This isn’t what the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or their fan base envisioned when Lovie Smith was introduced at the team’s 10th head coach last January.
Even some of the most pessimistic of Bucs supporters probably didn’t see 2-10 coming, but it didn’t take long to realize that the rebuilding is still underway.
But there are still four games left in 2014, so what to do? Root for the home team to win no matter what? Or bite the bullet and hope the losses keep piling up so Tampa Bay’s name stays at the top of the NFL Draft board?
The latter is an understandable opinion for many fans, but not an easy one to swallow for others. Bloody and battered, going down swinging still remains the only option.
That means the rest of this season is all about raining on other fans’ parades – and it starts today in Detroit. This should also feel really familiar. Tampa Bay opened last season with eight straight losses, traveled to the Motor City with a 2-8 record and ended up coming home as a 3-8 team.
That 24-21 win last year was the last of three straight for the Bucs, but also helped trigger Detroit’s self-destruction. The Lions fell to 6-5 after the loss and rapidly fell out of contention by losing six of their last seven games to finish 7-9.
Players speaking from the locker room this week understandably focused their comments more on simply winning a game than ruining other teams’ seasons. But all four of Tampa Bay’s final contests may be against teams still fighting to continue their seasons beyond Week 17.
The best part is that all four games come against familiar foes Bucs fans can all come together to dislike. Carolina and New Orleans are current NFC South foes and Detroit and Green Bay harken back to the not-so-distant NFC Central days.
Yeah, losing may pay dividends in the future. But, in the moment, it still feels good to win the fight.
So for today, there are some kittens in Michigan waiting to be de-clawed and that mentality’s hard to hate on.