Don’t blink or snooze, Bucs fans.

Your football team is a national darling right now, but it won’t last forever.

You’re in your prime time as a fan.

It is here – for now – so soak in every minute.

Trust me, I know all about being a fan of a team that becomes a media sensation. One that the headlines transcend from the local papers and websites to a daily topic of conversation from the talking heads on the four-letter networks.

I remember the 1979 Buccaneers team that had risen from a complete joke – starting 0-26 – to winning the NFC Central and playing for a NFC title, just four years removed from being an expansion team. While there was no SportsCenter or NFL Network, that 1979 year was magical.

As the team won it was the lead story in all of the newspapers like the Tampa Tribune, The St. Petersburg Times and The Lakeland Ledger. The Bucs made Sports Illustrated. And not for all the wrong reasons like they had in the past.

I can still remember the cover – Tampa Bay, Unbeaten, Untied, Unbelievable.

For me it was unreal.

Channel 13 was the CBS affiliate back then, which had the rights to the NFC, so Andy Hardy led nearly every Pulse 13 sports cast off with Buccaneers news. The morning radio shows all talked about the Bucs. Everywhere you went you saw people wearing the creamsicle Bucco Bruce logo that just a couple years earlier would have gotten you laughed out of the local Bonanza Steak House or your neighborhood Zayre.

It happened fast, but it didn’t last.

Like with most good things in our lives, we expect good times to last forever. Th 1979 Bucs magic soon turned into a 5-10-1 season in 1980, but was then followed up with two consecutive playoffs years.

Then 1983 came and the wheels feel off the Bucs’ bus.

A decade and a half of bad losing football came and a whole generation of But fans were lost. You didn’t dare wear your orange and white out in public.

Things final turned around with the arrival of Tony Dungy in 1996 and some excellent drafts that included John Lynch, Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks just before Dungy’s arrival. The 1997 season was very similar to that 1979 season where the Bucs started off the season hot (5-0) and ended up with 10 wins.

Then 2002 came along, and with the help of Jon Gruden, Tampa Bay achieved what many Bucs fans thought would never happen – a world championship. As dominating as the Bucs were on that Sunday evening against the Raiders in San Diego, there was no dynasty to follow. A handful of playoff teams came and went over the next six seasons but then the wheels fell off that bus too, and the Buccaneers were mired in mediocrity for another decade.

Trust me, I was there to witness it in person.

The 10-game losing streak that cost Raheem Morris his job in 2011. Mr. “toes-on-the-line” Greg Schiano, who once kicked the media out of a weekday practice because we were being too loud. True story.

MRSA invading One Buccaneer Place. Carl Nicks’ toe literally falling off.  I still have a small sore on my right leg that doesn’t look right.

The rise then crash and burn of former first-round pick Josh Freeman. Mike Glennon running out of bounds on third down late in a game against Seattle.

The drafting of Jameis Winston No. 1 overall in 2015. Lovie Smith and his “We weren’t Tennessee ready” cast of players that year. The drafting of a second-round kicker. Dirk Koetter throwing Bit O’ Honey candies to the media in a press conference a couple weeks before he was fired.

These are just a handful of the memories over the last 10 years. I’ve got plenty more that I try not to think about.

Sick to your stomach yet, Bucs fans?

But this all brings me back to the main point.

It’s your time now.

After the disaster of the previous 12 years, the half empty stadiums, the often not competitive games, you deserved this.

You deserved Bruce Arians to be hired as your head coach. You deserved Tom Brady as your quarterback. You deserved Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Shaq Barrett, JPP and Ryan Succop on your team.

You deserved Jason Licht and Mike Greenberg bringing back all 22 Super Bowl starters and then some. You deserved to get revenge on the Saints in the playoffs last season. You deserved an epic Scotty Miller touchdown catch right before halftime in Green Bay. And you deserved a Super Bowl in your home stadium. You deserved a boat parade.

Bucs GM Jason Licht and QB Tom Brady

Bucs GM Jason Licht and QB Tom Brady – Photo by: USA Today

But don’t think it will just keep happening. Don’t just expect that Arians coaches another decade and Brady plays until he is 50. Don’t assume when you turn on Good Morning Football in the morning that Kay Adams will start shows by talking about your team forever.

If you are a long-time sports fan you already know. The good times seem to take forever to get here but then burn away faster than a piece of stray Chinese rocket as it enters back to Earth.

Soak it in, Bucs fans. Enjoy the ride and savor every moment. Don’t take a second for granted.

You deserved it – and still do.

