History and League Success
The Buccaneers (often called the Bucs) joined the NFL in 1976 as an expansion team, along with the Seattle Seahawks. In order for each team to play every other (then existing) NFL team, the Bucs were placed in the (geographically incorrect) AFC West for the first season; the following season the teams were placed in their (then) permanent conferences and divisions, with the Bucs moving into the (only slightly less geographically incorrect) NFC Central Division.
With the addition of the Houston Texans as the 32nd franchise, the NFL decided to realign the two conferences (NFC and AFC), with four divisions in each conference (North, East, West, and South), and four teams in each division. The NFC Central was renamed the NFC North, with the Bucs was moved to the newly formed NFC South along with three teams -- Atlanta, Carolina, and New Orleans -- that were previously in the (extremely geographically incorrect) NFC West.
The Bucs have had an interesting, if not usually poor, history:
- The Bucs were the first team in the Super Bowl era to go winless in a season, losing all 14 games of its inaugural season, en route to losing its first 26 games -- the streak remains the longest losing streak of any franchise. (Interestingly, they would win the final two games of their second season, causing the coaches of the losing teams to be immediately fired thereafter.)
- In 1979 (only two years after its historic futility) they would be the first expansion team in the post AFL-NFL merger era to win its division, win a playoff game, and host a conference championship game.
- But only four years later (1983) they would embark on a streak of 14 consecutive losing seasons, another record of NFL futility. Around this time the team, after the death of its original owner, was surprisingly found to be on the brink of insolvency, and was nearly relocated to Baltimore, but at the last minute was saved by Malcolm Glazer, who committed to keeping the team in Tampa if the voters would agree to build a new stadium (which they did).
In their history as a team they have won both of their appearances in Super Bowls, in Super Bowl XXXVII against the Oakland Raiders and in Super Bowl LV against the Kansas City Chiefs; they are one of two teams to participate in more than one Super Bowl without ever losing (the Baltimore Ravens are the other). Their appearance in Super Bowl LV made them the first team to play a Super Bowl in its own home stadium (Raymond James Stadium).
NFC South Rivals