According to the website YourTeamCheats.com, all 32 teams – including the Tampa Bay Buccaneers – have put in their fair share of scandalous work over the years.
Official, this is not. It is thorough, however. Its creator(s) compiled documented incidents of “cheating” committed by every NFL team throughout each organization’s history. These actions – from stealing signals to ball tampering to tanking for draft picks – are all, of course, suffixed with -gate.
And since everyone likes rankings, the site then goes on to assign severity scores to the transgressions and list the teams from most nefarious to least tarnished cheat.
So where do the Bucs stack up among the rest of the league when it comes to gaming the system? Right in the middle, apparently. The site ranks Tampa Bay at No. 16, behind the Carolina Panthers and in front of the Minnesota Vikings.
Throughout the team’s history, the Bucs get flagged nine times: seven PEDSgate incidents, one Tankgate and one Ballsgate. The site goes on to give descriptions of each.
Players suspended for using various sorts of performance-enhancing drugs were G Carl Bax (1990), FB Rick Razzano (2005), T Luke Petitgout (2008), CB Aqib Talib (2012), CB Eric Wright (2012), FB Jorvorskie Lane (2014) and DE Da’Quan Bowers (2014).
Tankgate – a subjective, but not unfair accusation – came in 2014 when Tampa Bay blew a 20-7 halftime lead against the visiting New Orleans Saints on Week 17. The loss wrapped up a 2-14 campaign and secured the top draft pick used to select quarterback Jameis Winston over Marcus Mariota.
Ballsgate involves Tampa Bay’s Super Bowl XXXVII victory in 2003 when quarterback Brad Johnson said he paid $7,500 to have footballs scuffed and broken in to his liking.
So who tops the site’s list of cheaters? The New England Patriots?
It’s the reigning Super Bowl champions. The Denver Broncos run away with this unscientific compilation of wrongdoings, racking up a “CheatScore” of 53 that outpaces the New York Jets (44) and Pittsburgh Steelers (39). The much-maligned Patriots, with Spygate and Deflategate still fresh in the public’s mind, come in way down at No. 23.
Agree or disagree with what YourTeamCheats.com has put together, there is one undebatable certainty. The current regime managing and leading the league is not appreciated.
Statement at the bottom of the page: “This site is dedicated to NFL Commissioner and former New York Jets public relations intern Roger Goodell and the divisive NFL culture that he has successfully created. #FireGoodell.”