January 26, 2003 Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, CA
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Raiders by the score of 48–21, tied with Super Bowl XXXV for the seventh largest Super Bowl margin of victory, and winning our first ever Super Bowl. The game, played on January 26, 2003 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California, was the sixth Super Bowl to be held a week after the conference championship games (XVII, XXV, XXVIII, XXXIV, and XXXVI). It was also the last Super Bowl played in the month of January. Super Bowl XXXVI was the first to be played in February, due to the NFL postponing games for a week after the September 11 attacks. Starting with Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004, the Super Bowl has been permanently played in February. This was the last Super Bowl until Super Bowl 50 to take place in California.
It was the first and only time until Super Bowl XLVIII in Super Bowl history that the league's number one-ranked offense (Raiders) was pitted against the league's number one-ranked defense (Buccaneers). Super Bowl XXXVII is also referred to as the "Pirate Bowl", due to both teams' pirate-themed names.
The game is sometimes referred to as the "Gruden Bowl", because the primary storyline surrounding the game revolved around Jon Gruden. Gruden was the Raiders' head coach from 1998 to 2001, and then became the Buccaneers coach in 2002. Tampa Bay, "Gruden's new team", made their first Super Bowl appearance in team history after posting a 12–4 regular season record. Oakland, "Gruden's old team", advanced to their fifth Super Bowl after an 11–5 regular season. This was also the first Super Bowl to feature two former division rivals, as the Buccaneers and Raiders both played in the AFC West in 1976.
The Raiders came into the game as four-point favorites. However, the Tampa Bay defense dominated the contest. Oakland quarterback Rich Gannon threw a Super Bowl record five interceptions, three of which were returned for touchdowns. The Buccaneers also sacked Gannon five times, and scored 34 consecutive points to build a 34–3 lead late in the third quarter. Tampa Bay safety Dexter Jackson, who had two of those interceptions and returned them for 34 yards, was named Super Bowl MVP. Jackson became only the second safety and third defensive back named Super Bowl MVP.
Super Bowl XXXVII was originally awarded to San Francisco on October 15, 1997 by the NFL owners at a league meeting in Washington, D.C. The 49ers had recently announced plans for a new stadium, and were awarded the Super Bowl contingent on its completion. However, the stadium plans had stalled by the fall of 1998 and the NFL reopened the bidding for the game. San Diego, which had lost out on XXXVI, announced its interest. The city was awarded the game during the May 26, 1999 meeting at Atlanta. Miami was the only other city in consideration. It was the last Super Bowl played in California until Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara. It was the also the final Super Bowl at Qualcomm Stadium before the Chargers relocated to Los Angeles in 2017.
Later in 2003, California would host the Stanley Cup Finals with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim hosting games 3, 4, and 6, making it only the second time that the same state hosted both the Super Bowl and the Stanley Cup Finals in the same year, following California itself ten years earlier, when the Los Angeles Kings went to the Finals four months after Pasadena hosted Super Bowl XXVII. It was then succeeded by itself again in 2016 when Super Bowl 50 took place in San Francisco and the San Jose Sharks made the Stanley Cup Finals.
Jon Gruden helps rebuild the Raiders
The Raiders won the AFC West in 2000 with a 12–4 record and the best rushing offense in the league. However, they lost the AFC Championship Game to the eventual Super Bowl XXXV champion Baltimore Ravens, 16–3. After signing veteran Pro Bowl wide receiver Jerry Rice and defensive tackle Trace Armstrong, the team repeated as AFC West champions in 2001, but were eliminated in the AFC Divisional Game by the eventual Super Bowl XXXVI champion New England Patriots in what became known as the "Tuck Rule Game", in which a potential game-ending fumble recovery by the Raiders was overturned by instant replay.
Gruden is "traded" to the Buccaneers
Raiders owner Al Davis was known to have the lowest salaries for coaches in the league, and Gruden was no exception. Instead of paying a high salary for Gruden, Davis opted to trade the rights for Gruden to the Buccaneers in exchange for four draft picks, in a deal similar to what Patriots owner Robert Kraft made with the New York Jets to get head coach Bill Belichick in 2000. The Buccaneers ended up giving two first-round picks, two second-round picks and $8 million to the Raiders to get Gruden. Tampa Bay was desperate to have someone rebuild their offense so it would complement their powerful defense in an attempt to win the Super Bowl.
