, Tampa Bay (PressExposure) May 05, 2009 -- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers play in the National Football League representing the NFC South Division. The Buccaneers entered the league in 1976 and accomplished something that no other team had accomplished prior and was not equaled until the 2008 season by the Detroit Lions. The Buccaneers became the first team in NFL history to go winless in a season by going 0-14 and they followed that disastrous season by losing their first 12 games in 1977 before finally winning snapping a NFL record 26 game losing streak. In recent years though, the Buccaneers have become one of the elite teams in the NFL and are no longer the laughing stock that they had been in their early existence.
The turnaround for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers came when Tony Dungy took over head coaching duties for the team in 1996 and employed a greater reliance on defense in order to win games. There were some growing pains during his first season, however the team seemed to grasp the defense first strategy towards the end of the season and there looked to be a lot of promise for the upcoming season. The team would make the playoffs in 1997, their first time in the playoffs since 1981. They would also win their first playoff game in team history by beating the Detroit Lions in that same season. The Buccaneers would struggle in 1998, however they would return to the playoffs the following 3 seasons including a division title in 1999, led by rookie quarterback Shaun King and arguably the best defense in the NFL. However, the team could not get over the hump and the Buccaneers felt that it was time for a change and they fired Tony Dungy and hired a young, up and coming coach by the name of Jon Gruden
Gruden came over to the Buccaneers after leaving the Oakland Raiders and he inherited a great team that still had some of Dungy's coaches on staff, including defensive guru Monte Kiffin. Considering that Gruden was known as one of the best offensive coaches in the game, he went right to work on retooling the offense as to complement their already great defense. The team would enjoy their best regular season ever by going 12-4 and winning their division title. They also would go on to the Super Bowl for the first time in team history, where they crushed Gruden's former team, the Oakland Raiders. Gruden had done with Dungy had failed to do and that was bring a championship to the city of Tampa Bay.
However, since the Super Bowl win the team has been very inconsistent and has been able to achieve the same type of success they had during the 2002 season. They only returned to the playoffs twice more under Gruden in 2005 and 2007. However, the team would lose their opening playoff game in both seasons and still have not won a playoff game since their Super Bowl victory in 2002. The franchise fired Gruden following the 2008 season after many disappointing seasons following the Super Bowl victory.