fiance was a Raiders fan. I got their early and branded my ass into the couch cushion directly in front of the TV. It was time, Gruden was taking his troops into battle against his previous army. I have to admit I was nervous. Who had the advantage? The players that knew their ex-leader's tricks? Or the Leader who knew his ex-players' tricks?
The answer was obvious, almost right away. Charles Woodson intercepted Brad Johnson on the first series. "This is going to be ugly," I told myself, but not so fast...Simeon Rice set the tone by slamming Rich Gannon to the ground, forcing a field goal, and the defensive eruption took place. John Lynch told us that they were running the same plays Gruden told them to look for, that they were still using the audible signals that Gruden used in Oakland. It was obvious.
Tampa Bay dominated Oakland, outgaining them in total yards (365 to 269), rushing yards (150 to 19), first downs (24 to 11), offensive plays (76 to 60), and forced turnovers (5 to 1).It was domination. It was offensive domination, it was defensive domination, it was every aspect of the game domination. And it was good.
By the time Jerry Rice caught his touchdown, I was, shall we say, not sober. By the time the clock hit all noughts, the reality still hadn't hit me, but the excitement had. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had won the Super Bowl. The team many of had grown up watching get embarassed The team that until last year was the sole owner of a "defeated" season was not fixing to pose with the Lombardi Trophy.
I remember running around the neighborhood like a crazy person, letting anyone who was not aware that the Buccaneers were Super Bowl champions. It was glorious. I was on a natural high for months after that. I'm glad I get to have that memory as a fan with this franchise. Good times, good times.
So tell me...What were you doing on January 26, 2003? What do you remember? What was so awesome about it. There are plenty of threads for negativity, wailing, and moaning.
Share some positive memories with the rest of us from the Super Bowl win or any other point of Buccaneers history.