Eight years have gone by, and the dust has settled. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers would never have won the 2002 Super Bowl with Tony Dungy, yet they never would have won it without him either. Anyone who says it was defense that won the Super Bowl is dead wrong and has forgotten the way it went down. The defense wasn’t enough to beat Philadelphia in 2000 and 2001, and it wouldn’t have gotten the job done in 2002 without the offense either. Its a team effort, and the Offense, which may not have been the most active part of the team early on, caught on fire as the season went on, and completely gelled at the right time, the Playoffs. Did you know the Bucs scored more points in the 2002 playoffs than every other playoff year ever? Combined?!?! Thats 1979 (2) 1981, 1982, 1997 (2), 1999 (2), 2000 & 2001; Ten games, and were outscored by only three! Thats done with Offense and Defense working together. In fact, looking back, at no time ever did the Tampa Bay Buccaneers change one side of the ball so much as they did when Jon Gruden took over in 2002. We went from Jaquez Green and Karl Williams to Keenan McCardell and Joe Jurevicius! From Dave Moore to Ken Dilger! All told, the offense added these components in Grudens first year: Roman Oben Kerry Jenkins Keenan McCardell Joe Jurevicius Michael Pittman Ken Dilger Ricky Dudley Thats seven players! In some offensive formations, over 70% of the team had completely changed since 2001; and yet some would say this was Dungy’s team? And yet you cannot take away the foundation that Tony had set up; the direction, the mentorship, all had a big hand in the way the defense came BACK to dominate as they had in 1999. All told, under Tony Dungy, the Bucs only won one championship; the 1999 NFC Central. Under Gruden, the Bucs won 3 division crowns, and twice had the Bucs ranked #1 on defense. Tony Dungy never had the Bucs defense ranked #1. Yet there is no doubt, that without Tony, and even a little bit of Rich McKay with Sam Wyche, would the Bucs have held up that Lombardi trophy so triumphal. Sure in head to head matchups, Gruden destroyed Dungy with his Raiders over the Bucs in ’99, while Dungy outmatched a helpless 2007 team in the RCA dome; and of course we all remember the game we shall from hence for refer to as a draw….2003 Monday Night Football, and the birth of LEAPING! But the two coaches hold a special place in the hearts of Bucs fans everywhere. Thank You coaches, for the great memories you provided!
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