The Tampa Bay Buccaneers return all 22 starters from last year’s Super Bowl winner.
A good thing?
I think not.
Winning a Super Bowl takes a number of fortuitous physical and mental events falling into place. It is those physiological factors that will govern how well the physical will perform.
Above or below expectations.
One factor that a Super Bowl winner has to have is the realization that without a special effort it ain’t going to happen. A fear of failure. Not a pep talk from a coach, but a gut knowledge that without giving everything you have the result is not going to be in your favor.
The Buccaneers were the underdogs in both the NFC Championship Game and Super Bowl, victoires over the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field and the Kansas City Chiefs in their home stadium.
The Buccaneers were not only the first team in National Football League history to host a Super Bowl, they took advantage of it with a decisive 31-9 triumph in Super Bowl LV.
In 2021, Tampa Bay got better as the season progressed and peaked against opponents that did not play their best. Part of the reason the Packers and Chiefs were not on top of their game was because of the physical play the Buccaneers defense brought to the encounters. A defense so daunting, that Packers Head Coach Matt LaFleur went braindead and kicked a near meaningless field goal on fourth and goal when a touchdown and two-point conversion could have sent the NFC Championship Game into overtime.
A lot of things went right for Bruce Arians Bucs last year, and the cumulative result was a Super Bowl win.
Winning it once is tough, winning back-to-back a more difficult task.
What the Buccaneers don’t have right now is the feeling that they have to play better than they did last year, a key ingredient to a focussed year of preparation for the season to come. It was such a relief to see Brady drink too much and wildly throw the Super Bowl Trophy between celebrating boats in the teams’ victory parade on water.
It can also be read that Brady is done proving things and he is ready to party.
In 2012, I was doing a radio show with broadcast partner Terry Cox, who at the time was Sports Book Manager at Reno’s, Peppermill. I referred to Brady’s age and Terry chipped in how he no longer seems to have the ability to throw the long ball.
One might in retrospect realize that we were driving nails into Tom Brady’s coffin way too soon.
But now, this season, with this team, off of last year’s triumph, is set up for a colossal collapse. They open at home against the Dallas Cowboys, a team coming off one of their worst campaigns in franchise history. Some reasons for the Cowboys collapse was that quarterback Dak Prescott was injured early in the 2020 season. Another major factor in last year’s stumble by Dallas can be pinned to the hight hopes the team came into the season under new head coach Mike McCarthy. He replaced Jason Garrett, who was a longtime favorite of Cowboys owner Jerry Jones but a coach that always seemed a brick short of taking the Cowboys all the way to a Super Bowl win.
McCarthy starts his second season with the Cowboys, and after last year’s debacle, his second might be his last if Jones’ boys don’t show dramatic improvement.
The Cowboys know they need to play their best to have a chance against the Super Bowl Champions, and the Buccaneers are good enough to take advantage of what has historically been a very good spot, the defending Super Bowl Champions hosting the opening game. Only twice has a defending champion lost this game at home straight-up, that would be the New York Giants in 2012 against the Dallas Cowboys and New England Patriots against the Kansas City Chiefs six years ago.
Super Bowl winners have also done well against the point spread in the 14 games they have hosted, generating a point spread mark of 8-3-2.
While the Bucs may or may not open with a win, they are projected according to my numbers, to fall fast and far over the ensuing 16 weeks.