When the Buccaneers fell to the Rams in the divisional round, it officially ended their bid to win back to back Super Bowl titles and would end up being Tom Brady’s final game with the team. Of course both of those things are unfortunate events for the Bucs but make no mistake, the season was still a success.
For starters, the team did some things in 2021 that they either have not accomplished in a long time or never accomplished at all. They won a franchise record 13 games and won the NFC South for the first time since 2007.
Tampa Bay was also able to host two home playoff games, winning one of them. That wild card win vs the Eagles was the team’s first home playoff game since 2007 and first home playoff win since 2002 against the 49ers. The city of Tampa finally got to feel what a home playoff game felt like again.
Yes, the goal of the team was to win another championship. That was the reason why the Bucs aggressively moved money around in the offseason to help keep key free agents. They took a risk by pushing money down the line, but they knew they wanted to keep this team together. It was because they knew what this team could be capable of. While they did not get the job done, they still put a lot of smiles on people’s faces and provided a ton of joy and excitement for the city.
The biggest point that needs to be made is that only one team wins the Super Bowl every year. 32 teams in the NFL but only one team will have their season end on a happy note. When the season begins, odds are your favorite team will not win the Super Bowl.
It is difficult to win a championship. There is a reason why only seven NFL franchises have won back to back Super Bowls and the last one to accomplish it was the 2004 and 2005 Patriots. So many things have to go right in order to win. Talent, luck and motivation all play huge factors in winning a championship. That is not saying that the Buccaneers didn’t have the motivation to win, but the natural human reaction to getting to the top is more of a relief and that same hunger that they had to win in the first place, does naturally fade a little bit.
The Bucs were one of the healthiest teams in the league in 2020. 2021? Not so much. The losses of Chris Godwin and Tristan Wirfs to injury and Antonio Brown being released were just too much for the team to overcome. That does not mean the successes of 2021 should be discounted or forgotten about.
This team accomplished plenty in 2021 and actually did some things this season that they were unable to do last season. From winning 13 games, finally dethroning the Saints as NFC South champions, to being able to play meaningful football and playoff football in front of a packed Raymond James Stadium. Fans got to witness the greatest Quarterback of all time win a playoff game inside their home stadium in dominating fashion and man, was that a long time coming.
Of course there is disappointment that the Bucs will not be hoisting the Lombardi trophy or having another boat parade, but that doesn’t mean the 2021 season wasn’t a success. The team just had the best two year run in franchise history and that should be remembered in a positive and grateful light, even if the season didn’t end the way anyone wanted.