The Five Best Tampa Bay Buccaneers Teams of All Time

In their brief history, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have had some decent teams that have earned them nine divisional championships, two conference championships, and two Super Bowls. They’re still far from being among the most prosperous teams in the league, but it’s evident they’ve had their fair share of success throughout their 50-year history.

Here are the five best teams to ever take the field for the Buccaneers.

The Five Best Buccaneers Teams of All Time

1. 2002

Feb 10, 2024; Las Vegas, NV, USA; The Super Bowl 37 ring to commemorate the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 48-21 victory over the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego on Jan. 26, 2003. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Unsurprisingly, the best Bucs team of all time is the one that gave the franchise its first-ever Super Bowl title in 2002. Not only did this team make history for the Buccaneers, but it also featured some of the best Buccaneers players of all time, including Warren Sapp, Derrick Brooks, Ronde Barber, and Simeon Rice. This season was also Jon Gruden’s first of six seasons with Tampa Bay and, so far, the only time he’s ever won a Super Bowl in his career.

In their first year in the NFC South following the 2002 realignment, the team finished the regular season with a 12-4 record, enough to earn them the fourth divisional championship in franchise history (the previous three being in the NFC Central), the number two seed in the NFC, and a first-round bye in the playoffs. They breezed through the playoffs, beating the San Francisco 49ers 31-6 in the divisional round, the Philadelphia Eagles 27-10 in the championship game, and the Oakland Raiders 48-21 in the Super Bowl, in a season that came to be known as the best in Buccaneers history with a defense widely regarded as one of the best in NFL history.

2. 2020

Feb 7, 2021; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) celebrates during the fourth quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The second team on the list is the one that earned the team its second and, so far, latest Super Bowl victory. This was the first of three seasons for legendary quarterback Tom Brady with the team, and the first of two for tight end Rob Gronkowski.

The team finished the regular season with an 11-5 record, not enough to win the NFC South title from the New Orleans Saints but enough to earn them a playoff berth as the number five seed in the NFC. They went on to beat the NFC East winner, the Washington Football Team in the Wild Card round, division-rival Saints in the divisional round, number one seed Green Bay Packers in the championship game, and the Patrick Mahomes-led Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl.

3. 1979

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Perhaps the most significant season in the team’s history, the 1979 season was a major inflection point for the young franchise, as it was their first-ever winning season since its inception in 1976. Not only that, but it also was the first-ever divisional title for the team and the first playoff appearance, making it to the NFC Championship before losing 9-0 to the eventual Super Bowl runner-up, the Los Angeles Rams. Defensive end Lee Roy Selmon was selected as a Pro Bowler and Defensive Player of the Year that season, marking his first accolades in a hall-of-fame career that would eventually position him as one of the best players in team history.

4. 1999

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Every championship team needs a foundation from which to build its success. For the 2002 Super Bowl-winning Bucs team, it was the 1999 team. They won the NFC Central title with an 11-5 record, and although they eventually lost in the divisional round against eventual Super Bowl champion St. Louis Rams, the team’s successful season proved to be a sign of things to come. Most of the players in this team eventually became Super Bowl champions in 2002, with a few improvements and a different head coach.

5. 1997

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1997 was the first time in 15 years that the team made the playoffs and the first time they won their divisional round playoff game since 1979, marking the beginning of the team’s turnaround as they began to have winning seasons and make deep playoff runs. The team finished with an 11-5 record, their best record in the Tony Dungy era and earned him the NFL Coach of the Year award. The team had six Pro Bowlers and five AP All-Pros that year, including eventual Super Bowl champs Derrick Brooks, Warren Sapp, John Lynch, and Mike Alstott.

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