The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are one of the most-hyped teams this year. That’s....news to me, but it was the premise of a back-and-forth on NFL Network’s Good Morning Football show this week.
That premise is set up to knock it down, of course. Hypes succeed sometimes, and they fail often. Presenting the Bucs an overhyped team that is bound to disappoint is easy—it’s also nonsense.
That’s because the Bucs really haven’t been hyped that much. I’ve seen them tipped as playoff surprises, as potential breakout candidates, as a team that added a lot of talent to their offense (which they certainly did!)—but hype? Especially out of control hype?
I have seen all of one suggestion they could make it to the Super Bowl, and that was certainly over the top. Betting odds and Football Outsiders both suggest the Bucs won’t even make it to the playoffs this year.
The hype has only come from a limited segment of pundits, and even those generally don’t go any further than pegging them as a dark horse to make the playoffs.
The reality is that the Bucs are hyped right where they belong: as a team poised but not certain to take the next step and make it to the playoffs. It would be disappointing if they fail to get a playoff spot, certainly, but that wouldn’t out of line with their hype at all—the team simply has too many question marks to be extremely optimistic about their prospects this year.
None of that means we can’t be optimistic, of course. The Bucs have potential to make the playoffs, and any team that makes the playoffs can make a run. That optimism is more realistic now than it has been in about a decade—but hyped, they are not.