The last time the Tampa Bay Buccaneers made the playoffs was following the 2007 NFL season. You have to go back to 2005 to find the last time they made the postseason as a double-digit win team.
Of course, they had a double-digit win year in 2010 under Raheem Morris but missed the playoffs due in part to a stacked NFC South Division.
This year there are plenty of new things to see with this version of the Buccaneers. For starters, head coach Bruce Arians led his team to back-to-back franchise record-setting production years.
Tom Brady has set franchise records while also setting league marks and building up a lead over Drew Brees for the career passing touchdowns record, just as it seems the Saints quarterback will be making his exit from active duty.
Tampa Bay has contributing rookies like Tristan Wirfs and Antoine Winfield Jr. who have not only helped quiet some of the Jason Licht detractors, they’ve helped make Byron Leftwich and Todd Bowles popular names amidst coaching candidate talks.
Perhaps the best change that gets the least amount of press is the arrival of the franchise’s first trust-worthy kicker since the team let Matt Bryant leave town. Ryan Succop is another franchise record-setter as well.
All of these new things have helped Tampa Bay secure the fifth-seed in the 2020 NFL Playoffs, and has set up a contest against a team that holds a particular place of pain in the hearts of the fan base.
Remember that double-digit win team we talked about that made it to the playoffs? Well, that team had eleven wins too. And they faced Washington in that year’s postseason, in the Wild Card Round.
The Jon Gruden led Buccaneers hosted the game back in 2006 though, while this one will be hosted by Ron Rivera’s version of the franchise in search of a new name.
This time around, Bruce Arians takes his squad to the Nation’s Capital looking to do what Gruden’s unit couldn’t; beat Washington.
And according to the NFL, they’ll do so next Saturday as the final game in a Wild Card Round triple-header, playing on NBC at 8:15 pm ET.
From the press release,
“The addition of a third Wild Card team in each conference and the subsequent expansion of the playoffs has resulted in a Super Wild Card Weekend of NFL action. For the first time ever, there will be three games on Saturday, January 9, and three games on Sunday, January 10, to be played at 1:05 p.m., 4:40 p.m., and 8:15 p.m. ET on each day.”
The match is set. The records are erased. It’s ‘win or go home’ time, and for a record-setting Tampa Bay Buccaneers team, they’re hoping this road trip is the beginning of a truly historic finish this February, in Raymond James Stadium.