VA
  • TGT on YouTube
  • About TGT
  • The TGT Team
  • How TGT rates
  • Responsible Gambling Advice
  • Contact Our Team
  • Writers Wanted
  • Content Disclaimer
  • Affiliate Disclosure
Contains commercial content
Billboard Left
Billboard Left
The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / From Worst to First: The Unlikely Rise of the 1979 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

From Worst to First: The Unlikely Rise of the 1979 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

From worst to first!
Publish Date: 01/16/2022
Fact checked by: Mike Goodpaster

Five wins in three seasons—twenty-six losses in their first 26 games.

When legendary USC coach John McKay was hired as the first coach of the new expansion Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he had a daunting task: Lead an expansion team to respectability.

Check out these top online casinos!

SI Sportsbook
97/100
SI Sportsbook Review
BET $20 GET $200 IN FREE BETS
T&Cs apply, 21+
Visit Site
First deposit only | 21+ & located in CO, MI, VA | Promo code EXTRA200| A qualifying bet is $20 or more | Min odds of +120 or more | Free Bet Tokens credited after bet is settled and expire after 7 days | Free Bet stakes not included in winnings | Please Gamble Responsibly – Gambling Problem? VA: CALL 1-888-532-3500, CO: CALL 1-800-522-4700, MI: CALL 1-800-270-7117 | Full T&C apply
BetRivers.com
95/100
BetRivers.com Review
100% up to $500
T&Cs apply, 21+
Visit Site
BetMGM
94/100
BetMGM Review
100% up to $1000
T&Cs apply, 21+
Visit Site

Unfortunately, the expansion draft in 1976 was much different than in 1995, 1999, and 2002. It consisted primarily of aging veterans that had difficulty making the roster on other teams and others that were likely not good enough to play.

As a result, Tampa Bay’s overall record from 1976-1978 ended at 7-37.

Not everything was terrible. With the first pick in the 1976 draft, Tampa selected one of the greatest defensive players in NFL History – Lee Roy Selmon. They selected Lee Roy’s brother Dewey in the second round, who was also an excellent defensive player and started for Tampa.

Unfortunately, Lee Roy Selmon isn’t commonly recognized as a top defensive lineman as he was dominant. While the statistics aren’t official, he compiled over 100 sacks in his short career while facing constant double and triple teams. Ron Wolf, their General Manager, stated he had been around Howie Long, Reggie White and other great defensive ends, but Lee Roy Selmon was the best he ever saw. And he indeed was great.

By 1979, they assembled an offense that could at least compete and a defense that carried them during that fantastic Cinderella season. In 1977, they drafted Coach McKay’s star running back at USC, Ricky Bell, who became the cornerstone of the offense. In 1978, they found their quarterback in Doug Williams from Grambling State.

After a surprising 5-0 start, Tampa was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated, but it would be short-lived as they would drop three of their next five games.

One of the critical games of the season came in Week 11 at Detroit, where they trailed 14-6 going into the 4th Quarter. After cutting the lead to 14-9, Doug Williams would find WR Larry Mucker for a 23-yard touchdown pass to win the game 16-14 and improve their record to 8-3.

Now it was done or die. They would lose their next three games after defeating the New York Giants 31-3, including a 23-7 defeat to the 1-13 San Francisco 49ers. They were tied with the 9-6 Bears going into the last game and had a chance to wrap up the NFC Central Division. All they had to do was win at home against Kansas City. In a monsoon.

Who can forget all the clips shown over the years of this game by NFL Films? The river was flowing down the bleacher stairs, the crazy wind, the gigantic splashes after every routine tackle, and most of all, the 60,000 plus fans wearing their ponchos and holding their umbrellas high with hopes of deflecting just a part of the monsoon.

Passing the ball was pretty much impossible. Both teams had to run, and it wasn’t going to be easy. Tampa couldn’t muster much offense, but it turned out to be the same for Kansas City as they were held to a paltry 80 yards of total offense. Each team had turned the ball over, but it was Lee Roy Selmon’s block of a 39-yard field goal early in the game that literally may have saved their season.

