San Diego Chargers: Up next, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
John McKay was a highly successful USC head coach who didn’t like the NFL much. However, when the league opened the door to the expansion Buccaneers in 1976, McKay couldn’t turn down the opportunity and took the job. Between McKay’s quotes, the worst uniforms in the history of sports and the futility of the team, it was quite a ride.
Let’s start with the quotes. I don’t know when they were said in context to which game or even the year or circumstances but it’s best to just throw them out there and see what you think.
“Kickers are like horse manure, they’re all over the place.”
“We didn’t tackle well today, but we made up for it by not blocking.”
Asked if Lynn Cain of the Atlanta Falcons was ready to play against the Bucs: “Let me know if Cain is able.”
“Emotion is highly overrated in football. My wife Corky is emotional as hell but can’t play football worth a damn.”
On how coaching an expansion team is a religious experience: “You do a lot of praying, but most of the time the answer is no.'”
My favorite… When asked about the execution of his offensive line, he replied, “I’m all for it!”
What a great man.
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Let’s move on to the early uni’s. Creamsicle orange with vanilla white and an unforgettable helmet logo. It was a picture of a smiling pirate with a knife in his mouth winking at you. Not exactly the most intimidating logo I’ve ever seen. However, it kinda fit the team in the early days.
The Bucs lost their first 26 regular season games, being shut out 11 times in two seasons. When they finally won their first game toward the end of their second season, it was in New Orleans handling Archie Manning’s Saints 33-14 after the elder Manning had supposedly said, “Losing to the Bucs would be a disgrace”. Manning would later deny saying this but after the game many of the Bucs players were heard saying “Disgraceful” to the Saints QB. 8,000 people met them at the airport when they flew home. In their final game of the ’78 season, they beat the St. Louis Cardinals for their second win of their history and the fans tore down the goal posts.
Finally, the Bolts aren’t playing those Bucs. They’re playing a team that’s doing nothing but getting better. They’re 6-5 and 4-1 on the road with a 3-game winning streak including a win at Kansas City. We know hard that is. However, with the Chargers winning a tough road game in Houston against a 6-5 division leader, I still have hope. Five games left, three at home (Tampa, KC, Oakland), two in the division and two on the road (a fading Panthers team, 0-12 Browns).
Yes, there’s still hope, but I still think we have to win out to get to the playoffs. But we’re playing a team similar to Miami, strong defensive line play with some weaknesses on the back side. If our offensive line holds up, we’ll have a good chance.
Another way of looking at this season is the fact that we’ve already won more games than last year with what feels like as many, if not more devastating injuries. I actually think the coaching staff has done a heck of a job with everything that’s happened and that goes for the front office too.
Maybe the Houston game is the beginning of us getting a few breaks, sure seems like we’re due.
Chargers by 5.