ESPN's 30 For 30 has been producing excellent sports-focused documentaries for years on end now, but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers haven't shown up yet. Somehow, they keep escaping the dance -- even though there are many, many elements of the team's history that could be worth a 30 for 30.
I'm not sure which exact events to pick, though. I'll give my top four options -- but I'd like to hear from everyone else, too. If ESPN were to do a 30 For 30 that featured the Bucs, which topic should they choose?
Bo Jackson subbing the Bucs
Back in 1984, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers held the first overall pick. They intended to pick Bo Jackson, and brought him in for a pre-draft visit. They swore to him that that would not endanger his college baseball eligibility, but that was either incompetence or a straight-up lie. Jackson told the Bucs he would not sign with them if they picked him, but the Bucs were stubborn and picked him anyway. Jackson signed with the Kansas City Royals to play baseball instead.
That was the most easily-wasted first overall draft pick in the history of the NFL. Doing a deep dive into what happened there could make for some fascinating television.
How the NFL came to the Tampa Bay area
Now here's a great story of politicking, public relations and ownership drama. Tom McCloskey was originally going to get the franchise, but it went to Hugh Culverhouse instead. Culverhouse had been angling for a franchise for ages, and had at one point sued the NFL for conspiring to keep him out, but turned into the cheapest owner in the league once he did. He brought in his (highly successful) buddy John McKay as head coach, sacrificed later legendary general manager Ron Wolf after two years and a total of two wins. There's a ton of drama in the early years, both in the lead-up years, and the first two seasons.
Jon Gruden facing his old team in the Super Bowl
A head coach faces his old team after his new team traded two draft picks to get him. From the bizarre Bucs head coaching search, through the rebuilding of an offense and a very good regular season, to all the drama surrounding the Super Bowl, there are tons of good stories to be told there.
Josh Freeman's sudden collapse
At one point, Josh Freeman looked like the next big thing at quarterback in the NFL. Just three years later, he was cut midseason after the locker room blew up and a ton of drama that included leaked medical info, missed team functions, and a very bad start to the season. We never quite got a good picture of what happened there, why Freeman failed to turn into a superstar quarterback and how the team could implode like that. It was like nothing I'd ever seen -- and I'd love to see a good documentary on the topic.