Ever since the 2016 NFL season ended, Bucs fans have seen a trend from the national media that they haven’t seen in a long, long time.

They’re starting to actually talk about and believe in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

On Friday, NFL Network’s Adam Rank wrote an article about why the Buccaneers are not only a team that is on the rise and will have success in 2017, but that they should be the team you root for.

Rank gave people a brief overview of the franchise’s early years – since most of it was so bad that it’s not even talked about among general football fans. Rank reminded people that the Buccaneers lost the first 26 games of the franchise’s existence. He told the tales of how Bo Jackson and Steven Young were technically Buccaneers at one point, and he even touched on the Vinny Testaverde pick.

But then he reminded people of how cool it was when this team was at its peak, even though it was for a very short amount of time. He touched on the 1995 draft, the trading for Jon Gruden, and, of course, the franchise’s only Super Bowl victory, which included one of the best defenses in NFL history.

As the article went on, Rank got to the present where he threw a fastball right at NFL fans by saying the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were his pick to represent the NFC and make the Super Bowl in the 2017-2018 season.

That’s right — the Bucs are my pick to represent the NFC this season in the Super Bowl. I told this to Bucs fan Dick Vitale, and he likes where my head is at on this one. So it checks out.

This team is poised for a run. Jameis Winston is on the verge of being one of the best quarterbacks in the game. He’s topped 4,000 passing yards in his first two seasons, and that number is only going to go up. Especially when you have Mike Evans, who is ready to assume the mantle of “best receiver in the game”. Watching Evans play, it almost seems unfair that a guy that big can do the things he’s able to do. And then you surrounded him with speedster DeSean Jackson and rookie tight end O.J. Howard.

If you’re going to jump on this bandwagon, you’ll have to do it immediately; otherwise that ship is going to sail. (Damn it — I really didn’t mean to make that pun. But now that I’ve thought about it, can we just pretend that’s what I intended from the very start? I would appreciate that.)

The Buccaneers have been getting some love lately, but a confident Super Bowl pick? That’s a new one.

However, as training camp goes on and as Hard Knocks puts this team on a national stage, perhaps it won’t feel like a new and unique pick for very long.

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About the Author: Trevor Sikkema

Trevor Sikkema is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat reporter and NFL Draft analyst for PewterReport.com. Sikkema, an alumnus of the University of Florida, has covered both college and professional football for much of his career. As a native of the Sunshine State, when he's not buried in social media, Sikkema can be found out and active, attempting to be the best athlete he never was. Sikkema can be reached at: [email protected]
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Horse
Horse
5 years ago

What Buc fan would actually say oh no we’re not! The obvious is we all want to go to the Superbowl. We’ve taken one small step to get to 9 – 7; now more steps are required so I am challenging this football team to prove it because there is probably 12 – 16 teams who feel the same way. Go Bucs! Keep the winning attitude,

JayBuc52
JayBuc52
5 years ago

Let’s pump the brakes a little bit. The Bucs are much improved and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them in the playoffs. In fact, that it the expectation. But this is still a young inexperienced team whose only players with playoff experience come from other team. If the Bucs make the playoffs and get a win or two under their belt, then we can start talking about the Super Bowl. A lot is riding on Winston’s development as far as accuracy and ball security along with the defense shutting the door on opposing offenses. We are moving in the… Read more »

76Buc
76Buc
5 years ago

Now I’m really scared. No; terrified! With one notable exception, this team has always laid an egg when the national spotlight has been upon it. It seems every year that the Bucs do well (far too few), they lay an egg on MNF, or TNF, or a major prime time game of the week. Let’s not mention what happened when they finally did get to the playoffs. The one except being the Superbowl championship team and that one had 4 Hall of Famer’s on it’s defense! Now, to make matters worse we have some pencil neck clowns in the Buccaneers’… Read more »

plopes808
plopes808
Reply to  76Buc
5 years ago

I agree with the trainer comments, but I’ll stick to being cautiously optimistic

Jack
Jack
Reply to  76Buc
5 years ago

A franchise with decades worth of existence and you still think the same ol’ things ring true? “This team can’t handle the spotlight!” Well, shit, how do you know since this is the first year for this exact team. What about the smart vets we signed, like Chris Baker, Wilcox, and the players with Super Bowl rings on their fingers? Stop pretending like drastic things can’t change from year to year. My guess is that good football teams do well when the spotlight is on and bad teams don’t. This year the Bucs can be really good. Maybe they won’t… Read more »

plopes808
plopes808
5 years ago

It’s about damn time! The only weakness I really see with this team is the Oline. We haven’t seen the restructured version yet though so that could possibly be fixed already as well. It’s a great feeling that we are now looking at depth instead of searching for starters! Now that he has more than one weapon, we will see Jameis’ true potential realized this year. Couple that with a defense that was already on fire last year and now has a season under their belt. The Super Bowl is not that far fetched in 2017!

