It took 28 years, 2 first round picks, 2 second picks and $8 million but the Bucs did it. They went to the Super Bowl and conquered. It was all the more exciting that new head coach of the Bucs was facing off against his former team, the Raiders.
In the 2002 offseason, the Raiders traded Head Coach Jon Gruden to the Bucs. I believe, that was the third time an NFL head coach had been traded. Though I’m not sure.
Say what you want about Jon Gruden, but that man-made football exciting for me at that time. I have always been a fan of the Gruden family as his younger brother Jay coached and quarterbacked the Orlando Predators (my hometown) for many many years. To be clear, I am not a Bucs fan, but the 2002 Tampa Bay Bucs were what made football in Florida exciting again.
The Dolphins were on the cusp of a playoff drought. The Jaguars, well, they were on the verge of a rebuild. Wasn’t a good time for me or other Florida team fans. Then, Gruden comes out of nowhere in what should have been a rebuild year and does what Dungy couldn’t do. But, what makes the 2002 Bucs team special was that they are in rare company with the 1968 Jets and the 2009 Saints as being the only clubs to appear and win in a Super Bowl once.
It has been 34 years since the Dolphins made a Super Bowl appearance. Forty-Five years since they won one. That’s nearly double the time it took the Bucs. I talk to a lot of Dolphin fans and what becomes something of a broken record is “will the Dolphins please win a Super Bowl before I die?” I chuckle under my breath. I haven’t even seen my Dolphins in a Super Bowl much less a AFC Championship game.
Now, I am not expecting the Dolphins to win the Super Bowl this year, but can we please break the 62-7 curse and win a playoff game this year? Gruden is back with the Raiders, I guess to finish what he started all those years ago. Hey, if it works maybe Owner Steve Ross should think about wooing Nick Saban back to Miami. Only kidding. Course, we are a long way from any of this even becoming a remote possibility, but the Dolphins are 2-0 heading home this week to face off against Gruden’s Raiders who are looking for their first win of the season. The work towards the playoffs has already started and my hope is the Dolphins can keep the train on rolling because we need to flip the script. We need to make football in Florida exciting again.