The 2019 season was definitely a roller coaster for Bruce Arians and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers going 7-9 and missing the post-season for a 12th straight season. Former Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston set franchise records (passing yards and touchdowns) along with being only the 8th player in NFL history to throw for 5,000+ yards in a season while being the founder of the 30/30 club. Along with that, OLB Shaq Barrett is the new franchise leader in sacks after posting 19.5 sacks (breaking Warren Sapp’s 16.5 set back in 2000). On offense, Chris Godwin became one of the best break out receivers in the league, posting 1,333 yards and 9 touchdowns in only 14 games, while Mike Evans posted his 6th straight 1,000-yard season amassing 1,157 yards and 8 TD’s in 13 games.
I’ll admit that when the news broke of Tom Brady and the Patriots parting ways after 20 seasons, it was a huge surprise. But the fact that the Bucs and Winston were parting ways made it clear that the 5th-year player was indeed “ballin” his way to free-agency.
Exit Jameis Winston, Enter Tom Brady
Five years after selecting Winston first overall in 2015, the Bucs have never finished better than 9-7(2015), which is sandwiched between a 6-10 season and two 5-11 seasons before Bruce Arians entered and were only able to muster a 7-9 record. In that time frame, Winston has been one of Tampa Bay’s most loved and hated players due to his lack of consistency and abundance of turnovers.
Fast forward to March 20, 2020 and the Bucs made an announcement that they signed the 20-year veteran and 6-time Super Bowl Champion quarterback Tom Brady. Now, personal feelings aside, you can’t argue that having the man that was dubbed “Operation Shoeless Joe Jackson” or as others tend to call him: “The G.O.A.T.”, teaming up with Top-5 receivers; Mike Evans and Chris Godwin along with guys like Scotty Miller, OJ Howard, and Cam Brate, that this offense would be dangerous knowing the man; who once lead the Patriots back from a 28-3 deficit in the Super Bowl against the Falcons, is going to do it at least twice a year for the next couple seasons, and possibly have a playoff run
.New unis bring back the glory days
The long-awaited uniform release has finally happened. The powers that be seem to have heard the fans cry to fix the hideous things we called uniforms. They seem to have tapped into the Super Bowl era just as they teased and what many fans asked for the return. The white has minor modifications to it as the nameplate is going to be with a black font instead of the red as of the past. In both uniforms, they thankfully kept the hint of orange that many fans were hoping stayed.
As for the alternate, the Bucs ditched the ketchup red and pewter alarm clock numbers for an all pewter version with white numbers outlined in red. The helmet even went under modifications as they have returned to the black facemasks and seem to have matched the pewter with the alternate jersey. The flag has shrunk very minimally as now the entire flag fits on the side of the helmet.
A New Era Begins in Tampa Bay
So new quarterback, new uniforms, now to only keep our fingers crossed that this pandemic passes in time for the regular season. The 2020 NFL season should have Bucs fans excited, and if it doesn’t, then they should walk the plank.
Things are looking brighter for the Bucs as they hope to ride this momentum wave and turn the corner completely. It’s been a long time coming, and it’s time the Lombardi comes back to Tampa to enjoy the beach and sunshine. It’s a new era in Tampa Bay!