The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be playing in their fourth NFC Championship since entering the NFL as an expansion team prior to the 1976 season.
Tampa Bay made an appearance in the conference title game in the 1979, 1999 and 2002 seasons and only has one win. The difference between those three games and Sunday’s game against the Green Bay Packers is Tom Brady.
Brady is appearing in his 14th conference championship of his career and his first on the NFC side of the bracket. The legendary quarterback has been playing really well as of late and with a win over the New Orleans Saints in the divisional round, the Buccaneers could be Super Bowl-bound.
Here’s the team’s history in the NFC title game.
The ’02 season is the last time Tampa Bay got this far into the playoffs. The Brad Johnson-led offense beat the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC title game, 27-10. Keyshawn Johnson caught a touchdown pass from Johnson and Mike Alstott had a score from the 1-yard line. Ronde Barber also returned a Donovan McNabb pass 92 yards for a touchdown. The Buccaneers went on to win the Super Bowl.
The Buccaneers and St. Louis Rams engaged in a defensive battle to get to the Super Bowl. Tampa Bay came into the game as 14-point underdogs and nearly upset the Rams. But it was a 30-yard pass from Kurt Warner to Rickey Proehl that won the game for St. Louis. The score put St. Louis up 11-6 and they won by that score. A safety and two Martin Gramatica field goals were Tampa Bay’s only points.
It took Tampa Bay four seasons to go from a winless team to a conference-title contender. In the ’79 season, LeeRoy Selmon anchored the defense and Doug Williams controlled the offense. The team went 10-6 and won their first division title. The team ran into the Los Angeles Rams and failed to score in the NFC title game, losing 9-0. Tampa Bay only had five passing completions.