Pat McAfee all aboard the Buccaneers hype train after 'statement' win

The Buccaneers hype train is leaving the station, but not before Pat McAfee can get on.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Minnesota Vikings
Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Minnesota Vikings / Adam Bettcher/GettyImages

To paraphrase Luke Skywalker, all of the offseason hate for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is not going to go the way people think.

As soon as Tom Brady retired back in February, the national narrative around the Bucs became one in which they were going to be allowed to compete in the NFL this season as some generous act of charity. Through the kindness in the hearts of 31 other teams, the lowly, pitiful, barely-able-to-function Buccaneers would be granted the wish of playing in the league that the clip of that old guy scoring a touchdown.

That's essentially what pundits thought of the Bucs, and it took the team less than a week to start proving them all wrong.

Baker Mayfield and the Bucs went up to Minnesota and choked out the Vikings in Week 1, masterfully making halftime adjustments and closing out the game late in ways we haven't seen in quite some time. It was a gritty win and wasn't the prettiest, but after an offseason of hearing how the team was going to tank for a top draft pick, Tampa Bay is 1-0.

Not many are backing down from their unkind predictions, but some are starting to warm up to the Bucs and recognize that the team is a lot better than advertised.

Pat McAfee all aboard the Buccaneers hype train after 'statement' win

On his show this week, Pat McAfee did something few have done up to this point and dedicated nationally televised airtime to praising the Buccaneers. Specifically, McAfee and his co-hosts gave Baker Mayfield his flowers after a 'perfect' game.

"Baker Mayfield travels into Minnesota and says this isn't the Tom Brady era anymore. This is a rebirth of a guy that took a team to [a playoff win] and then gets run out town, then goes to Carolina, then to [the Rams]," McAfee said. "Baker looked composed, Baker connected with Mike Evans ... and they get a massive dub."

McAfee went on to call it a statement win for the Buccaneers, marching into Minnesota and pulling off the win. Co-host A.J. Hawk went a step further and praised Baker's gutsy performance and the impact it is going to have on his teammates.

"It was a perfect Baker game," A.J. Hawk said. "He gets to lower his shoulder and finish the game, basically seal it with getting a first down. Putting his head down and winning over his teammates, even more."

No one was ready to rush up to the front and become conductor of the Bucs hype train, but McAfee openly wondered whether the Week 1 win was the start of a special season in Tampa Bay.

"Are the Buccaneers going to go on a run right here? Is this something that's going to happen," McAfee said. "They have a defense, they have weapons at all the right spots."

It's a small sample size, and a lot of work still needs to be done, but the Buccaneers are already showing that they're not taking any prisoners as they plunder through a season of revenge.

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