It started in 1976. An inquisitive 5 year old asked his dad why that man in the stripes threw yellow trash onto the field. Over 4 decades later, it is evident that one question spawned a lifetime of fan loyalty.
From 0-26 to the league’s best. From 8-8 predictions resulting in 2-14 flops. From #1 rated defenses to dismal offensive displays. Win, lose, No matter. Always the true fan of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Over time Florida orange elevated into Pewter Power. The Big Sombrero became Ray Jay. Sounds of “Here Come The Vacuuuums!” updated to “Fire The Cannons!” From the “Wilder One” to the “A-Train” to the “Muscle Hamster” tho the mystical G.O.A.T. From “Siege The Day!” to “Wreak Havoc!” to “Raise The Flags!”
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will always be my team.
The fanatical yet rational BUCTOR1AN.
How did the name Buctorian come about, you ask? It started back in the early 90s during my college days. After spewing some random Bucs’ knowledge to anyone that would listen, a buddy so eloquently stated, “Man Lemak, you are like a Bucs’ historian… a Buc-torian.” Needless to say, it stuck.
Honor the orange. Raise the red. Defend the Bay. Never Jump Ship.
The top 10 gridiron challenges of all time (1976 to present day).
Good or bad, these events define the Buccaneers as determined by slemak, the Buctor1an.
THE GOAT | EVERY GAME 2020-2022
It is still not lost on me that the greatest quarterback to play the game did so by dawning our beloved Buccaneer Red and Pewter for 3 seasons. It makes perfect sense to include every game he played for the Bucs in the Buctor1an Top 10. You see, with Brady at the helm he has thrown for 14,643 yards, 108 TDs, hoisted the Lombardi in 2020, and crowned Division champs in 2021 and 2022.
He elevated everyone around him and had made the Bucs a championship level institution.
It’s indeed an honor to watch him play and this “Brady Era” will no doubt go down as one of the best chapters in my Bucs ongoing True Fan saga.
THE BAFFLE | Redskins 16 Bucs 3 | NOV 11 2018
Winning the 10th spot on this list was the game played in Tampa where the Bucs set a new NFL record by accumulating over 500 yards of total offense and walked away with only 3 pts. 3! Loosing to the Redskins by 13 points (16-3).
5 trips into the red zone resulting in 2 missed FGs, an interception, and 2 fumbles. A day when our historically bad defense actually showed up and held our opponent to under 20 pts for the first time all season.
It truly is a Bucs life.
THE SNOW | Bucs 0 PACKERS 21 | DEC 1 1985
The winter curse begins. A foot of snow on the ground at kickoff, then another 4 inches fell during the complete schooling we received from the Packers. I remember as a kid watching this game with the house windows open letting in the Florida sunshine, wearing a Bucs t-shirt, and feeling the breeze from the ceiling fan that was working overtime. Watching the tropical worn athletes fight with the winter elements in their all white unis and forgetting about the Pack was painful. Packers racked up 516 yards of total offense while the Bucs had a measly 65. Ouch.
The first honorable game mention in this list is the 1979 game vs. KC to clinch the NFC North. A torrential downpour added to the complexity of the Bucs needing to win to clinch they’re first ever playoff berth. Only one successfully FG was all Tampa needed to sealed the victory, 3-0.
THE REVERT | PACKERS 28 Bucs 38 | NOV 8 2009
Regardless of the fact that the Bucs were 0-7 and not enjoying their place in the cellar, this game marked the first official throwback game in Buccaneer history. It was hip to wear orange again. Sporting the vintage old school 1976 home jersey and Bucco Bruce on the helmet, the rookie QB, Josh Freeman, made his debut and threw for 3 TDs, sealing the victory with a 4th and goal TD strike in the back of the end zone. When the Bucs wear the orange they are a force to be reckoned with at home, winning the last 5 games when Bucco Bruce is present.
In addition, this game marked the opening of the Bucs Ring of Honor, honoring #63, Lee Roy Selmon, my football hero, whose name will forever live on the walls of RayJay and who’s number will never be worn again. Viva Bucco Bruce.