Cannon Blast

Table of Contents

• I once had a teacher at Turkey Creek Junior High School tell my class in 1984, the older you get the more names you will recognize in the obituary page every day.

Boy, he wasn’t kidding.

Last year the Bucs family lost former coach Sam Wyche and linebacker David Lewis, and the year before that, running back Reggie Cobb. There have been number of others I grew up watch play football for the Buccaneers who have passed on.

This week we learned of the passing of linebacker Eugene Marve. While likely more known in NFL circles for his six seasons with the Bills than the four in Tampa Bay (1988-1992), Marve was a solid player for the Bucs during an awful streak of losing football. He deserves to have his passing and contributions noted by the Tampa Bay community.

Marve is survived by his wife, Stacey, son, Robert, and daughter, Rebecca.

• Our Pewter Report Podcast with Bruce Arians last week generated a ton of national attention as Arians is always candid and doesn’t hold back very much. That is one of the things that makes him so endearing to Bucs fans. The Super Bowl win doesn’t hurt either.

But part of that national attention came via The Pat McAfee Show. I love Pat’s show but c’mon, Pat. You didn’t know pewter was a color?

• Our friends at The Loose Cannons Podcast love to debate whether ranch or blue cheese dressing is best with your chicken wings. Then of course there is the debate – drums or flats? All this chicken wing debate, yet no one is talking about the most important chicken debate – over easy or scrambled eggs? Or even more debatable, white meat or dark meat?

I realize this has nothing to do with football, so don’t mind me. But for the record, if you need a sauce to dip your wings in then you aren’t eating very good wings to begin with. You can’t mix in a scrambled egg with your grits then sop up the juice with a biscuit. Dark meat has superior flavor to bland white meat – or fried cardboard, as I call a chicken breast.

Last Laugh

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About the Author: Mark Cook

Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, the beach and family time.Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at mark@pewterreport.com
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Naplesfan
23 days ago

For sure Mark. Never take anything good that happens to the Bucs, or in life for that matter, for granted. You never know when you will see your last Bucs championship, or when you will take your last breath, or the last breath of someone you care about. It slays me that there has been so much complaining, condemnation, bitching and ranting about our recent draft by a handful of regulars here at PR. C’mon guys, can it! The current crew at One Buc Place has proven their bonafides to run this franchise correctly, though it took quite a few… Read more »

Last edited 23 days ago by Naplesfan
Naplesfan
Reply to  Naplesfan
23 days ago

Let me add that it is not merely because the Bucs are the reigning Super Bowl champions that I feel the way I do about the team. Hell, even if all we did was make it to the playoffs this past January, and made a quick exit, I’d still repeat every single word above. The fact that the Bucs way exceeded the expectations of most if not all of us by winning a ring in February is just an exclamation point to my satisfaction at the way things are going.

drdneast
Reply to  Naplesfan
23 days ago

NaplesFan, I put my money where my mouth is by purchasing season tickets every year since 1980, can you say the same. Since I buy those tickets and support the team with my wallet I figure I have every right to complain when the Bucs make a bonehead move and take a shaky legged kicker or a noodle armed QB in the second round who probably couldn’t beat out Ryan Griffin if he wasn’t chosen so high up in the draft. If that continues to get you and others panties in a twist, then it only makes me smile. My… Read more »

Naplesfan
Reply to  drdneast
23 days ago

Give it up bitcher

drdneast
Reply to  Naplesfan
23 days ago

LMAO. Those panties are cutting of the blood flow to your brain.

PissedOffBuc1988
Reply to  drdneast
23 days ago

Just because you live in the area and are able to purchase tickets, does not make you more entitled. I’d gladly purchase tickets if I lived there, but I don’t. You brag about it. You mention it every chance you get. You’re right, you have the right to moan like a toddler. That’s your choice and youre ok with acting that way. But others would rather give every player on our team the chance to prove themselves, then if they show no signs after time, then we Begin saying he sucks. Arians and Licht have more Intel than any of… Read more »

Captain Sly
Reply to  drdneast
22 days ago

I don’t see how buying season tickets earn you “special rights”. I can almost hear that Knicks fan who spat on the player thinking the same thing.

