I had this really weird dream that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers got to play in the Super Bowl in their own stadium, and Tom Brady was their quarterback; so they won. But 2/3 of the stadium was filled with cardboard cut-outs of people, and the real people had to cover their faces most of the time.
That allegedly happened. The dystopia of 2020 clearly hasn't stopped for 2021. In the meantime, I'll be hoarding every newspaper article, picture, and all bootleg merchandise for the rest of the year.
Shifting gears for a new year after the greatest Super Bowl in history, The Hen is here to talk about sports ball! For those of you who are pure, originalist Cackling Hen fans, don't fret: My next article will return to babbling about idiot passengers, how that former president is still flaming human garbage shit, and/or Britney.
If you missed it - The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, my favorite football team, won Super Bowl 55. While we all fought for our lives during a global pandemic, the Buccaneers decided: THIS is our year to win the Super Bowl! They lured down Tom Brady, Gronk, other talents, and one alleged felon who can catch a ball. They all gelled at the right time, won it all, and celebrated in true Tampa style: drunk on boats. So if you're wondering why I care, why you should care, or what's a Buccaneer, this article is for you!
The Bucs, just like being wasted on water, have a special place in my heart. I'm not a bandwagon fan, Brady bro, nor a Tampa native. I'm actually just a dumb and stubborn only chick who made poor choices as a child.
6-year-old me loved creamsicle orange so much that I decided I loved the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I did not live in Florida, nor would I until I started college. By the time little me learned the Bucs were notoriously a terrible football team, it was too late.
|this dumb kid could've liked blue and the patriots.
After enduring years of teasing when I’d proudly wear my orange Bucs garb to school, high school me was on top of the world in Colorado when the Buccaneers won the Super Bowl in 2003! The Bucs may have ditched my favorite orange winking pirate for a red flag by then, but the years of loyal suffering were worth it! Then I moved to Florida in 2004, and they’ve been mostly terrible ever since.
|don't know any of these people.
Call it nostalgic, insane, endearing, or masochistic, but this team is special to me. I learned to love the violent sport, and the Bucs became my team. Sometimes I think it’s great I was unique and confident in loving a team when it made no sense; other times I think I was stubborn and dumb to stay with such a dud. Regardless, there’s no turning back. Everyone loves an underdog story, and I’ve been barking with this team since the 90s.
With nothing better to do during a pandemic, I followed the Bucs extra closely this season. Sports were a needed distraction while we dealt with peak COVID-19 numbers and a shit garbage president. With Tom Brady as the new quarterback, there was legitimate excitement around the Buccaneers, even if he was 43 or 63 years old. They had talented players in every position, and now they had a quarterback who could throw the ball to his own team. I just prayed every day that the season would happen in spite of the global pandemic. The most Buccaneers-like thing the Buccaneers could ever do would be to sign Tom Brady, just to have the season cancelled. I could see it in every nightmare.
But Tom, Gronk, and Lenny (and eventually that alleged felon) all showed up to play football with the Bucs, and all the games happened. As a lifetime Bucs fan, my expectations are always low. But each game at least gave me an unfamiliar feeling of hope that they at least had a chance to win any game with Brady at the helm. In classic Buccaneers fashion for me, I had the privilege to witness 3 of their 5 losses in person. Thanks for keeping me humble, Tom.
Humbling Tom and the Bucs won enough to get into the playoffs, a success on its own. Then they kept winning against the odds, and sailed into the Super Bowl in their own Tampa stadium. With the trauma of being a true Bucs fan, I always mentally prepare for them to lose. For the Super Bowl, I was nervous and still shocked it was all happening. The game would be historic regardless of outcome: The Bucs were the first team ever to make a Super Bowl when it's hosted in their own stadium. I was so proud of the team to accomplish that, but I was also prepared to feel sad for them. They had an amazing year, just to possibly lose the big game on their home turf. It would be historically bittersweet, ending on bitter; or historically perfect - a feeling I couldn't comprehend.
It was historically perfect. I couldn't breathe or digest solid foods for 3 hours, but as the final minutes ticked down, I slowly realized that the battered Chiefs didn't have enough time to catch up. The Bucs didn't have enough time to blow their big lead, or even make me nervous. Every Buccaneer came to win that day, and they did. It took 20 games and a Super Bowl win, but I saw that I was no longer watching the same Bucs who had historically disappointed me. For the second time in my life, each season of Succaneers leading to this wild season and historic win was worth it.
|game not over, but might win.
I'm thrilled for all the players, especially the long-time stars who were glimmers of hope through the dim years of Succaneers, who stayed loyal to the team, just like us stubborn fans. This feels great for all of us who don't get to savor triumphs often, and this team is now cemented into football history greatness.
|confetti of chiefs jerseys
To the other loyal and outcast Buccaneers fans who still live in Idaho or Ireland, and their love for red flags and pirates has never made sense, I have a few final words:
- Enjoy this success fully for the next year. Buy all the merchandise. And notice all the Bucs haters from seasons past who have no more legitimate taunts.
- Seriously, cherish this. We need to stock up on merchandise and memories to survive the next two decades of disappointments. But come 2039, it'll all be worth it once again.
|might grow into this jersey by 2039.
|actual photograph of tampa skyline now.