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26 Straight Losses for the New Franchise Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The NFL’s history dates back to 1920, when it was founded as the American Professional Football Association. The fans have seen almost everything throughout the years, but some records may never be broken again. Tom Brady’s seven Super Bowl rings might not be matched anytime soon as the 45-year-old legendary quarterback chases down his eighth championship as part of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this year. 

The Bucs eventually managed to win their maiden Super Bowl in 2002, led by Brad Johnson and Dexter Jackson. In 2020, they snatched their second League championship, but before that, the team struggled to keep high consistency levels and has typically been considered a one-season wonder throughout its history. 

You can bet NFL on Bovada, where the Bucs are +1600 favorites to win the upcoming SuperBowl. However, apart from having Tom Brady on their roster, the team cannot brag about having an excellent franchise history. 

1970s NFL Dominated by Great Defense

Founded in 1974, the Buccaneers would join a League filled with experienced teams that had already established themselves. The Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys, and Minnesota Vikings dominated the early 1970s. Moreover, the NFL was a challenging sport back in the day, making the Buccaneers’ first days a nightmare. 

Later, the Pittsburgh Steelers would eventually build one of the most memorable dynasties the NFL has ever seen, winning the title four times in seven years. They relied much on their defense, which was their greatest asset during their dominance. 

Bucs’ 1976 Season - Clash with Reality

The Tampa Bay Bucs eventually joined the League in 1976 as members of the AFC West. In the pre-season games, they achieved a victory over the Atlanta Falcons, giving some hope to Tampa fans. However, things didn’t go as planned as the team struggled to adapt to the high intensity of the NFL and had a tough start to the season.

The Buccaneers went scoreless in their first two games against the Houston Oilers and the San Diego Chargers. It also took them four matches before scoring a touchdown when Danny Reece returned a fumble against the Baltimore Colts. After losing the first five games of their rookie season, the Bucs discovered that the NFL would require much more dedication and sacrifices. 

Unfortunately, injuries became a significant factor for the team as they were forced to change their starting line-up almost every game. 

Some of their players lacked experience, while others were out of football for several years before joining the Bucs. There were even rumors that the team tried signing a Coca-Cola delivery man. 

The team fought well against the Seattle Seahawks and the Miami Dolphins in Week 6 and Week 7, but they lost both games by just 3 points. The Bucs suffered five shutdown losses throughout the entire season. Despite their desire to break the streak, they went winless and became the first team to lose each one of their games in an NFL season. 

Bucs’ 1977 Season - “New Year, New Me”

Heading into the 1977 NFL season, coach John McKay was confident that the Bucs had improved from last year. They acquired several players from the Canadian Football League and the World Football League as they were desperate to end their 14-game losing streak. 

Unfortunately, the team went on to struggle yet once again. 

They quickly racked up several defeats, and there seemed to be no light at the end of the tunnel. Their offense was nowhere to be seen, as the team scored 4.42 points on average across their opening 12 matches. 

As everything seemed doomed for the Bucs, the team surprised everyone by demolishing the New Orleans Saints on the road. The 26-game losing streak has ended, but it went down in the history books as the worst start a professional US sports team has ever had. 

There was only one thing left for John McKay and his players during the 1977 NFL season as they were determined to win their first home game at Tampa Stadium. After 13 consecutive losses in their franchise history, the Bucs found the right recipe in their last game for the year facing off the St. Louis Cardinals. 

John McKay’s Payback

Despite his negative start as a head coach of the Buccaneers, John McKay kept his spot in charge of the team until the 1984 NFL season. He led the inexperienced squad to their first NFC Central title in 1979, which was later topped by an appearance in the NFC Championship game, where they lost to the LA Rams in a tight defensive battle. 

In the upcoming years, the Bucs made the Playoffs twice as John McKay created a solid base for the team's future success.

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