The 1983 Tampa Bay Buccaneers season began with high expectations, as it was considered by some to be the Buccaneers' best squad yet. They were predicted by some to be Super Bowl contenders, but disappointment quickly set in as personnel changes and a rash of injuries contributed to a league-worst 2-14 record. The team was unable to agree on a contract with quarterback Doug Williams, resulting in his departure for the USFL. Jack Thompson was acquired from the Cincinnati Bengals as what was termed "an insurance move" during Williams' negotiations, for a draft choice would turn out to be the top pick in the 1984 NFL Draft. The team's record was somewhat deceptive; they lost numerous close games, but failed to execute at key times. According to McKay, "I think the other teams looking at us respect us. I don't think anyone is volunteering to play us". Opposing coach Bud Grant pointed out that they were "losing games they should've won". The Buccaneers took their opponents into overtime several times during a season that included a record number of overtime games league-wide. Nine of their losses were by a touchdown or less, and six by a field goal or less. James Wilder emerged as one of the NFL's best running backs, but was not able to finish the season due to injury. Eighteen different players spent time on the injured reserve list over the course of the season, and only three started all sixteen games. This season ended the Buccaneers' streak of having made the playoffs three of the last four seasons, and began a streak of 14 consecutive losing seasons, 13 of which saw the team lose at least 10 games (the exception was a 7-9 campaign in 1995).
After the Buccaneers' first-ever undefeated preseason, the regular season began with a long losing streak. The loss of Williams was believed to be a major distraction to the team. Without Williams' strong arm and scrambling ability, the Buccaneers were forced to remake their offense as a short passing attack, with James Wilder as the primary target. Opponents were successful at shutting down that short attack, and the Buccaneers were successful at neither running the ball nor hitting Kevin House and Jimmie Giles with deep passes. Injuries had much to do with their troubles: every member of the offensive line suffered an early-season injury. The Buccaneers ranked last in the league in the ratio of touchdowns scored to touchdowns allowed. The linebackers and defensive backfield were also hit hard by injuries. The inconsistency of kicker Bill Capece cost the team some games, and eventually led to McKay's famous pronouncement that "Capece is kaput". McKay blamed the team's problems on lack of effort and threatened personnel changes, though admitting that replacements would not be readily found. Attendance began to decline, with fans calling for McKay's retirement. It was pointed out that the revenue lost through unsold tickets would have more than covered the $200,000 gap between what Williams had demanded and the team had been willing to pay. Owner Hugh Culverhouse reported an expected loss of $1.25 million due to declining ticket sales, while merchants reported a drop in merchandise sales. The team's final 2-14 record tied them with the Houston Oilers for the league's worst mark, but the Buccaneers were awarded last place over the Oilers by virtue of their opponents' worse combined winning percentage.
Other articles related to "1983 tampa bay buccaneers season, 1983, bay":
... The following team records set in 1983 still stand Most single-game rushing yards (219, by James Wilder at Minnesota on 11/6) Most total single-game ... Most points scored by an opponent in a single half (49 by Green Bay on 10/2) Most points scored by an opponent in a single quarter (35, Green Bay) Most ... Green Bay on 9/30/84.) Wilder's 42 attempts remain the record for a regulation game, as he had 5 overtime carries in the 1984 game ...
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