Pano image above was taken by me as Lindsay and I were in attendance. A glorious day indeed. One I will never forget.
THE RETURN | FALCONS 3 BUCS 37 | DEC 16 2007
Regardless of the fact that the Bucs clinched the NFC South Division title with this win, this game marked the first Buccaneer kickoff returned for a touchdown.
That’s right. The first one.
It took 32 seasons, 1,865 attempts, and 140 different return “specialists”. Finally, in the first quarter, Bucs leading 7-3, Michael Spurlock, #17, takes the kick at the 10 yard line and proceeds 90 yards untouched into the record books.
THE thwart | RAMS 9 BUCS 0 | JAN 6 1980
As a kid I didn’t realize the impact this game would have. A 4-year old team making it to one game away from the Super Bowl. It wasn’t until many years later, after several dismal seasons, did I realize how hard it is to make it into the playoffs, let alone, the Championship game. The defense kept the Rams out of the end zone but the Bucs failed to make it into pay dirt. One week later the Rams lose to the Steelers in the big show. A very small parting gift for us Buc faithful.
THE HOPE | PACKERS 10 BUCS 13 (OT) | DEC 10 1995
This overtime win guaranteed the Bucs would not have a 10-game loosing season. The first one in 13 years. Whew. At that time the Bucs were actually still in the playoff race. Thanks to cable television and ESPN Sunday Night Football, I was able to witness Trent Dilfer’s arm and Michael Husted’s foot beat Bret Favre and the Packers… to keep the Bucs playoff hopes alive.
THE HAVOC | CHIEFS 9 BUCS 31 | FEB 7 2021
SUPER BOWL LV CHAMPIONS
The great experiment was a historical success. If in Feb 2020 you would have told me the Bucs would acquire Tom Brady in free agency, proceed to win 11 games and average 30+ pts/game, enter the playoffs as a wild card team beating all NFC division leaders on the road, only to go back to Tampa and be the first team in history to host a SB in their stadium, and then proceed to hold the Chiefs to only 3 field goals, I would have ridiculed these statements and ask why are you torturing the Buctorian??
Fast forward to FEB 2021 and the Bucs are indeed World Champions and 2X Super Bowl winners that place us into elite status among the NFL’s greats.
After many years of mediocrity resulting in high draft picks, it was clear the Bucs needed a coach with grit and vision along with a few final pieces to make it all come together. When we first got word that Mr. Deflategate was coming to Tampa I was indifferent. Yes, he is the GOAT, but he is also loved to be hated. In addition, I didn’t like that Winston went to a divisional rival and will most likely haunt us for years to come.
After watching coaches and player press conferences each week, it was clear Brady operated on a different level. He walked with the team, not in front of them. He provided insight into his way of becoming a champion. With no offseason and life-changing COVID-19 restrictions, I thought it would be a good season but one that would result in guys getting to know each other on and off the field. My prediction was 10-6 with an early playoff loss. This team simply has too many loosing skeletons in their closets that would be had to destroy.
Sitting at 7-5 after loosing 2 straight and 3 out of 4 to playoff contending teams, it was clear issues needed to be fixed and more time was simply needed. Then, it happened. After the much needed bye week, the switch was flipped. Players united. Brady provided reason after reason why he is the GOAT. Godwin, Evans, Brate, Gronk, Miller, Fourtnette, Jones and AB produced play after play. The trenches wreaked havoc. White and David excelled. Barrett, JPP, Suh, and Vea antagonized.
This team simply would not be denied.
5th seed wildcard playoff birth meant winning on the road. Yet they made it look easy as they dominated each division winner, WAS, NO, and GB. Then to hold KC to 3 FGs in the SB, at home, in Tampa… I’m stunned. Shocked. Amazed. Ecstatic. This season will go down as the miracle season. One for the ages. Fits right up there with the 1979, 1999, and 2002 seasons in my book. Lombardi #2 will look oh so sweet at One Buc Place. Enjoy this time fellow Buc fans. It has been well earned as it took 18 years to make.
