By now you've heard, the last time the Bucs had been 0-6, was 1985, the first of two back to back 2-14 season that saw Bucs Head Coach Leeman Bennett come and go, in two years. Bennett came to the Bucs after two years off from coaching after leading a pretty good Atlanta Falcons team in the early 80s, that lost a strike season playoff tournament game to the Vikings in the first round. Bennett's Bucs had offense, with Running back James Wilder and QB Steve DeBerg, but in 86 Steve Young took over, and well, he wasn't Steve Young yet.
The 1986 team was one of the worst in Bucs, and NFL history. They were 27th in Offense, and 28th in defense, out of 28 teams! The first few weeks of this season, I was saying the Bucs remind me of 1986...thats why. Since the early weeks, the Bucs have actually been playing better. But '85 was the year the Bucs made it to 0-6 and beyond. They ranked a little better, 23rd in offense, and 26th in defense. Coming off an 84 season where they had the 10th ranked offense, they lost the first game at Chicago, home of the Superbowl Shuffle Bears, while being up 28-14 at halftime! The Bears of course came back. Once 0-5, the Bucs had a string of close games go the other way; a 27-31 loss to the Rams, and a crazy 41-38 OT loss to Dan Marino's Dolphins, who twice had multiple touchdown leads but couldn't put away the pesky Bucs. Finally in week 10, a 16-0 shutout of the Cardinals at home ended the drought. The next week, they were killed 62-28 playing a very upset Jets team in New York that wanted revenge on the Bucs for emberassing them in the '84 season finale by allowing Jets runner Freeman McNeil to score while Bucs linebackers were backing up; all to give James Wilder another shot at breaking some records. In week 12 the Bucs went ahead and gave the ball to their Young franchise QB, and Young delivered with the 2nd win of the year; Steve Young that is.
The Bucs do not lack experience going 0 for anything. Only a few years earlier the 1983 Bucs were a year removed from allowing Doug Williams to leave for a contract dispute, and they too got their first win in week 10. After getting shut out opening day 11-0, they lost the next 3 games by a total of 16 points. That ended when the Bucs played like the Titans last week, and gave up 49 first half points to the Packers in Wisconsin. And you said " at least the Bucs never did that" when you saw the score last week didn't you? Final score 55-14. They followed that with the best game played all of 1983 at Dallas, and actually had the game wrapped up by picking off Danny White with under 2:00 left in the game. But the Boys had all three timeouts, and corner John Holt went for a pick instead of a tackle, and Cowboy Timmy Newsome danced down the sideline and took the game into Overtime where you know who came out ahead.
The Bucs changed quarterbacks in week 3, but that was a simple Goldstein to Jack Thompson change that accomplished nothing, except show everyone the Bucs wasted a #1 pick trading for Thompson, known as the Throwin Samoan. A new experiment actually breathed life into the franchise, but not at QB. At Running Back, James Wilder was moved into the Tailback role, and had a good outing vs the Saints in week 8. By week 10, the Wilder led Bucs finally got their first win behind the 219 yard performance of Wilder. The second win was week 13 over the 1-12 Oilers, in what was called the Repus Bowl, repus which is Super spelled backwards, as this game was as far away from Super as possible.
And last but not least, we all know about 0-14 of '76, and 2-14 of 1977. First win of the year? Week 15 at New Orleans, the Bucs got the first win of the franchise's history. Who do we play week 15 this year?
Dec. 27th 2009; Tampa Bay at New Orleans, 1PM. Then after that wild upset, the Bucs came home and beat the Cardinals. We play some birds this year too, as week 16 we host the Falcons of Atlanta.
Or of course, we lay down a whole new path for some fans in 2027; fans in New Sombrero Stadium will wonder if their team is going to be like that '09 bunch!