Buccaneers played the “nobody picked us to win” game

Super Bowl LV
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Some like to pooh-pooh the potency of potential motivation for pro football players. Time and again, it’s proven to be a very real dynamic.

And it doesn’t have to be real. As Michael Jordan proved, embellished and/or fabricated motivation works, too.

For the Buccaneers, the motivation was more embellished than fabricated. Still, the post-game noise underscores the disconnect with the pre-game vibe.

“My guys were pissed off,” Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles told Peter King of NBCSports.com. “The biggest thing they do is read and they got TV all the time. Nobody picked us and gave us a chance to win. They were really pissed off about that.”

That’s just flat-out incorrect. Plenty of people picked the Buccaneers to win. (I’m one of them.) While the bulk of prognosticators leaned Kansas City, it was a fry cry from the slot-machine row of pre-game selections that all go one way. Plenty of people believed that Brady and the Bucs would find a way to win.

Of course, no one in their right mind expected a 22-point margin for Tampa Bay, and no touchdowns for the Chiefs.

“They played Drew Brees with [Michael] Thomas and [Alvin] Kamara,” Bowles said of his defense. “They played Aaron Rodgers with [Aaron] Jones and [Davante] Adams. Now they faced Mahomes with Kelce and Tyreek. You know, we earned it. We beat three of the best, the top five in the league.”

Linebacker Devin White echoed the sentiment.

“It was crazy to us that we were still underdogs,” White told King. “We defeated Drew Brees, we defeated Aaron Rodgers and then, like, he was the MVP and we still was underdogs. We were just out there like finish them, finish them, finish them. We didn’t want them to score.”

And they didn’t. The Chiefs managed only a trio of field goals. Thanks in part to the notion within the Tampa Bay organization that it was the Buccaneers Against The World.

Even if it wasn’t.

7 responses to “Buccaneers played the “nobody picked us to win” game

  1. “Nobody picked us” is an exaggeration, but way more sports commentators picked the Chiefs, so I know where the Chiefs players were coming from, especially the defensive guys, who rightly felt that not enough credit was given to their demonstrated ability throughout the playoffs.

    Michael Robinson was on Good Morning Football this morning and he talked about the runup to Super Bowl 48 and how pretty much everybody thought Manning and the Broncos would beat his Seahawks. He said that when he and his teammates watched film, they laughed and said it was crazy, that the Seahawks would demolish the Broncos. And that’s exactly what happened.

    I appreciate NFL Network rebroadcasting this week of last year’s Super Bowl and this year’s regular season Chiefs-Bucs game. Watching those matches, you could see how good game planning could win the game for the Bucs. They did exactly what they needed to do on both sides of the ball to win, playing their most complete game of the season.

  2. Wild card: WFT vs Bucs
    WFT ‘buzzsaw’ front 7 will dominate the Bucs!
    conclusion: The NFC/SB Champs Bucs knocked the teeth off that ‘saw’…

    Divisional round: Bucs vs Saints
    Saints swept the Bucs this seasons blowing them out the last game…
    Conclusion: The NFC/SB Champs Bucs prove who is better in meaningful games…

    NFC title game: Bucs vs Packers
    Packers playing well/ Roger is goat (a joke)/ Bucs lose in cold weather
    Conclusion: The NFC/SB Champs Bucs silenced all that noise…

    Super Bowl: Bucs vs Chiefs
    MaHomes suppose to be so great/ Hill so great/ Kelce so great/ dynasty (a joke)
    conclusion: NFC/SB Champs Bucs showed the world the definition of dominance! (so great a team yet only 9 points in the biggest game)…

  3. Boy, a passing offese losing both OT’s is a big deal. Bowles had the right idea two games handrunning in that circumstance. KC won’t use it as an excuse, but I’ll use it as an explanation. That Buc d-line had free reign all game. Congrats to the Bucs.

  4. It didn’t hurt that the refs wanted the Bucs to win. I don’t know if the Chiefs win anyway, but, wow, it seemed obvious to me that the refs were not calling an impartial game and I didn’t care who won. For Esiason to say directly at halftime that the refs were stepping in to influence the scoring of the game said A LOT. No way on a league sanctioned show he says that unless he thought it was obvious.

  5. This is a Superbowl tradition. Every team plays it. It’s hard to believe anyone is left who’s dumb enough to buy it.

  6. Perhaps so, but the officiating was as one sided as the Pittsburgh Seattle game 2 decades back. Did anyone see the replay where SUH slugged Mahomes in the head and it was not called. Mahomes turned his head and looked to see if there wa a flag!

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