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.
Today's edition focuses on 2004, as the joy of a Super Bowl title faded into more frustration and disappointment.
Record: 5-11 (Last in the NFC South)
Points scored: 301 (23rd in NFL)
Points against: 304 (9th in NFL)
A Return to 90's Form: For the first time in seven years, the Buccaneers allowed more points than they scored, finishing with an overall point differential of -3. Combined with a double-digit losing season, and the Bucs looked more like the 1992 team stuck in a seemingly eternal losing streak than the 2002 Super Bowl winners.
Just Like His Dad?: Brian Griese took over under center for Brad Johnson a little over a month into the 2004 season, and would post the best passer rating in team history for a quarterback who started more than one game. His 69.3% completion percentage along with his 97.5 passer rating stand as Bucs records to this day.
James Wilder 2.0: No one will ever reproduce the ridiculous amount of receptions and carries James Wilder would receive during his time with the Bucs, but Michael Pittman's 2004 season was very Wilder-esque. Pittman led the team in rushing, scoring seven times on the ground, while finishing second in receptions and scoring three times through the air.
Grounded By the Seahawks: The Buccaneers would allow only 182 yards while the Seahawks would commit seven penalties, yet the Seahawks won 10-6 at Raymond James Stadium in Week 2. A Koren Robinson touchdown would be the difference, with three Buccaneer turnovers stopping any comeback attempts.
One Final Disappointment: Heading into Week 17 with nothing to play for, the Buccaneers couldn't manage to defeat the Arizona Cardinals despite keeping them out of the end zone for four quarters. A Chris Simms touchdown to Michael Clayton put the Bucs ahead, but four Neil Rackers field goals would be enough for a 12-7 victory for Arizona.
The draft choices traded for Keyshawn Johnson and Jon Gruden loomed large in 2004, as heroes of the franchise were moving on, with no one waiting in the wings to replace them.
It didn't work out. The Bucs were a shell of the team that won it all in 2002, and while Derrick Brooks and Simeon Rice helped elevate the defense to another top-10 finish, it wasn't the same sort of dominating, smothering defense that carried the team to a trophy years earlier.
The offense had all of the right ingredients to win a few games, but things never came together, and the Bucs lost a ton of close battles. Brian Griese had a fantastic season, and Michael Clayton burst onto the scene as a rookie, but there was no consistency, and things just never clicked at the same time for the once dominant Bucs.