THE SUMMIT | RAIDERS 21 BUCS 48 | JAN 23 2003
SUPER BOWL XXXVII CHAMPIONS
After a 27 year journey, the Bucs defeat the Oakland Raiders, 48-21, in Super Bowl XXXVII in San Diego behind a suffocating defense, setting Super Bowl records with five interceptions and three interception returns for touchdowns. S Dexter Jackson is named the game’s MVP as the Bucs’ top-ranked defense stifles the Raiders and the league’s number one ranked offense. Tampa Bay limits Oakland to just 62 total yards in the first half, the second-fewest in Super Bowl history, and finishes the game surrendering just 269 total yards and 11 first downs. RB Michael Pittman runs for a season-high 125 yards and WR Keenan McCardell scores two touchdowns. LB Derrick Brooks seals the victory with a late fourth quarter pick-6 and CB Dwight Smith sets a Super Bowl record by returning a pair of second-half interceptions for touchdowns.
You know your defense is something special when they name an entire scheme after your team, and the Tampa 2 scheme that coordinator Monte Kiffin developed in Tampa Bay is still used throughout the league to this day. Though the Bucs had been a great defense for several years under Kiffin and Tony Dungy , it wasn’t until Jon Gruden replaced Dungy as head coach in 2002 that the Bucs could field an offense good enough to win a championship.
Still, it was the defense that was dominant for these Bucs. Led by stars such as Warren Sapp, Simeon Rice, Shelton Quarles, Derrick Brooks, Ronde Barber, and John Lynch, the Buccaneers led the league in points, yards, yards per play and turnovers. They were especially dominant against the pass, giving up only 10 touchdown passes while collecting 31 interceptions, both tops in the league.
Led by that defense, the Buccaneers went 12-4 and won the NFC South. They opened their playoff run with a 31-6 beatdown of San Francisco, then traveled to Philadelphia to beat the Eagles 27-10 in the conference championship before crushing the Raiders. In the process, they limited Jeff Garcia, Donovan McNabb and then-MVP Rich Gannon to a combined 54 percent completion rate, with two touchdowns and nine interceptions. Those two touchdowns both came with the Bucs up by at least three scores in the second half of the Super Bowl.
THE REVENGE | BUCS 27 Eagles 10 | JAN 19 2003
2002 NFC CHAMPIONSHIP
The last game ever played in Philadelphia’s Veteran’s Stadium. After 2 consecutive playoff losses played at the Vet, I was not happy about another winter game yet again among the Iggle crowd. After a quick score by the birds, a Joe Jerivicious 71-yard reception showed everyone the Bucs meant business. Gruden called a hellofa game with plenty of misdirection, runs, and short passes. Ronde Barber’s interception for a touchdown late in the game became the absolute best play in franchise history which made me fall back in my chair and utter the words “We Win.”
An honorable mention is the follow-up contest between these two teams which had the Bucs visiting Philadelphia (again) to start the ’03 season and help Philly open up their new and improved stadium, Lincoln Financial Field. Fresh off a Super Bowl victory, the NFL showed no respect to the Bucs and made their first game of the season on the road. Like typical Iggle fans, they have yet to learn from their mistakes. The Bucs clobbered the birds in their new house on Monday Night Football: Bucs 17 Birds 0.
THE WIN | BUCS 33 SAINTS 14 | DEC 11 1977
Tampa Bay had been making obvious strides on defense, but its offense was simply anemic. The 0-12 Buccaneers had been shut out in five of their previous seven games and had scored a meager 53 points on the season.
Finally. 0-26 before kickoff. 1-0 after the final horn.
The first win in team history.
After several attempts to look like a professional football team, the Bucs finally put together 60 minutes of great defensive football recording 3 sacks and 5 interceptions. Archie Manning said loosing to the Bucs would be a “disgrace”. This was all the motivation the team needed. Final score: Bucs 33 Saints 14. Hank Stram, head coach for the Saints, was fired at season’s end.
Another honorable mention is the team’s 2nd victory one week later vs. the Cardinals. The team’s first home victory and first ever winning streak.