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 finish our series with a look at the 2013 season. As if you needed to be reminded...
Record: 4-12 (Tied for third/last in the NFC South)
Points scored: 288 (30th in NFL)
Points against: 389 (21st in NFL)
Jackson in Action: After joining the team as a prized free agent acquisition in 2012, Vincent Jackson had an even more impressive season in 2013 considering the circumstances surrounding him. With players being injured or released all around him, Jackson posted one of the best seasons of his career, catching 78 passes for 1224 yards and 7 touchdowns.
The Most Underrated Duo in Football: Lavonte David racked up 7 sacks, 5 interceptions and a boatload of tackles, yet was snubbed from the Pro Bowl team, while his defensive partner in crime Gerald McCoy dominated opposing linemen and posted 9.5 sacks from his defensive tackle position. David and McCoy never really got the attention they deserved from national media types, but that could have to do with...
4-12: The Buccaneers finished 4-12 in 2013, the 10th time in team history that the club has lost 12 or more games. The Buccaneers have gone through 22 seasons with 10 or more losses in franchise history, while winning 10 or more games only seven times. The franchise has as many playoff appearances as they do 12+ loss seasons, a testament to just how bad things were during the 80's and early 90's, and how bad they got yet again in recent years.
Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory: The Buccaneers had already fallen apart, sitting at 0-7 with the Seattle Seahawks next on the schedule. But a 21-point second quarter sent shockwaves around the NFL, as the Bucs used a bit of trickery to get out in front of the Seahawks despite being overwhelming underdogs. But a second-half collapse (nothing new for the 2013 Bucs) would see the team lose in overtime, 27-24.
Nobody Deserved to Win: The Buccaneers tried to play the role of spoilers in the second half of the season, challenging teams involved in playoff races and trying to save Greg Schiano's job. They succeeded in knocking off the Detroit Lions in an ugly, confusing game. The Bucs forced five turnovers, yet only scored 21 points, as the Tampa Bay offense couldn't get anything going against a not-that-great Detroit defense. A late interception by Johnthan Banks sealed the deal, and the Bucs had a rare victory.
The Buccaneers entered 2013 with hope and promise. The team turned things around under Greg Schiano in his first year in charge, and with some new talent on board (including All-Pro corner Darrelle Revis), things were looking up for the Bucs.
But the preseason brought about more questions than answers, as a QB controversy was brewing thanks to flip-flopping comments on incumbent Josh Freeman from head coach Schiano.
The QB controversy would become a nightmare just a month into the season, as Freeman would be benched, and subsequently become the center of a scandal involving leaked medical information and his participation in the NFL's program for substance abuse offenders.
That wasn't the only drama the Bucs had to deal with in 2013, as a breakout of the dangerous MRSA infection hit the locker room, impacting multiple players. The team didn't handle that situation with grace and style, either, leading to numerous questions about Schiano's ability to lead and control a franchise as head coach.
The on-the-field product was just as embarrassing, as an 0-8 start and a 4-12 overall record cost Schiano and general manager Mark Dominik their jobs.
But there were signs of good things to come, as young stars Lavonte David and Gerald McCoy dominated in 2013, setting the team up with a good foundation for a new coach with ties to the Buccaneers' glory days of the late 90's.