Apparently, when a team like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers leverages the fact one of their all-time greats still works with the franchise, it’s a troll attempt. At least, according to NBC Sports Philadelphia writer, Reuben Frank.
In what was the last game the Philadelphia Eagles ever played in Veterans Stadium, nicknamed “The Vet”, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated Philly 27-10 on their way to their first Super Bowl title in franchise history. A full 16-years before the Eagles won their first, by the way.
With COVID-19 preventing teams from conducting their usual spring lead-up activities there isn’t much happening in the way of fresh and exciting news content. This fact has led many outlets to come up with fun and creative ways to create content out of old news. Team media is not immune to this either.
So, the Buccaneers came up with a fun way to provide entertainment to their fans. One of the team’s all-time greats, Ronde Barber, still does work with the team’s in-house media. He just so happens to also be the focal point of one of the best plays in franchise history; the pick-six in the 2002 NFC Championship Game against the Philadelphia Eagles. The touchdown which effectively sealed the Bucs’ trip to the Super Bowl in the 2002-2003 NFL Season, and shut down ‘The Vet’. Why not host a virtual watch party with the player at the center of the highlights, and allow the fans to take part via social media platforms? Sounds like a brilliant idea.
Unless you’re an Eagles fan. This is where Rueben comes in, as he writes,
“As troll attempts go, this one is pretty lame. Especially when you look at what the two franchises have done since that 2002 season.
Since 2003, the Eagles have won a Super Bowl, 10 playoff games and seven division titles.
During the same span, the Bucs have won ZERO playoff games and two division titles, both leading to embarrassing home wild-card losses.
The Bucs, four-point underdogs, beat the Eagles 27-10 at the Vet on Jan. 19, 2003, before beating the Raiders 48-21 in Super Bowl XXXVII in San Diego a week later.
You could at least respect the Bucs if they held a virtual party to celebrate their Super Bowl championship.
But to celebrate the NFC Championship Game?
That would be like the Eagles holding a “Rewatch Party” to celebrate the 2017 NFC Championship Game win over the Vikings. That was a hell of a game, but who bothers celebrating a step along the way when you won the Super Bowl soon after?”
There’s a lot of hurt feelings in this one. He’s right about one thing, this is a pretty lame troll attempt. In their attempt to troll the Eagles, the Bucs’ social media team has tagged them in - well, zero tweets about the rewatch party. In the primary tweet about the event, the team mentioned the Philadelphia franchise - zero times. Then add to all of this, the fact zero Eagles appear in the photo cropping used for the marketing of the party as well. Basement level trolling indeed.
Join @rondebarber and @ScottSBucs as they rewatch the historic 2002 NFC Championship that sent us to the Super Bowl.— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) June 18, 2020
Tune in this Sunday at 4 p.m. ET on YouTube or Facebook. pic.twitter.com/EEM7Mwrj2w
Why did the Bucs miss the mark on their trolling so badly? Well, because they aren’t trolling the Eagles. Yes, the Eagles will obviously be a part of the party. For every great NFL moment there has to be a loser. For every ‘Minneapolis Miracle’ there’s a Marcus Williams. Every Nick Foles has a Carson Wentz. It’s just how sports go.
In fact, I didn’t find anything associating the Eagles specifically in the rewatch party build-up. That is, until I found this.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are trying to troll the Eagles, and it's pretty lame: https://t.co/spNaOKHgte— Reuben Frank (@RoobNBCS) June 20, 2020
So, the man who claims the Bucs are trolling the Eagles, is the one who puts the Eagles logo in the picture? Interesting.
The Buccaneers haven’t made this about the Eagles though, at all. It’s about the franchise, about the moment, and about reliving it with the fans who support the team in spite of - as Frank points out, not having won a single playoff game since that very post-season.
I think this writer is missing a bigger point here. As much as this is about celebrating a great moment in Bucs history, it’s also about the respect - albeit disdain laced respect - the Bucs and their fans had to hold for the team they beat.
Leading up to that 2002 game, the Eagles had beaten the Bucs in both post-seasons preceding it. To use a 90’s Bulls reference, the Eagles were that team’s Detroit Pistons. As much as this puts them at odds with each other, there’s also an unspoken respect factor. This moment was as big as it was and is, BECAUSE it was against the Eagles, Mr. Frank. And BECAUSE it was in Philly, Reuben.
Frank misses this point though. Instead of taking a viewpoint of, ‘Wow, the Bucs are really celebrating beating the Eagles in the NFC Championship, instead of the Super Bowl win. That’s how hard it was to beat those Eagles squads back then.” He’s choosing to throw a fit.
But hey, at least one Eagles fan gets it:
Love how you guys pimp this game way more then the actual Super Bowl. We’re honored.— Kevin MacDonald (@KMac82588) June 19, 2020
Frank finishes up by pointing out the Bucs’ Super Bowl win is, “...ancient history.” Well, it is almost 20-years old. In ten years, rewatching this game would almost be like making a movie about a guy who played for the Eagles for three years with one catch and no playoff wins, a full thirty years after the fact. But what team would ever celebrate something like that? Good point, Roob. Enjoy the party. Bucs fans certainly will.