After last week’s depressing loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, I am in a bit of a funk. As I lay wake starring at the ceiling… I am surprised when the ghost of John McKay (he died in 2001) appears. He doesn’t say much except… “You will be visited by three ghosts.”
Then he disappears. Ok then.
THE GHOST OF SEASONS PAST
Jarred by McKay’s visit, I get up to watch TV. On the way to the couch I am tackled by Lee Roy Selmon or at least his ghost (he’s not actually dead by the way).
“I am the ghost of seasons past. You need a reminder that being a fan isn’t always easy, but the wait pays off,” Selmon tells me.
And just like that we’re off…
It’s December 11, 1977 and I’m in New Orleans. The Bucs had already gone winless the season before and so far the team has lost the first 12 of this season.
“Why bring me here?”
And as I turn to the field the clock runs out. The Buccaneers win 33-14 for the franchise’s first win. The team celebrates like they won the Super Bowl…
Then we’re in New York City, April 1995.
“With the 12th pick, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers take Warren Sapp the University of Miami.”
Flash forward a few minutes…
“With the 28th pick the Tampa Bay Buccaneers take Derrick Brooks, Florida state.”
Selmon points to a young Tony Dungy and says, “It’s the start of a youth movement.”
Suddenly… I’m in San Diego. It’s January 26, 2002. Derrick Brooks is running down the sidelines, coach Jon Gruden running along side yelling, “boom, boom, boom!”
“Youth becomes experience,” Selmon says and disappears.
And then I wake up on the couch.
THE GHOST OF SEASONS PAST
After the Selmon experience, I get up to get something to drink. Instead, I am intercepted by the ghost of Ronde Barber (also not dead).
“I know you’re depressed about where things are… but it’s not as bad as it seems,” Barber tells me.
And like that we appear at One Buc Place. Amid 90-degree temperatures, and 90 percent humidity, the young Bucs are practicing hard.
The team has just come off an embarrassing loss to the Steelers, but the spirits are high.
“We’re going to use this week to see how we can improve,” says coach Raheem Morris. “We’re also going to start getting Arrelious Benn and LeGarette Blount involved.”
That news will only make this team younger on offense. The Bucs will now have two rookies starting at WR, with second year WR Sammie Stroughter in the slot. Blount is a rookie RB. The Bucs also have rookies starting at DT and FS. And leading the team a second year QB and a 34-year-old coach.
As if reading my mind Barber says, “we’re young, but it’s not the first time.”
Just like that I’m back home.
THE GHOSTS OF SEASONS TO COME
All this appearing and disappearing has worn me out… so I’m headed back to bed. That’s when a football drills me in the head. I turn to see the ghost of Josh Freeman (definitely not dead) standing there.
“So let me guess, you’re the ghosts of seasons to come?” I ask.
He nods… and we’re off.
It’s now February 3, 2013. I’m once again in New Orleans. The Buccaneers are playing in the Super Bowl, taking on the New York Jets.
It’s a matchup of the best offense in the league versus the best defense in the league. Josh Freeman was named MVP, but Darrelle Revis was once again defensive player of the year.
The game is close the Jets are down by 4 but driving. 4th and 6 from the Bucs 15, the game comes down to this. Mark Sanchez back to pass, former Super Bowl hero Santonio Holmes is open in the end zone… but before Sanchez can get the ball off… Gerald McCoy gets in for the sack.
GAME OVER… BUCS WIN! 36 years after the franchises first win in New Orleans, they’re once again celebrating like they won the Super Bowl only this time they did.
I turn to the ghost of Freeman, “Is this how it’s going to happen?”
He gives me a little smile…
…And like that I wake up in my bed.
It’s morning now, I run to the window, fling it open and ask the neighbor boy, “is it Super Bowl Sunday?”
He looks at me as says, “nope, it’s a bye week.”
About the Author
Written by Justin Chechourka
Born and raised in California, I inexplicably became a Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan. Now I bleed red and pewter. The best part of being a Bucs fan in California... I never have to worry about blackouts.