The Tampa Bay Buccaneers got their name from a local sportswriter in the early days of the American Football League (AFL), who used to cover the team. It was initially called "the Bucs". In 1976, it was revealed that one of their players had an affinity for pirate puns and suggested a name change to Buccaneers from Buccaneers. After the team's first winning season in 1976, the name was officially changed to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The history of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers starts with an earlier franchise known as the "Tampans". They were a semi-professional football team that played from 1920-to 1940 before being disbanded due to World War 2. The franchise was reformed in 1947 and officially brought back into existence after a long absence by popular demand before playing at Raymond James Stadium in 1989. A year later, Steve Spurrier became its head coach and led them to their first winning season in 1990 with 10-6. The following year, they matched that with an 11-5 record and made it to their first postseason game.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have played under multiple head coaches in the franchise's history. This includes John McKay, Tony Dungy, Lovie Smith and Jon Gruden. McKay was the first head coach and is looked at as one of the greatest ever as he led them to two Super Bowls before becoming a head coach for the Los Angeles Raiders.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers is another NFL team and another franchise that provides job opportunities across multiple industries and organisations in this city. The organisation's last championship was against their arch-rivals Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XXXVII in 2002 (which ended in a 21-0 victory), with Tony Dungy being its head coach.
History of professional football teams in Tampa Bay
Football has been played in the Tampa Bay area since 1895. In the late 1930s, the city's first professional football team, the Tampa Spartans. The Spartans played for a few years in various leagues and competed against many NFL teams. By around 1964, interest in the sport had waned considerably.
In 1975, George Shinn, owner of the NBA's New Orleans Jazz and part-owner of the NFL's New Orleans Saints, brought pro football back to Tampa Bay when he convinced NFL owners to award him an expansion franchise to begin to play in 1976. The new team, the Buccaneers (later the Tampa Bay Bandits and then the Tampa Bay Buccaneers), was named after apparent road games one could take in travelling to and from New Orleans. Shinn put together a roster that included such players as future Pro Football Hall of Famers Tony Dungy and Warren Sapp. The team took on several different nicknames over the years as it became less successful on the field and lost most of its popularity.
The early days of the NFL in Tampa Bay
In January 1976, NFL owners awarded an expansion franchise to Shinn for 28 million dollars. The franchise was known as the Buccaneers and would be playing in the same division as the Miami Dolphins, who had played twice a year as regional rivals since their inception. In 1977, former Clemson University head coach Danny Ford was brought in to coach the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His record over three seasons was 9–28.
After John McKay retired from coaching following their first season in 1976, former USC assistant coach McKay was brought in to take his place. However, after an 0–14 start to follow a 9–5 finish, McKay opted to return to coaching college football. He stayed with the team as a general manager until he died in 2001.
The Buccaneers returned to the playoffs in 1979 and 1983 before reaching the Super Bowl in their second year of existence. They played against the Denver Broncos and lost 30-27. In 1992, after winning a couple of conference titles, they reached their first Super Bowl. They were defeated by the Green Bay Packers 40-6 at Super Bowl XXVII.
Through the '90s and late 2000s, Doug Williams was Tampa's quarterback most of those years (except for a few years where he didn't play) and is considered by many to be one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play in the NFL. Williams was a Pro Bowl quarterback and Super Bowl champion. He led the Bucs to their only Super Bowl victory (Super Bowl XXXVII).
The John McKay years
After the 1976 season, John McKay was hired as head coach of the Buccaneers. He had been lured away from the University of Southern California (a fellow AFL expansion partner) with a five-year contract worth $1 million. He led Tampa Bay to an NFC Championship in 1979 and delivered them to their first-ever Super Bowl, which they lost to the Oakland Raiders, 27–10. The following season, he announced his retirement. During his tenure in Tampa Bay, he compiled a record of 54–41–1 (.557). McKay remains the winningest coach in franchise history.
The Tony Dungy years
In 1996, Tony Dungy became the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers; it was the first head coaching job for Dungy. He coached for six seasons before being fired on January 16, 2001. In 1996, his first season as head coach, he took Tampa Bay to their second Super Bowl appearance. They lost Super Bowl XXXVII 48–21. It was also a disappointing season in which they were expected to make a serious run at the AFC Central Division title but finished 7-9 and missed the playoffs for only the second time since 1987. Despite this early success, things quickly fell apart for Dungy and the company.