The Legacy of the 1976/1977 Tampa Bay Buccaneers...and the 2010-2011 Cleveland Cavaliers

The Buccaneers lost 26 consecutive games in 1976 and 1977, before finally snapping their losing streak against the Saints. For a long time losing became part of the franchise. When the Bucs set the NFL record for consecutive losing seasons in the '80s and early '90s, it fit perfectly with the narrative of a perennially losing franchise started by going 0-26. Losing was so ingrained in the franchise that when the Glazers first bought it, they felt the need to overhaul the team's image with a new logo and new uniforms. The losing franchise would turn into a winner under the Glazers, taking football's ultimate trophy home after the 2002 season. But 0-26 is as much a defining moment of this franchise as the Super Bowl is. 

So when the news came in that the Cleveland Cavaliers had tied that record by losing to the Detroit Pistons on February 9th, the reality sank in that the Bucs could lose that record. The Bucs were no longer the only team to go 0-26, and if the L.A. Clippers could get up and beat the Cavs on Friday - they couldn't - the Cavaliers would be the sole owners of the record for the longest consecutive losing streak in U.S. pro sports history. JoeBucsFan was elated by this news, and is undoubtedly saddened by the fact that the Clippers couldn't hold up their end of the bargain. The Bucs now shared the record, but it was still theirs: the worst team in history - the 1976/77 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

But unlike JoeBucsFan, I am glad for this result. Going 0-14, losing 26 consecutive games, losing 14 consecutive seasons - these are all part of Bucs history. And they're all part of why I started following the Bucs. Unlike so many, I wasn't born in Tampa or St. Petersburg and have no real connection to the area. But when I started following the NFL, I picked a team to support. And for a multitude of reasons, I chose the Bucs. Because of their style of play. Because of the theme. Because there was a pirate ship in the stadium. But also because of their history. Going from the worst team in professional sports history, to being a winning franchise. All that losing and then turning it around. I like that story. The underdog eventually came out on top. 

Losing is part of Buccaneers history. The Buccaneers would not be the Buccaneers without 0-14, without drafting Bo Jackson first overall, without trading away Steve Young, without losing Doug Williams, without Keith McCants and without 0-26. It is part of what makes the Tampa Bay Buccaneers special. I support the Bucs when they win and when they lose, and while I'm happier when they win, I don't want to take away this team's history. And if I were rooting for the Bucs to lose the record, then I'd be rooting for them to lose part of their history and their identity.  

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