Some people are fans of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But many, many more people are NOT fans of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This 2021 Defector NFL team preview is for those in the latter group. Read all the previews here.
Your team: Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Still a popular but expensive fixture on the downtown Tampa scene, this 65,890-seat, open-air colossus is beginning to show signs of age. The ends of the venue are festooned with pirate décor more suited to children’s birthday party venue where you have to amass 80,000 skee-balls tickets just to win a toy squirrel. The captain, who employees oddly refer to as “Touchdown Tom,” greets customers with the kind of formal stiffness more suited to a power lunch in 1986. The proprietor, wearing his trademark Kangol hat, still warmly gladhands the room with eager eyes and a ruddy complexion. The atrium, showcasing a large field, represents Tampa’s best attempt at replicating Los Angeles’s trademark outdoor malls, and it’s not a very winning attempt at that. The owner, a well-known sports impresario who nevertheless opts for a Mennonite-style grooming technique, seems nice enough, although one anonymous employee told me off the record that “he makes me wanna wear two pairs of underwear.” The food tastes like UNICEF donations. The clientele are textured, to say the least.
Your 2020 record: 11-5. Super Bowl champions. And what lovely gifts they received along the way! A rescinded PI flag against the Giants. A Saints team starting a fermented dwarf corpse at QB. A preserved eight-point lead in the NFC title game courtesy of Matt LaFleur. Andy Reid’s kid running over a kindergartener right before the Super Bowl. And a PI flag in the Super Bowl that arrived later than Stephen Breyer’s retirement. No matter what team Tom Brady plays for, the NFL is all too happy to lay down every last flower petal on the fucking Earth in front of him.
I guess I should get into the finer details here. The Bucs started off a pedestrian 7-5, prompting reports that their head coach and quarterback weren’t seeing eye-to-eye on how to run the offense. And so America fretted. What… what if this team doesn‘t make the playoffs? What if a NEW quarterback wins the Super Bowl and not Tom Brady for the 567th time? What if Brady gets exposed as crud, and a fraud? How can I live in a world where TAMPA isn’t a big part of the sports world? After all that Florida has done for the pandemic? Yes, I too worried. But then, the Bucs finished off the season with an eight-game winning streak and we ALL rejoiced. Via boat!
Always with the fucking boats, this town. The kicker is that they don’t even know how to operate them. You people live in tropical climes, near water, all year round. How the fuck do you not know what a No Wake Zone is?
Your coach: Bruce Arians.
Do they have a Guy on the coaching staff? (Pat Summerall voice) Chris Boniol up to kick…
Your quarterback: World’s most shockingly vaccinated person, Tom Brady. Tom’s got his seven rings, each of which is nearly as shiny as his veneers. Bully for him. It took 23 years for Tom Brady to become likable, but every time he makes a funny, I rightfully assume that it’s a native ad for Sweetgreen, and that it took 58 meetings and a small army of joke doctors to make that funny happen.
Getting COVID was the only time this man has ever done something spontaneous. Now, lemme get all my serious Brady criticisms out of the way first. He’ll never just fucking retire and leave us alone. He believes suicide is the REAL coronavirus. He will not stop letting Antonio Brown sleep on a trundle bed in his rec room. He’s terrible at naming boats. He got a PPP loan so big that even Jared Kushner was outraged. He still can’t beat Nick Foles in anything, including basic math. And he makes even the coolest moments feel 100 percent staged. Tom Brady is like if an NFT came to life.
Now lemme get to the more involved criticism, which is that I think all of his nutritional habits are fake.
Every time Brady is caught drinking or eating seeds in public, people are like ZOMG HE LET HIMSELF HAVE A CHEAT DAY! That’s all part of the TB12 brand. He makes you think that he spends 350 days a year sleeping in a sous vide cooker and eating vitamins on the cob. This is so that when he appears human for like half an hour, everyone is DAZZLED. Like they just saw a rainbow in a hailstorm. And it tricks would-be TB12 customers into believing that they too can become perennial Super Bowl champions if they drink a teaspoon of woodflower extract every day and work out with a set of special resistance bands. It’s all crap. This motherfucker eats bacon. You people act like PEDs and aggressive liposuction were never invented.
Your backup is Yo Gabbert Gabbert, who’s already gotten Brady into crypto shit in the QB room. Your third-string QB is rookie Kyle Trask. I’m excited for Brady to plant a bomb inside Trask’s car after he throws one nice out route in practice.
What’s new that sucks: All 22 starters from the 2020 Bucs are coming back. That includes pass rushing god Shaq Barrett, who could have cashed out elsewhere but stuck around because we’re already in the “great players took less money to win and aren’t you so glad they did?” phase of things with this team. No team has ever been better prepared for a repeat, perhaps even to finally get Brady his 19-0 season. I’m already considering drinking again. Only this team could make excellence this depressing.
