It's the end of the world! At least, that's what the Mayans say.
With the world ending, this is the time to share your favorite sports memories, before it's all gone. You will never see another Tampa Bay Buccaneers game, all you have to hang on to is memories. Memories of the Super Bowl, memories of Ronde Barber running back touchdowns, memories of Warren Sapp smothering people and Derrick Brooks sprinting across the field. Memories of John Lynch laying down the hammer (and causing a lot of the concussion concerns floating around now), and memories of Mike Alstott getting past the goal-line.
We all have our favorite sports memory, but there's one we all know and have discussed to death: Ronde Barber's interception return for a touchdown in the 2002/03 NFC Championship game, bringing the Bucs to the Super Bowl. That is the most important moment in Bucs history, engraved in many a fan's memory.
I asked our contributors to come up with their favorite memories. Here are the results.
JC De La Torre
Steve Young nearly suffocating to death buried in a snow drift during the blizzard game at Green Bay in 1985. Yes, the Snow Bowl. The game played in a blizzard. The game so filled with snow, that half the time you couldn't see what was happening on the field. The game that saw a 2-10 Tampa Bay team go to Green Bay, and put up a clunker. 0 points, giving up 21 points in the snow, playing some of the ugliest football you will ever see. Steve Young was an Arizona-like 8-17 for 53 yards with five sacks and one interception. James Wilder ran for just 23 yards on 12 carries. Everyone besides Young and Wilder combined for a ridiculous two offensive touches.
And as if all that snow wasn't bad enough, as if the terrible football wasn't bad enough, as if the loss wasn't bad enough (though everyone was used to that by then), the Bucs decided to play in white. In a blizzard. A snow-filled stadium. A snow-filled broadcast. Playing in white.
Oh, Culverhouse-era, what won't you do.
Jarldg came up with two different favorite sports memories. The first came in the 2005 season, one of the last times the Bucs made it to the playoffs. In week 10, sporting a 6-3 record they faced the Washington Redskins. Somehow, this turned into a real shootout. Near the end of regulation, the score was Redskins 35, Buccaneers 28. We had seen two Mike Alstott touchdowns, Chris Simms had hit two touchdown passes with no interceptions. The Bucs had allowed the Redskins to continually come back, though, and they were still trailing.
And then, after a defensive stop, the Bucs got the ball back around midfield after a short punt. Chris Simms got the ball down the field quickly, and the Bucs punched it in with 1:05 remaining. They lined up for the tying extra point -- and the Redskins blocked it. For a moment, it seemed like the game was over. But then, it came back: the Redskins had jumped offside, and the Bucs got another chance.
Enter Mike Alstott, who had bulled in two short-yardage touchdowns that game. The Bucs were aggressive and wanted to decide the game then and there rather than playing for overtime. Punch it in and get the win with a two-point conversion. And they did exactly that. Bucs win, 36-35.
Jarldg's second memory? Well, that came against the Philadelphia Eagles in 2006. A miserable season, as the Bucs were 2-4 going into that game and ended up going 4-12. Nothing really worked, but the Bucs appeared to be in position to beat the Eagles. They were up 17-0 in the third quarter, but the Eagles rallied back. 17-7, 17-14, 20-14. It was a one-score game, and the Eagles had the ball at midfield with just 46 seconds remaining. McNabb threw a dumpoff pass to Westbrook, Derrick Brooks came screaming up to make the tackle -- and he missed it. Ronde Barber came around the corner and stuck out his foot to trip Westbrook -- and he missed. And just like that, Westbrook was in the endzone. 21-20 Eagles, and the Bucs would have just 27 seconds remaining with Bruce Gradkowski at the helm to win the game.
With just four seconds left, they lined up for a 62-yard field goal. Matt Bryant was 0-3 from beyond 40 yards on the season. And yet, he hit it. He hit the miracle, impossible field goal, and gave the Bucs their only real memorable moment of the season.
In the 2005 Wild Card game between the Bucs and Redskins, London Fletcher spat in a Bucs player's face after a big gain, and a fight ensued. That game was ugly, horrible and disastrous for the Bucs -- but there were some highlights, and that was one of them. Moments like that get everyone fired up, it puts the emotion in sports game and they make for great memories. I don't have a lot to add on that specific moment, mostly because that entire game was just horrid, but fights can be a thing of beauty in sports.
And finally, my own. There are so many memories to choose from, but my favorites always involve winning. And the best wins don't come at the very last seconds, under the worst circumstances, when there's absolutely no hope.
Which is why I'm taking a memory from this season. In a game the Bucs had no business winning, one that required an absolute miracle to turn around, one that seemed lost because of a poor offensive outing. A game that required one of the best touchdown passes I've ever seen, a two-point conversion, and then another offensive drive to get down the field and punch it in. The best game of the season and, sadly, at this point the last win the Bucs have had.
So what are your favorite memories? Share them with us before the world ends!
P.S.: First person to figure out why I chose this song gets..ehm...kudos.