Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 2021 defense can be best in team history

ason Pierre-Paul, Devin White, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
ason Pierre-Paul, Devin White, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

The common belief is that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers‘ defense came alive during the playoffs, which helped spearhead the team to their second Super Bowl championship in franchise history. The truth is though, the Buccaneers’ defense was an elite all season and has the chance to be even better in 2021.

Tom Brady got most of the recognition and attention during the Bucs’ Super Bowl run in 2020, which was to be expected. However, the Tampa defense got the attention of the world after beating Washington in the Wild Card round. After that, they essentially retired Drew Brees and drove Aaron Rodgers out of Green Bay, before deciding to stop, drop, shut ’em down and open up shop in the backfield (and nightmares) of Patrick Mahomes. That’s how these roughriders rolled.

It was a true “coming out party” for this unit, but if you had the chance to watch them every week, you would have seen this coming. Simply put, the defense of the Buccaneers was elite all season. You don’t have to take our word for it though, take the word of the team:

With those kinds of numbers and production, why was anyone surprised that this group of veteran greats and young studs took over in the postseason? The real story here though is the fine print.

The Buccaneers are at their best when they have a dominant defense. That isn’t exactly news since the age-old adage is that offense sells tickets and defense wins championships. It’s especially true with the Buccaneers. The Bucs don’t have the greatest history, but when they had good teams they had great defenses.

It was the case in the late 1970s-early 1980s with Lee Roy Selmon and the crew, and it was especially true when Tony Dungy came to town with the team eventually featuring a legendary defense that lead them to multiple playoff trips, and the NFC Championship Game in 1999. The 2002 defense coached by Jon Gruden is the best defense in the history of the Bucs, and one of the greatest in the history of football.

The 2021 defense can be even better. They are already legendary, especially in Tampa, but now they’ll have a full offseason to actually work together and gel more as a unit. They had a dominant 2020, as evident by the numbers, and a demolition job of a playoff run and Super Bowl, as evident by everything from the numbers to the eye test. The sky is the limit and this group is already airborne.

The Buccaneers are at their best when the defense is at theirs. 2021 will be no different and should be even better than 2020, or possibly any year before it.