When did you become a Bucs fan?
Was it before they won the Super Bowl?
When they hired Tony Dungy?
Some fans say they became a fan in 2007, our last playoff appearance, and that it has been a bad stretch for the Bucs for over a decade that Tampa has had eight losing seasons and only 3 winning seasons.
But this has not been the worst of it. If you have been a fan of the Bucs since the ’80s or before, then you know what I’m talking about.
All Hugh Culverhouse need to do was pay his players properly, especially Doug Williams. We all know it didn’t happen, so things only got worse -14 straight double-digit losing seasons.
So my fellow fans, who started with us after Dungy was hired, yes, you really have no idea what pain really is. Not like the pain experienced by OG Bucs fans. Yes, it has been a terrible circumstance for many in the last decade, but nothing like it has been for fans following the team for over 40 years.
John McKay in 1984 and the following season Lee Roy Selmon officially retire, and at that point, things didn’t seem like they could get any worse.
Hugh Culverhouse said, “hold my beer.”
Hugh Culverhouse had a tough task in having to replace the legendary head coach John McKay, and who does he go get? None other than Leeman Bennett, who was an NFL coach yes, but also was an owner of multiple used car dealerships. Bennet was far better suited to sell used cars than he was at being an NFL head coach. Bennet was part of the Culverhouse-Bo Jackson fiasco.
After 2 years in Tampa, Culverhouse fires Bennet, who was the worst coach in the history of our team and maybe even the NFL. Culverhouse then hires Ray Perkins, who would try to kill his players in practice, and some players even said that his practices took a few years off of their careers. Ray had the personality of a wall, and nothing was never his fault.
Then comes Richard Williamson. Williamson only got the job because Ray Perkins was fired with three games remaining on the schedule, and at the players’ urgency, hired him as our coach. He only lasted a year, so never listen to your players about hiring a coach. It seldom works out.
Through all that time, only one number 1 pick turned out to be great and that was Paul Gruber. Gruber played hard year-in and year-out at a pro bowl level, which really meant something back then, and on some very bad Tampa Bay Buccaneers teams.
Lastly, during that losing streak, Hugh hired Sam Wyche. I was excited about Sam Wyche. Wyche did an outstanding job coaching the Bengals and even took them Super Bowl in 1988, which they lost to the 49ers 16-20. Wyche evaluated talent really well. After all, it was Sam Wyche that convinced Hugh Culverhouse that John Lynch was going to be a star. Wyche worked hard in convincing Culverhouse to take a chance on another player that played Baseball as well. Lynch was a pitcher for the Florida Marlins at the time and could have easily been selected in the first round of the NFL draft by the Green Bay Packers, but Green Bay passed allowing Lynch to fall to Tampa in the 3rd round.
In my opinion, success through the NFL draft did not begin to happen until John McKay’s son, Rich, took over Phil Krueger’s job as general manager. Between Rich and Sam, they evaluated talent as well as anyone. The drafting of Sapp and Brooks in 1995, is a prime example. But none of the players liked the mind games, and circus atmosphere that Sam brought to the team and he was fired after the 1995 season.
It was a sad time when Hugh Culverhouse passed away, and the team had to be sold. but it turned out to be a good thing for the organization. Hugh would have never sold the team while he was alive. The new owner Malcolm Glazer got straight to work and hired Tony Dungy as our head coach, and began a decade long stretch of great football.
So before anyone complains about the current state of our franchise, always remember that things could be a lot worse.
I believe in Bruce Arians, and believe he will get us back to being competitive.