Yesterday the Tampa Bay Bucs went to the City by the (other) Bay where they had their butts handed to them 48-3, the worst defeat in franchise history. The 49ers were the steel-belted radial. The Bucs were the armadillo.
I turned the game on at 4 Right-Coast. Fortunately I dozed off and didn’t see much of the carnage. Bucs players, clearly, dozed off as well. After the game I dropped a note to the Tampa Tribune sports department suggesting that if the Bucs were going to perform this way, perhaps the players should take their dental records with them for away games to aid in post-game identification.
Bucs coach Raheem Morris made no excuses. “We never made it off the plane,” he said in a post-game interview. I appreciate his honesty and economy of expression.
Yesterday reminds long-time Bucs fans of those dreadful early expansion-team days (0-14 in ’76, 2-12 in ’77). In the team’s first year, Bucs quarterbacks lead the NFL in concussions. (After 60 minutes most Sunday afternoons back then, the first words Steve Spurrier heard were not, “Good game,” but, “How many fingers am I holding up?”) The offensive line was so bad that when in appeared on “What’s My Line” in uniform, no one could guess what it was they did.
Like Morris, the late John McKay, the Bucs’ first head coach, was also good with a quip. After a particularly bad loss and sloppy performance by his overmatched charges, a sport writer asked McKay, “What do you think of your team’s execution today?” His dead-pan reply was, “I’m in favor of it.”
Déjà vu all over again. RIP John.