That’s not entirely true. Say what you want about the Bucs, they won a lot of games in the 1990s. In fact, their 1996 season was so good, they ended up winning the Super Bowl. It was a great story: the Bucs started the year with a 3-4 record, but rallied to finish 13-3 and win the first of their four Super Bowl titles.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are one of the most successful teams in NFL history. They’ve won the last two Super Bowls, and are one of only three teams to win back-to-back titles. Who are they, and how did they get so good? This week on “A Tale of Two Cities”, I’ll be examining the Buccaneers’ history and looking at some of the players that made it all possible.
Going back into the dark ages of the NFL, it would be hard to find someone with the same impact on this franchise as the man they call Larry. He has the distinction of being the only player to play for the Buccaneers franchise, and the only one to lead them to the playoffs. He was also the only player to ever throw a block in Super Bowl XXVII (which was also the only Super Bowl they played in), and if not for him, Tampa may not have been even able to get out of their own division.. Read more about did the buccaneers win and let us know what you think.
During the 2002 NFL season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers created club history by winning their first Super Bowl. Bucs quarterback Brad Johnson led a stout defense that allowed the fewest points in the league. If it hadn’t been for former Boston Celtics star Larry Bird, things may not have turned out the way they did.
Brad Johnson received a letter of encouragement from Larry Bird.
Larry Bird of the Boston Celtics plays against the Washington Bullets at the Capital Centre in Landover, Maryland, during a regular-season game in 1987. | Jerry Wachter/Sports Imagery/Getty Images
Johnson was a two-sport athlete for the Seminoles, participating in basketball and football. Even though basketball was his first passion, he felt football was his destiny. After two seasons, he gave up basketball to concentrate only on football. Johnson was in a quarterback competition with Casey Weldon for the starting position. Johnson was benched at one time.
Bird stepped in at that point.
Johnson grew up idolizing Bird, but he never met him. Johnson provided some insight into how everything went down.
Johnson recently stated on the Seize the Moment show, “So, I was benched at Florida State.” “I have a buddy called T.R. Robinson. He just had a one-of-a-kind approach to meeting new people. As a result, he met a man called Larry Bird. I’m not sure how he accomplished it. Larry Bird sent me a letter.”
The letter provided words of support to Johnson, who persevered in the sport, was chosen by the Minnesota Vikings, and led the Buccaneers to a Super Bowl victory as the starting quarterback.
Brad Johnson, the Super Bowl-winning quarterback, holds up a letter from Larry Bird, who encouraged him when he was temporarily benched as Florida State’s starting quarterback. Brad Johnson provided this image.
Bird wrote to Johnson on how he overcame an injury and continued to believe in himself despite the fact that others did not. He advised Johnson to use the same strategy.
Bird wrote, “Brad, just got off the phone with T.R.” “He told me about living in ‘Nole country.’ I figured I’d share this tale with you. Do you recall how I injured my foot? The doubters were out in force, but I refused to give up. Then I returned. They claimed I was slower, whiter, and less attractive, but I refused to believe them. It would have been simple to dismiss it as a career, but looking back, I’m happy I didn’t give up.
So, Brad, here’s some advise. Keep your head up; there are many individuals who believe in you. Continue to blow your tail, and never forget to believe.”
Bird has long been a favorite of Johnson’s. Johnson still keeps posters of Bird from when he was a kid in his “ping-pong room.” Along with mementos from Johnson’s 15-year NFL career, he proudly displays them.
Johnson followed Bird’s advice and played in the NFL for 15 years, winning a Super Bowl with the Buccaneers.
Johnson persevered at Florida State and was selected in the ninth round of the 1992 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings. He was with the Vikings until 1998, then moved to Washington for two years, earning his first Pro Bowl appearance in 1999. He signed with the Buccaneers after two seasons and spent four years in Tampa.
The Bucs won 12-4 in Johnson’s second season, and he led them to victory in Super Bowl 37.
Johnson told Sportscasting, “They improved the talent that year, bringing in a lot of free agents, maybe between between 15 and 19.” “Over four periods, we went 3-1 and ended 12-4. We started to become heated around halfway through. We’ve been on a roll lately.”
That season, Johnson was named to his second Pro Bowl, and Tampa Bay won its first-ever Super Bowl. It may not have occurred if it hadn’t been for Bird’s words of encouragement.
RELATED: Brad Johnson was cool when he won a Super Bowl, and he’s just as cool now that his son Max is the LSU quarterback.
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