Saturday, November 15, 2008

Fleer NFL Football Cloth Patch Stickers - Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers joined the NFL as one of two expansion teams for the 1976 season just in time to appear on Fleer's final Cloth Patch set.

Here are the Buccaneers' 1976 Fleer Cloth Helmet Patch (top) and the Hi-Gloss Helmet Sticker (bottom):

Both the helmet stickers and the logo stickers were paired with the other 1976 expansion team - the Seattle Seahawks, just as the Seahawks helmet & logo stickers were paired with the Buccaneers. By pairing up the two expansion teams, Fleer did not have to change any of the other patch combinations in the set.

Bruce the Buccaneer, or "Bucco Bruce" is shown on the 1976 Fleer Cloth Logo patch (top) and the Logo Hi-Gloss sticker (bottom):

The Perfect Season: 0-14

No post about the Buccaneers first season can avoid mentioning the fact that they are the only team to post a winless season in a season lasting at least 14 games. Prior to the Bucs infamous season, the last team to go winless was the 1960 expansion Dallas Cowboys, who at least had a tie in route to going 0-11-1.

The Buccaneers in 1976 were dismal. They were shut out in over 1/3 of their games (5 out of 14) and were outscored 412 - 125. The average margin of loss was 20.5 points.

The team didn't fare too much better in 1977 as they continued their winless streak to 26 games before finally getting their first victory in week 13 of the season against the Saints. They also won again the next week against the Cardinals to finish the season 2 - 12.

By 1979 however, the Buccaneers had turned things around and won the NFC Central title and won their first ever playoff game against the Eagles. They went from being winless in 1976 to the NFC Championship game in 1979 where they played the Rams in a game that was a defensive struggle for both teams with the final score in favor of the Rams 9-0. Quite a remarkable change of events for a team that got off to such a disastrous start.

1 comment:

Boiling_Mad said...

I hope the retired, winless-1976 Bucs don't fly to Detroit next week to try to jinx the perfectly-imperfect 2008 Lions into a win!