On the last drive of the game, Doug Williams moved the ball a little through the air, and they let running backs Ricky Bell and Jerry Eckwood rush the ball to the Kansas City 2 yard line.

It came down to kicker Neil O’Donohue and a 19-yard field goal attempt in the monsoon. Despite a lousy snap, holder Tom Blanchard got the ball where it needed to be, and the kick was good! A 3-0 victory to capture their first division championship!

In the NFC Divisional game 13 days later against the Eagles, they unleashed Ricky Bell, who ran for 142 yards and scored twice in the first half as Tampa took a commanding 17-0 lead. And though Philadelphia would cut the lead to 17-10, Doug Williams would find TE Jimmie Giles in the endzone for a 24-10 lead that they would never lose.

They had won their first playoff game and were ready to play in the NFC Championship Game against the Rams for the right to go to the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl. No Tampa Bay fan could have foreseen a chance like that after the previous three seasons. It was a dream come true.

And though the dream was short-lived following a 9-0 loss to the Rams, Tampa Bay had a lot to be proud of. They had fought their way to respectability and had proved that they belonged among the elite instead of the basement.

Check out below for top bonuses!

SI Sportsbook
1.
BET $20 GET $200 IN FREE BETS
Bonus Code
******
SI Sportsbook Bonus Code
***** Get Bonus
T&Cs apply, 21+
Bonus Details
Type:
Free Bet
Cashable:
yes
Requirements (WR):
First deposit only | 21+ & located in CO, MI, VA | Promo code EXTRA200| A qualifying bet is $20 or more | Min odds of +120 or more | Free Bet Tokens credited after bet is settled and expire after 7 days | Free Bet stakes not included in winnings | Please Gamble Responsibly – Gambling Problem? VA: CALL 1-888-532-3500, CO: CALL 1-800-522-4700, MI: CALL 1-800-270-7117 | Full T&C apply
BetRivers.com
2.
100% up to
$500
Bonus Code
******
BetRivers.com Bonus Code
***** Get Bonus
T&Cs apply, 21+
Bonus Details
Type:
Risk-Free Bet
Cashable:
yes
Requirements (WR):
BetMGM
3.
100% up to
$1000
Bonus Code
******
BetMGM Bonus Code
***** Get Bonus
T&Cs apply, 21+
Bonus Details
Type:
Risk-Free Bet
Cashable:
no
Requirements (WR):
1x Bonus
DraftKings
4.
20% up to
$1000
Bonus Code
******
DraftKings Bonus Code
***** Get Bonus
T&Cs apply, 21+
Bonus Details
Type:
Deposit Bonus
Cashable:
yes
Requirements (WR):
25x Bonus
FanDuel
5.
Bonus Code
******
FanDuel Bonus Code
***** Get Bonus
T&Cs apply, 21+
Bonus Details
Type:
Deposit Bonus
Cashable:
yes
Requirements (WR):
25x Bonus

 

