The Tampa Bay Buccaneers did not have the season they expected last year, finishing 7-9. But they did have one silver lining: rookie running back Doug Martin had a breakout season running for 1,454 yards and headed to Honolulu for the Pro Bowl.
The NFL found its way to Tampa, Florida, in 1976 when the league awarded an expansion franchise to the city. The expansion teams of the era had a difficult time building a successful roster that could win football games right away, and with no team was that more evident than with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. During their first NFL season, the Bucs were unable to find the win column, losing each of their fourteen games. The second season was not much better, as they lost the first twelve games. The team's 0-26 start as a franchise is a record for the worst in NFL history.
The team's popularity began to grow among potential ticket buyers in 1996 when the franchise hired Tony Dungy as their head coach. His winning personality and defensive mindset changed the culture in Tampa. From 1996 through 2001, Dungy compiled a 54-42 record and helped take the Buccaneers from a last place franchise to one of the NFL's elite teams and one of the most sought-after tickets in the league.
Despite Dungy consistently bringing Tampa Bay to the NFL playoffs, he could never bring the team to the next level. After letting go of the popular coach, the team hired fiery head coach Jon Gruden to replace the even-tempered Dungy in 2002. That same year, with players like Warren Sapp, Keyshawn Johnson and Brad Johnson, coach Gruden helped to lead the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to their first championship in Super Bowl XXXVII.
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