To review part One of the series....click here
VIdeo after Bucs 1977 last game of the year Win over Cardinals. First ever win at home...
Lesson 2- 1977: The Sophomore Year
In the April draft, the Bucs picked Ricky Bell with the first overall pick, and Dallas took Tony Dorsett. Keeping in mind hindsight is 20/20, it was controversial even then. John McKay, the Bucs Head Coach who won 4 national championships at USC, took Ricky Bell to run his i formation here in Tampa. Problem was, Ricky Bell was behind a poor offensive line unlike Dorsett at Dallas. He got injured often and for his first two years he did not live up to expectations. The wide receivers were ok, but there was just no Quarterback to deliver the ball.
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The Defense was not bad at all, in fact they finished ranked around the middle of the pack. The starting defense, with the exception of two players, became the nucleus of the 1979 team that finished ranked #1. This year, they were a respectable 13th out of 28 teams, but again, ranked dead last, 28th, on offense. The Bucs did not score an offensive Touchdown at home all year until the very last game.
The defense added two respectable linebackers in David Lewis out of USC, and traded for Richard Wood from the Jets, who were using him in a 4-3 scheme. McKay knew he would be better suited for the 3-4 that Tampa Bay would play for their entire time under their first 3 head coaches.
The season started respectably, with a lot of close ten point losses to a lot of teams, including some decent ones. Opening day the Bucs lost to the Eagles with their new quarterback Ron Jaworski. 12 games in, It looked as if the Bucs were going to lose every game this year too, but with two games left, the Bucs shocked the New Orleans Saints by getiing sacks and interceptions and turning them into touchdowns. Then coming home to thousands of fans lined up at Tampa International Airport, the Bucs went out the next week and beat the Cardinals in a game that was never close, and featured the very first offensive touchdown by the Bucs scored all year! The fans tore down the goalposts and swarmed the field. Celebrations were on their way, and the fans could feel it.
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