The Buccaneers are one of three current professional sports teams in the Tampa Bay area to have won a championship, having beaten the Oakland Raiders at the conclusion of the 2002 NFL season to win Super Bowl XXXVII. The Tampa Bay Lightning hockey team won the Stanley Cup two years later in 2004. The Tampa Bay Storm has won five Arena Football League championships dating back to 1991.
The one local pro team that has yet to win a championship is the Tampa Bay Rays, who lost the World Series to Philadelphia in 2008. But the Rays just clinched the American League East division and home-field advantage during the playoffs over the weekend and will take another stab at winning a world title this fall.
Bucs head coach Raheem Morris acknowledged the Rays accomplishment during his Monday afternoon press conference.
“Congratulations to the Rays,” Morris said. “We’re fired up about what they were able to do last week. We were able to enjoy that in the bye week.”
Whether it has been trying to snare some of the Rays’ winning karma or trying to get his team out of the heat, Morris has had his team practice in the air-conditioned climate of Tropicana Field each Thursday for the first three weeks of the season. However, with the Rays having wild card playoff games this week, the Bucs won’t be able to return to the Trop for some time.
“We have the long week and obviously we can’t go to the Trop this week, that’s a major league playoff rule,” Morris said. “We’ll be here. It will be a shorter Thursday. I shortened it up a little bit because I have the extra day. … I was able to cut off a couple of periods and add it to our extra bonus day so we can have some shorter days and get all our work in.”
After a four-day weekend, the players return to One Buc Place on Tuesday and will practice from Tuesday to Friday before having a walk-through on Saturday in Cincinnati prior to the game on Sunday. Morris said that the shortened practice time this week with the extra day may allow his players to go over to the Trop to see the Rays in playoff action.
“I’m sure some of our guys will go watch the game,” Morris said. “We are big supporters of our local team. When I get the chance I get over there. I probably won’t get a chance to get over there this week, but it sure would be nice to. I’ll catch them on TV.”
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