Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers joined the National Football League in 1976 as an expansion team. After playing in the AFC West in their first season, they switched to become part of the NFC West division. The team plays all of their home games at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa and they are one of only two teams in the NFL who are not named after a city. They are named after the Bay.
The team struggled for a long time after they joined the league and are known for losing their first 26 games. After 14 losing seasons, they were finally able to turn things around for a winning season. Things improved rapidly for the Bucs in 1979. Their quarterback (Doug Williams) began to mature, their running back (Ricky Bell) had a 1,000 yard rushing season and their defense became one of the best in the league with the leadership of Lee Roy Selmond.
After several successful seasons, they entered another period of futility in 1983 when their quarterback left. That began an NFL record of 12 consecutive seasons with at least 10 losses.
In 1996, after the death of owner Hugh Culverhouse, the team was purchased by Malcolm Glazer. More money was put into the team and Tony Dungy was hired as head coach. The team developed a league leading defense led by Warren Sapp, John Lynch and Hardy Nickerson. They were able to reach the playoffs in 1997, 1999, 2000 and 2001, however they were never able to reach the Super Bowl.
Dungy was fired following the 2001 season because of the team's repeated failure in the playoffs and was replaced by Jon Gruden. Gruden was able to keep the defense playing at its peak and he retooled the struggling offense. The team finished 2002 with a record of 12 - 4 and as a Super Bowl champion.
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