Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

A Lesson in Gratitude: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are Super Bowl Champions

How many Buccaneers fans were like me, and found themselves incredibly frustrated and upset with the way the 2012 NFL season ended for our Pewter Pirates? How many Bucs faithful allowed some hope to creep into our minds, watching the formerly “Youngry” Buccaneers making big plays on offense and getting above .500 late into the season? How many of us were ready to blow up the team after the Saints game, feeling like we’d fell back to where we were under Raheem Morris? I know I was certainly upset with the way the 2012 season went, and feel the Buccaneers missed an opportunity. I just wish the Buccaneers could win a ring every season. Anything short always seems to set off a series of excuses, complaints, and ideas for how to improve.

Buccaneer fans can wish for a lot of things. Just like rapper Skee-Lo said in 1995 “I wish I was little bit taller, I wish I was a baller, I wish I had a girl who looked good, I would call her…” Everyone wants what they don’t have. It’s not always a material desire, sometimes people just want success, happiness, or fun. The reason that we become fans of sports teams is because we connect with the team we support, and that connection brings us along for the ride. If the team is succeeding and trending upwards, as two of my favorite teams (Swansea City AFC and the Tampa Bay Lightning) are, the fans are on a high with them. You feel excited and hopeful when your team is playing well, you are proud to talk to your friends and acquaintances about your favorite team, and sometimes even talk a little trash to your friends whose teams aren’t doing as well. But when your team isn’t doing well, you follow them down. To quote another song, in the hilarious yet quite true song “We Like Sportz” by The Lonely Island, the duo singing the song point out “If my team loses, I’ll be mean all night. If you tell me to relax, then we’ll get in a fight.” I am sure I’m not the only one who has a really crappy Sunday following a Buccaneers loss. Your fantasy football team isn’t as fun to follow, food doesn’t taste as good, and you’re just generally negative while you cope with your team’s failure.

So, what’s the point? Why am I quoting obscure songs and waxing philosophical about human wants, needs, and desires? Because as we approach the 47th edition of the Super Bowl, Buccaneers fans (myself included) could use some perspective as to what we accomplished 10 years ago.

Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers won a Super Bowl.

Read that sentence again. It’s something that you likely know if you read this far in this article, but think about what it means. In 2002-2003, there was no better football team in the NFL than the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Just 10 years ago, the Lombardi Trophy was brought to Raymond James Stadium, and the team was welcomed home with a parade. The same team that just 10 years prior was in the midst of a dozen consecutive losing seasons was celebrating winning the biggest game in all of football.

There are 14 NFL teams that have never won a Super Bowl. Of the 32 NFL teams, almost 44% have never won a championship. That includes franchises that have been in existence longer than our Buccaneers. And other than the Ravens, who were technically considered a new franchise when they poached the Cleveland Browns roster and moved to the east coast, no expansion team that started after the AFL/NFL merger has ever won a Super Bowl. Think on that for a minute. The Buccaneers are the second youngest franchise to win a Super Bowl (and the youngest has technically existed for much longer), and the only post-merger expansion team that started with an expansion draft to earn a title.

I will still be upset when the Bucs fail to win an important game, or make a questionable personnel decision. I will yell at my television this year when Josh Freeman make a bad decision or a poor throw. I will be ticked off on Twitter and Facebook when my Bucs lose. But in a moment of reflection, I can be happy that I am a fan of the 2002-2003 World Champions of football. And that’s something that 14 teams worth of fans just can’t say.

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