If you’re looking for anything new on the field here, you’re gonna have to settle for Gio Bernard and his rice-cracker knees. Oh, and Antonio Brown re-signed! Yayyyyyyy confetti and stuff. Between this and Man U signing Cristiano Ronaldo, the Glazers are big into washed-up sex offenders. Aren’t we all.
What has always sucked: You know what I’d like aborted? Florida.
Miami is the only part of Florida that matters. The rest of it is cancer. The world would genuinely be better off without it. Even if you live in Oregon, your life is tangibly worse because of Florida’s existence. And if you’re a sports fan from anywhere else in America—nay, the world—the same holds true. Who the fuck ever wants Tampa to be important? Nothing from Tampa is actually from Tampa, and no one from there is either. Cotton-Eyed Joe at the marina moved here from Charlotte 10 years ago after the divorce. Brenda working behind the bar at Tit City Brewery had to relocate to Tampa after killing her stepdad with a Garden Weasel. This town is humanity’s landfill. The air here is made of corn syrup. You people gave your own quarterback coronavirus.
Every time I see a Tampa team win anything, much less a championship, I wished I’d watched a marathon showing of Ice Road Truckers instead. Every time the Bucs win a Super Bowl, the season attached to it is immediately rendered a waste of everyone’s time. This team has two titles this century and nine total fans to show for it. I have a better chance of seeing a fucking white rhino in my backyard than I am a Bucs fan out in public. This is an unloved team in an unloved city, in a state that would be labeled a terrorist threat if it were its own sovereign country. I fucking hate it. Hold it down in the sea and don’t let go until the water stops bubbling.
The Bucco Bruce jerseys were never cool and still aren’t.
Ratto says: Tom Brady telling jokes to Joe Biden is the work of Satan. Brady is now the team owner who makes political contributions to both parties to hedge his nefarious business practices, because you never really know which party will control the White House and therefore be controlled by the same billionaires who always run the country. BEST NAME TO HEAR ON TV: Benning Potoa’e.
What might not suck: Brady’s plastic surgeon does absolutely FANTASTIC work. The best in the business. I’m genuinely impressed.
HEAR IT FROM BUCS FANS!
Here’s your annual reminder that Warren Sapp is banned from all Best Buys.
By the transitive property, Tom Brady’s kids have also kissed the Lombardi trophy.
None of this is going to last.
I like Tom Brady now. It makes me feel dirty, I think I need to shower.
The team cast away its crab leg stealing QB for someone even easier to hate.
When the clock finally ticked to 0:00 at the Super Bowl, it was more relief than anything. Cool, we won. Am I going to die if I go to the boat parade?
The anti-vaxing Floridians that formulate Bucs nation can sunbake in their COVID bubble for a season of firing the cannons on Taysom Hill before crumbling back into obscurity for another 20 years.
I was very skeptical when the Bucs signed Brady. I went to college in the Northeast with a bunch of Pats fans and I completely hated him and the Tawmmy from Quiznee dynasty. Then the Bucs went on a huge run and won the Super Bowl. And you know what? I started to sound like one of those horrible Pats fans. When any friend of mine started to make fun of Brady? “You just don’t get how much of a leader he is.” “How could you hate a guy who works that hard.” “He just does his job.” “Hard to argue with the results.” I became so insufferable…after one measly Super Bowl following 18 years of suckiness. I’m sorry, world.
Long after Brady is done showing off his rebound girlfriend to his ex, we’re going to be stuck with the enduring myth that the GM who turned the keys of the franchise over to Jameis Winston for five years and traded up for a second round kicker is some kind of roster-building genius.
Winning a Super Bowl with Brady is the cheapest possible version of the Super Bowl high. Yeah we’re high-fiving and smiling but deep down we know this franchise didn’t earn it. Ten years from now it’ll just be a funny footnote at the end of Brady’s career and we’ll be back to the third tier laugh factory we’re destined to be.
Worst thing is this is happening during my kid’s formative football years. By the time he realizes the cool pirate ship belongs to a joke team it’ll be too late.
In my school, science fairs were usually won by kids whose projects had clearly been done by their parents. I always assumed that the victory felt hollow for the kids, since someone else had done all the work. That was what it felt like to watch Tom Brady quarterbacking the Bucs last season. Deep down, I still know that this team—and the Tampa Bay area more generally—deserves Jameis Winston.
It’s awful being from Tampa. Fuck me in the ass with a Publix chicken tender sub.
In the movies, selling your soul to the Devil always looks like such a dramatic proposition. A towering figure steeped in darkness and a contract written in fire, or at least Al Pacino and some over-the-top acting. But in truth, it’s a small thing. Like getting to win a Super Bowl in exchange for having to root for Tom Brady. The easy sin, sold sweetly.
I’ll see you all in Hell!
Thanks to the Defector staff and to all the readers for their contributions to this year’s previews. Enjoy the season.