The Reality of a Lost Season


TAMPA — It’s official. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will not have a winning season in 2011, a year after so much promise was built and hope was sold.

We were buying hope stock in the Buccaneers like the internet guy in the Simpsons was offering it to Bart; we were rolling shares off like toilet paper.

But the toilet paper was necessary after all, because the Bucs season got flushed right down with all that hope and the promise and the good vibes felt around Tampa before the seasons start.

I mean come on, look at the facts. Who could blame anyone for getting on board what seemed like a sure thing? Josh Freeman was electric, leading comebacks like he was cooking a steak. LeGarrette Blount literally leapt out of nowhere to become the feature guy in Tampa and the offense finally had a young, big receiver in Mike Williams who could serve up some serious deep threats.

But the cracks were either unseen or willingly ignored by everyone. It was like a witch hunt; anyone who deflated the hope or dared to speak unpleasantly of Josh Freeman were burned at the stake — figuratively of course.

There is no discipline on this team which is different, although it could be another

ignored factor from last year. Raheem Morris ll of a sudden is on the hot seat (although he won’t be fired so calm down on that one), and Josh Freeman is so banged up he was inactivated for the first time since becoming a starter.

The reality os now setting in that this is a lost season and is one game away from becoming a losing one — not even a full calendar year after the last one ended with such promise.

And thats what stings so much about this season, we were sold a false product or at least a faulty one.

The franchise isn’t lost nor is it (nor should it) go into rebulindg mode, it did that and this is the results.

Maybe it’s our fault for getting too ahead of ourselves. Maybe it’s my fault for selling the shares of hope like the stock was given away to little Bart Simpson.

We can take the partial bullet for this one. It was us that propped up this team like it was accomplished when it has even made the playoffs under the current regime. It was us who inflated the hope ballon and it was us that bet the farm on it.

But it’s only partially our fault. THe rest (and majority) of the blame can go squarely on the Bucs — Raheem Morris, Josh Freeman, Mark Dominik — for giving us the impression all the hope was a good investment.

It’s a lost season and we need to come to grips with that. But only one mulligan is allowed. If this happens next season, we won’t be so forgiving.

Heck a lot of people aren’t forgiving right now. And when the rift between fans and players begins, that’s bad thing. The seed of hope had been planted last year, but now the seed of angst has been planted this year.

The question is which one will bloom? Unfortunately we will have to wait until next year to find out.