PissedOffBuc1988
Reply to  Captain Sly
22 days ago

In his eyes, it does. There are more than one way to put your money where your mouth is. Buying merchandise is another way and depending upon what you’re buying, it can be the cost of 2 games. I’ve bought my fair share of buccaneer merchandise and I’ve gone to games when they have played in places like Kansas city and St. Louis. And I’m not alone in that. All of you do. All of us have put out money where our mouth is in some way for this team.

drdneast
23 days ago

Loved the Bermuda Triangle of Football. I was in the sidelines when the Bucs were playing against the Lions in the game where Scott Bentley knocked out the Lions QB Eric Hipple. I was no more than 10 yards from where he hit him and for a second I thought he was dead/ Amazingly enough Hipple came back into the game and led the Lions to a win. No big surprise back them. Anyway, later I had moved into the stands next to a Lions fan who was cheering his team on and nothing more but it was aggravating Buc… Read more »

bucballer
Reply to  drdneast
23 days ago

Brantley… Scott Brantley.

drdneast
Reply to  bucballer
23 days ago

You are right of course. Thanks for the correction.

scubog
Reply to  drdneast
23 days ago

I didn’t see where you mentioned the best part of that infamous play. The part where Hipple’s helmet went flying off his head as if he’d been decapitated.

Horse
23 days ago

Outstanding Mark. Can we count on another cooking show too Mark?

Spitfire
23 days ago

Don’t take it for granted… AND enjoy it… There’s a lot of Bucs Fans that can heed that warning. I can’t believe how many idiot fans on Bucs Fan sites and Facebook Fan pages argued till they were blue in the face with New England Bucs Fans about how important Brady was in our Super Bowl run and if it was our Defense and home grown talent more than it was Brady and blah blah blah. I hope down the road, anyone that argued about anything will regret their wasted breath. It doesn’t matter what team our players used to… Read more »

Eddie
Reply to  Spitfire
22 days ago

Very wise

ScottC543
23 days ago

This is a great time to be a Bucs fan, for sure. And a Lightning fan. And a Rays fan too. This is a glorious time for Tampa Bay area pro sports fans of all flavors. Savor every minute of it.

BucHarbour
22 days ago

Zayer and Bonanza…now that’s some memories right there. I remember preferring Zayer to K-Mart, but those blue light specials won the day! Speaking of names, I remember when Selmon died way too early. In the 90’s I delivered pizza for the Citrus Park Hungry Howies and his daughter used to order a bunch of food for her and her friends from us. Got to meet him twice. Once at the door, and then when he was outside washing his vehicle at his house on Wayne Rd. One of the nicest guys you could ever meet or know. One of my… Read more »

scubog
22 days ago

Gee Mark, it might have been nice if you had made it clearer that when Dungy arrived he and Monte bennefited from the Sam Wyche defensive contributions to the roster in Lynch, Nickerson, Brooks and Sapp. Had Tony not been so stubborn, the Bucs just might have had a few more wins from 1997 to 2001 when the window of opportunity was wide open. I’ve been to every Bucs home game (including London in 2019 and the Super Bowl) and have learned that way too many fans, including some season pass members, are a bit fickle. It’s really annoying to… Read more »

Captain Sly
Reply to  scubog
22 days ago

Dungy wasn’t just stubborn, he coached scared. I have often criticized BA on this site for being “stubborn” but those two plays against GB in the championship game showed that he was not “scared”. Scottie Miller TD before halftime & that called pass play to Mike Evans on the final two minute drive catching GB completely of guard is what I call “Ballsy”. Dungy would have lost that Game over and over again. Cheers!

fredster
22 days ago

Good times in life or football come and go. I am taking it all in and don’t expect Bucs to be acontender when Brady leaves. If that is next year or year after who knows just enjoying it now. In Salary cap era all teams go through periods of sucking it’s inevitable.

lambeau
22 days ago

Mark is simply wrong–it doesn’t have to be this way. The Steelers have had 3 losing seasons in 30 years, none under Tomlin. Luck? The Packers show you can have a winning culture. Licht is only 50 still, and he’s doing a hell of a job. I was lucky enough to grow up in SF and enjoy Walsh, Montana, and Young, then move to New England before Belichick and Brady arrived. All Light has to do is find the right next coach and QB and he and Greenberg can engineer a dynasty.

ScottC543
Reply to  lambeau
22 days ago

It’s easy to have a long-term winning record when you hit on the QB draft lottery. If the guy you pick turns out to be a Terry Bradshaw or a Big Ben you win a lot. If your QB pick is a Winston or a Freeman, you struggle.

Randy H.
Reply to  ScottC543
22 days ago

Or two HOF qbs in 30 years and only 2 SB wins, i.e. the Packers, losers of three of the last four NFC Championship games.

lambeau
21 days ago

Packers have had 4 losing seasons out of 30 years.
drafting isn’t luck–Winston and Freeman had the lowest character possible.