Before the start of training camp and the official kickoff of the 2014 Buccaneers season, Bucs Nation will take you through every season in Buccaneers history, one by one, to paint the whole picture of how the Buccaneers got to where they are today.
In this edition, we have finally caught up with the year of the author's birth, 1986. (Yes, sorry, I wasn't actually alive for any of the earlier seasons.)
Record: 2-14 (Last in NFL)
Points scored: 239 (26th in NFL)
Points against: 473 (Worst in NFL)
The Worst Season in Franchise History: If we give forgiveness to the brand new Bucs and their incredible lack of talent due to the expansion procedure in 1976, this 1986 team is easily the worst in Bucs history. According to Pro Football Reference, the '86 Bucs had the worst defense and second-worst overall rating using their Simple Rating System.
Not Exactly Worth the Money: Highly-paid Steve Young ran for five touchdowns but finished 24th in passer rating in the NFL, thanks in part to only eight touchdowns and 13 interceptions and a completion percentage just above 50%.
Farewell, Lee Roy: Having missed the previous season due to injury, Lee Roy Selmon decided to retire just before the NFL Draft. The "Original Buccaneer" finished his career with six Pro Bowl appearances, three First-Team All Pro selections, and would be named to the Hall of Fame just nine years later.
The Tipping Point?: The Buccaneers were tied at 20 at the end of regulation against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 4 of the 1986 season, with a chance to win and move to 2-2 on the season. A game-winning field goal attempt was blocked partially, but still sailed through for the Falcons, who would then kick another three-pointer to win in the extra period.
The Frustration Continues: Just a week later, the Buccaneers faced the Los Angeles Rams and once again the game went into overtime. But Eric Dickerson would score to break the Bucs' hearts, dropping them to 1-4 when 3-2 was a realistic possibility. The Bucs were soundly outgained by the Rams, but turnovers and penalties kept the Bucs in the game until Dickerson broke free and ended the game in overtime.
Lee Roy Selmon, having not played the year before, called it quits due to a nagging back injury that required surgery Selmon wasn't prepared to undergo. So heading into 1986, the Bucs had a new coach with an offensive background, and were without all of the original defenders who made the teams in the late 70's so special.
So how did the Bucs respond? By taking Bo Jackson, Auburn running back, with the first choice in the 1986 NFL Draft. The very same Jackson who was ruled ineligible to play baseball at Auburn because of accepting a plane ride to Tampa to be medically evaluated before the NFL Draft.
The problem with that? According to Jackson, the Buccaneers told him that the NCAA okay'd the plane trip. When Jackson found out that he was ineligible, he had no desire to sign with the Buccaneers, who selected him anyways at the top of the '86 Draft.
That meant instead of taking any of the Pro Bowl players at defensive end or defensive tackle who were available in the first round of that draft, or trading the pick to build more depth on a lacking roster, the Bucs instead chose a player they would never see suit up in orange and white. Ever.
Combine that with heartbreaking losses in Weeks 4 and 5 of the season, and it's not that tough to see why the Bucs totally fell apart in 1986. A 2-14 finish doesn't exactly detail just how bad the Buccaneers were, finishing last or second-to-last in every yardage and points-based rankings you can find for an NFL team.
Steve DeBerg set the tone for the season by throwing seven interceptions during a Week 1 loss to the 49ers, which would lose him the starting job to Steve Young, who would never live up to his incredible potential until he frustratingly joined those very same 49ers.