Read Also
The Greatest College Basketball Team of All Time
Rating the greatest college basketball teams ever has been done many times ...
The 18 Greatest Coaches in College Football History
Current active coaches are not included in this list. That means don't ...
SI Sportsbook Promo
Esteban de Jesus, Roberto Duran y AIDS (1972-89)
Many of us dream of celebrity sports fame, but only cruel individuals ...
Grading every NFL team’s picks from the 2021 NFL Draft
Quickly, click away if you’re going to get upset by reading draft ...
Sam Teets 2021 NFL three-round predictive mock draft 6.0
This is a predictive NFL mock draft and my final of the ...
Every NFL team’s best player not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame- NFC South
The Pro Football Hall of Fame houses the greatest players in NFL ...
Top 100 remaining 2021 NFL free agents after Day 1
This is the most up-to-date list of available NFL free agents following ...
Predicting the next five Pro Football Hall of Fame classes
Induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio is ...
Ranking the top 200 players in the NFL ahead of the 2021 season
This list isn’t based solely on performances from the 2020 NFL season. ...
Bonus of the month
SI Sportsbook - Get your Free Bet now! Get your Free Bet now!
Latest News
Top 10 Things we learned from week 13 of the NFL season
The Eagles dominated a good Tennessee Titans team ...
Bengals vs. Chiefs: Preview
When people discuss if history repeats itself, they ...
NFL Week 13 SNF Colts vs Cowboys: Odds, Tips and Predictions 12/04/22
📅 Date: Sunday, December, 03 🕚 Game Time: ...
Our Latest YouTube Videos
Video: The Sports Zone: Top Sports News: Luke Fickell is gone, Bengals/Chiefs Preview and more
The Sports Zone: Top Sports News: Luke Fickell is gone, Bengals/Chiefs Preview and more
Video: The NFL Draft Show
The NFL Draft Show
Video: Froggy Talkin Sports W/Ryan & Joe
Froggy Talkin Sports W/Ryan & Joe
Betting Tips
Top Betting Sites
Top Betting Bonuses
SI Sportsbook
SI Sportsbook
SI Sportsbook Review
97/100
BetRivers.com
BetRivers.com
BetRivers.com Review
95/100
BetMGM
BetMGM
BetMGM Review
94/100
DraftKings
DraftKings
DraftKings Review
92/100
FanDuel
FanDuel
FanDuel Review
90/100
SI Sportsbook
SI Sportsbook Bonus
BET $20 GET $200 IN FREE BETS
T&Cs apply
9.7/10
First deposit only | 21+ & located in CO, MI, VA | Promo code EXTRA200| A qualifying bet is $20 or more | Min odds of +120 or more | Free Bet Tokens credited after bet is settled and expire after 7 days | Free Bet stakes not included in winnings | Please Gamble Responsibly - Gambling Problem? VA: CALL 1-888-532-3500, CO: CALL 1-800-522-4700, MI: CALL 1-800-270-7117 | Full T&C apply
BetRivers.com
BetRivers.com Bonus
100% up to $500
T&Cs apply
9.5/10
BetMGM
BetMGM Bonus
100% up to $1000
T&Cs apply
9.4/10
DraftKings
DraftKings Bonus
20% up to $1000
T&Cs apply
9.2/10
WynnBET
WynnBET Bonus
Bet $100 Get $100
T&Cs apply
9/10
Our Team
Mike GoodpasterAuthor IconJosh SchwartzSamuel TeetsMark Lewis
+6
Mike Goodpaster
Mike Goodpaster
Chief Editor
Author Icon
Christopher Carlson
Content Writer
Josh Schwartz
Josh Schwartz
Editor
Samuel Teets
Samuel Teets
US Sports Veteran
Mark Lewis
Mark Lewis
Editor
Simon Briffa
Simon Briffa
Sports Editor
Chris Benedict
Chris Benedict
Editor
Author Icon
Malik Zorrok
Author
John Raspanti
John Raspanti
Author
Brian Coburn
Brian Coburn
Author
Peter Bonahoom
Peter Bonahoom
Author
Billboard Left
Billboard Left
Find out what the legends have to say about sports this week....

If you enjoy hearing from the legends of pro sports, then be sure to tune into “The Grueling Truth” sports shows, “Where the legends speak”

Contact us: [email protected]

Players must be 21 years of age or older or reach the minimum age for gambling in their respective state and located in jurisdictions where online gambling is legal. Please play responsibly. Bet with your head, not over it. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, and wants help, call or visit: (a) the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey at 1-800-Gambler or www.800gambler.org; or (b) Gamblers Anonymous at 855-2-CALL-GA or www.gamblersanonymous.org.

Trading financial products carries a high risk to your capital, especially trading leverage products such as CFDs. CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. Between 74-89% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

This site is using Cloudflare and adheres to the Google Safe Browsing Program. We adapted Google's Privacy Guidelines to keep your data safe at all times.

ccww
Move to Top
Close
Our Sports Pros recommend these awesome Social Casino sites this week:
×
Your Bonus Code:
The bonus offer of was already opened in an additional window. If not, you can open it also by clicking the following link:
Visit Site