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 we take a look at the 1985 season, which saw the addition of one of the best players to ever wear a Bucs uniform. Unfortunately, he didn't live up to expectations while in Tampa. .
Record: 2-14 (Last in NFC)
Points scored: 294 (21st in NFL)
Points against: 448 (27th in NFL)
Battle of the Steves: Steve Young would get his chance under center for the Buccaneers after signing a big contract with the team, and didn't exactly light the world on fire. Incumbent starter Steve DeBerg took a step back after his impressive debut in 1984, throwing a good amount of touchdowns but not completing as many passes and turning the ball over too often.
Steve DeBerg Statistics: 53.2% completion percentage, 2488 yards, 19 touchdowns, 18 interceptions.
Steve Young Statistics: 52.2% completion percentage, 935 yards, 3 touchdowns, 8 interceptions.
Embarrassment for a Once Proud Defense: The Buccaneer defense looked nothing like the unit which dominated the league a few years prior, surrendering a 62 point outing to the New York Jets in Week 11 of the NFL Season. The Bucs lost 62-28, which remains the only time in franchise history that the Bucs would give up more than 60 points. (They haven't allowed 50 or more in a game since the late 80's.)
The Offense Wasn't Much Better...: In Week 13 against the Green Bay Packers, the Buccaneers set a franchise record, which stands to this day, by gaining only 65 yards of total offense. The Bucs would lose 21-0 and fall to 2-11, with Steve Young gaining only 53 yards through the air, and James Wilder averaging fewer than two yards per carry on his 12 attempts.
The Buccaneers made a coaching change after the resignation of John McKay, opting to hire Leeman Bennett over long-time defensive assistant Wayne Fontes. Bennett led the Atlanta Falcons to three winning seasons during his tenure there, including a 12-4 season in 1980.
Bennett had a background as an offensive coach, but his Atlanta teams were most well-known for their stifling defenses by the end of his time as head coach. In his first year in Tampa, he'd fail to bring any improvement on either side of the ball.
The Bucs set franchise worsts in single game points allowed against the Jets, and then yards gained just a couple of weeks later against the Packers, as outlined above. The 1985 team had one of the worst point differentials in franchise history, and deservedly won only two games.
The major story for the team was the signing of Steve Young. Young had opted to go to the USFL out of college rather than heading to the pros, as the LA Express offered him a 40-year contract worth $43 million. But the USFL wasn't in great shape, and his team was without an owner, so Young worked his way out of his contract to negotiate with the Bucs, who got his rights in a special draft.
Young eventually signed with the Bucs, but didn't impress during his first season in Tampa. His head coach gave him a chance to play after the team was well out of contention, and cited former starter Steve DeBerg's interceptions as his main concern and the reason for the change under center. Young didn't do much to help his cause, but considering his big contract, he was given the benefit of the doubt, and finished out the season under center.
The Bucs earned the first pick in the draft with their terrible season, and that set them up for yet another horrible draft blunder. Things were about to get a lot worse in Tampa.