macabee
macabee
5 years ago

There is a saying – you can’t win the lottery unless you buy a ticket. And it therefore follows – you can’t win the Super Bowl unless you make the playoffs. It’s the kind of thing you want to hear the day after we’ve been invited to NFL’s version of dancing with the stars. That’s the reality. But I would never rain on the parade of Buc fans and players who feel like this could be their year. If I listen to the news, the world seems like it’s coming apart at the seams and would put a dampener on… Read more »

fredster
fredster
5 years ago

Super bowl? Suoerbowl? Lol. In my best imitation voice of Jim Mora. Seriously this team has long way to go to even contend for division IMO. I like being under radar better. All this playoff and better talk just makes players heads big before they even do anything. Not so much the veterans but it never is good for the young guys and rookies IMO. I am very excited and think a wild card is possible and perhaps division if they stay healthy. That’s a big if though.

RootsCrew
RootsCrew
5 years ago

Ha. It’s all fun and games in the offseason. I’ll say it again, if a team can’t handle preseason hype, they were never gonna be good anyway. I can see what Adam Rank is thinking. Giants, Packers, Falcons, Seahawks, Cowboys are the main threats to come out of the NFC. On paper, we match up well with all of them. Get into the dance and chances are “good.” So yeah, it’s silly season and dumb, but it’s nice to have national attention back on our Bucs.

chetthevette
chetthevette
5 years ago

Not only are we going to the SB, we are going to WIN that game too.
Once a reporter asked Warren Sapp how many games the BUCS would win before the start of the season.
His answer. 16 games. When the reporter looked at him funny he told him to beat it.
I miss ol’ 99.
GO BUCS

bEubanks11
bEubanks11
5 years ago

I usually clamor for some national recognition and I do love the optimism but… I agree with the posters that we haven’t earned a damn thing yet. I tell my Seahawks loving wife every year that this year will be the one that the Bucs break out. Every year, with a straight face and confidence I believe we are turning the corner. I believe we are Superbowl capable. I’m glad someone in the national media believes it too but something just feels wrong about others getting on the bandwagon without the team proving it on the field first. Maybe I… Read more »

Naplesfan
Naplesfan
Reply to  bEubanks11
5 years ago

Nobody has “earned” a trip to the Super Bowl this season. The Bucs are a plausible pick, as much as any other team is in the pre-season of hope and change.

That’s why we play the gamess!

scubog
scubog
5 years ago

My goodness! No wonder our favorite team used to doubt itself when its’ fans are so reluctant to say the words, “why not us?” We have just as good a chance to go to the Super Bowl as any other NFC team. What’s that story about The Little Train That Could? Apparently some of you would put it in reverse instead of charging up the hill. Did our Bucs not defeat the Falcons, Seahawks, Saints, Panthers and have the Cowboys on the ropes until Cherilus got hurt? I guess some of you have been let down so many times that… Read more »

Naplesfan
Naplesfan
5 years ago

Good reasoning by Rank. Why not the Bucs? There is no reason to scoff at the notion that the Bucs could go to the Super Bowl this season. I wouldn’t predict it, but it’s certainly plausible. Virtually nobody predicted that the Bucs would go to, let alone win, the Super Bowl in January 2003. We hadn’t won a playoff game since 1999, and getting Jon Gruden ad coach was expected to improve the mediocre offense he inherited from Tony Dungy, but most thought that would be a multi-year project without a star quarterback to build upon. Certainly nobody thought that… Read more »

surferdudes
5 years ago

If you would’ve told me before last season the Falcons were going to the S.B. I would’ve said you were nuts. Not only did they make it, but for a few bone head coaching decisions they should’ve won it. Anything is possible. It take s a little luck, staying healthy, and I say our tough schedule is to our advantage. We won’t be over looking anyone. Sometimes it’s the bunnies that bite the hardest. Go Bucs, I’m all in!

WinstonMVP
WinstonMVP
5 years ago

Ugh…….. Why do we even have to feel the Bucs will be in the Super Bowl? or wont be in the SB in June?
I’m excited about this 2017 Buccaneers and the future of this team. If were in the Playoffs than of course we have a chance to be in the SB. Hopefully this is the year were back in the Playoffs. GO BUCS!!!

Jack
Jack
5 years ago

Am I the only person who thinks our running game will be the bell weather for the team’s success? Getting a decent running game going will open up play action, and look at what Matt Ryan was able to do once he got the play action pass going last season.

Passing gets the spotlight but the running game matters. Control your offense, control the clock, win the game. That’s good football right now. And stop other teams on third down.

stlbucsfan
stlbucsfan
5 years ago

Maybe I’m in the minority but expectations aren’t a bad thing and if this team turns it around like they should this will be the first of many lofty preseason predictions. This team has experienced enough losing that I don’t think taking anything for granted should be an option. Embrace the moment we have, Jameis has been given weapons, defense has enough talent to get stops so why not bring on some healthy pressure. if it’s any consolation Vegas thinks we are still trash so perhaps those that hate expectations can go read that, it’ll keep the ceiling low.