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.
We continue our series with the 2000 Buccaneers.
Record: 10-6 (Second in the NFC Central, Made Playoffs via Wild Card)
Playoff Result: Lost in Wild Card Game to the Eagles (Playoff Record: 0-1)
Points scored: 388 (6th in NFL)
Points against: 269 (7th in NFL)
Scoring Breakout: The Buccaneers posted their only top-10 scoring season in franchise history in 2000, finishing sixth in the league in points scored. The second-best ranking for the Bucs in this category in club history was 13th, as the team has almost always finished at or below average in scoring points. (In franchise history, the Buccaneers have finished in the top-15 in scoring as often as they've finished 30th or worse, four times.)
Three-Headed Rushing Attack: That's right, three-headed. Mike Alstott and Warrick Dunn were joined by Shaun King as the Buccaneers ran for 18 touchdowns, all scored by those three players (8 for Dunn, 5 for Alstott and King).
Dominance on the D-Line: Warren Sapp improved on his sack total from a year prior, ending up with 16.5 sacks (unheard of for a defensive tackle), while Marcus Jones added 13 sacks of his own. Sapp's total is still a team record, and the combined output for the two players is also a record for a pair of Bucs in a single season.
Shutout and a Blowout: The Buccaneers recorded the most lopsided victory in franchise history in September of 2000, defeating the Chicago Bears 41-0 to move to 2-0 on the season. Keyshawn Johnson scored his first touchdown as a Buc while the defense held the Bears scoreless and forced four turnovers. One of those turnovers was returned for a score by Ronde Barber, while another set the Buccaneers up for a three-yard Shaun King touchdown run.
The Cold Weather Jinx Strikes Again: The Bucs had a chance to win in regulation at Lambeau Field, but the Green Bay Packers would emerge victorious in overtime in Week 17 of the 2000 season. The Bucs coughed up a chance to win the division and earn a first round bye. A 40-yard field goal attempt with 13 seconds left was off-target from Martin Gramatica, and the Packers would make a field goal to win in overtime.
The Buccaneers needed offense in a bad way, still licking their wounds after a frustrating defeat to the St. Louis Rams in the NFC Championship Game the year before.
So the team made a huge splash, trading away two first-round picks for Keyshawn Johnson and signing him to a lucrative contract to remain in Tampa for the next few years. Johnson gave the Bucs a much-needed number one receiver to pair nicely with their tandem of capable running backs.
And things would start off very well for the Bucs, leaping out to a 3-0 start and finishing the season 10-6 with a Wild Card berth in hand.
This 10-6 record didn't come easily, however, as the Bucs had to improvise to pull out a victory or two. The most memorable moment of the season had to be Shaun King's swing pass to Warrick Dunn late in a Monday Night contest against the St. Louis Rams. Dunn was going nowhere, but King arrived on the scened, took a lateral from Dunn, and scampered up the sideline for a 15-yard gain.
That play was a part of a 13-play drive which ended in a touchdown to put the Buccaneers ahead of the Rams with very little time left on the clock, and would secure an important 10th victory and a shot at the division title in Week 17.
But a date with the Philadelphia Eagles in the playoffs would spell the end of the road for the 2000 Bucs, and begin a rivalry with the NFC East franchise that would become the villain in the Bucs' story over the next few seasons.