The Buccaneers made the playoffs only three times in their first 20 seasons. But that changed when the team hired Tony Dungy as head coach in 1996. Dungy, along with his defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, rebuilt the defense around a core group of players, such as defensive lineman Warren Sapp, linebacker Derrick Brooks, and defensive backs Ronde Barber and John Lynch. By 1997, Tampa Bay ranked 3rd in the league in total yards allowed, 2nd in 1998, and 3rd in 2000.
With one of the best defenses in the league, Dungy helped guide the Buccaneers to four playoff appearances in his six years as the team's head coach. But the team always had one of the worst offenses in the league, and this was a major factor in their playoff losses. Thus, Dungy was fired and replaced by Gruden.
Still, even Gruden had trouble getting the offense in sync during his first year as Tampa Bay's head coach. In 2002, the Buccaneers ranked 25th in the league in total yards gained (5,222). Quarterback Brad Johnson made the Pro Bowl, completing 281 out of 451 passes for 3,049 yards, 22 touchdowns, and only 6 interceptions. Running back Michael Pittman led the team in rushing with 718 yards and one touchdown, and caught 59 passes for 477 yards. Pro Bowl fullback Mike Alstott had 548 rushing yards and 5 touchdowns, and also had 35 receptions for 242 yards and 2 touchdowns. Wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson led the team with 76 receptions for 1,088 yards and 5 touchdowns, while wide receiver Keenan McCardell had 61 receptions for 670 yards and 6 touchdowns.
However, the Buccaneers' defense was still the strength of the team, leading the NFL in total defense (252.8 yards per game), pass defense (155.6 yards per game), points allowed (12.3 points per game), passing touchdowns allowed (10), interceptions (31), and opponent passer rating (48.4). Brooks, Lynch, Sapp, and defensive end Simeon Rice all had Pro Bowl years. Brooks led the team with 87 tackles and excelled at pass coverage, recording 5 interceptions, 218 return yards, and 2 touchdowns, plus 1 fumble return and 1 on a lateral from Sapp after a Sapp interception for a total of 4 touchdowns (an NFL record for a linebacker). The defense as a whole had nine total touchdowns during the regular season and playoffs. Rice led the team with 15.5 sacks. Sapp recorded 7.5 sacks and 2 interceptions. Cornerback Brian Kelly was also a big asset, leading the team with 8 interceptions.
Raiders Defense Ranked 25th
The Raiders' weakness was primarily on their defense, which ranked 25th in the league in passing yards allowed (3,787) and 12th in total yards (5,240). But veteran Pro Bowl safety Rod Woodson recorded 8 interceptions (which led the league) for 225 yards and 2 touchdowns. Up front, their line was anchored by defensive tackle Rod Coleman, who led the team with 11 sacks. Behind him, the team had a solid veteran linebacker, Bill Romanowski, who was playing in his 5th Super Bowl (after winning 2 championships with the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowls XXIII and XXIV, and 2 while playing for the Denver Broncos in Super Bowls XXXII and XXXIII). Defensive back Tory James was also a big contributor with 4 interceptions.
The Buccaneers defeated the San Francisco 49ers, 31–6, and the Philadelphia Eagles, 27–10, in the playoffs, to make the Super Bowl for the first time in franchise history. Meanwhile, the Raiders were victorious against the New York Jets, 30–10, and the Tennessee Titans, 41–24. The Raiders won against the Titans through Gannon's pass-oriented offense.
Super Bowl Pregame News
The Raiders entered the game favored to win in their first Super Bowl in 19 years. They were also the first franchise to appear in the Super Bowl in four different decades (1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 2000s; the 1990s was the only decade that they didn't appear in the Super Bowl). However, much of the media hype surrounded the Gruden trade prior to the season. This forced league commissioner Paul Tagliabue to issue a statement that he might ban all future trades for coaches involving draft choices because it might compromise the draft.
A distraction for the Raiders was that starting center Barret Robbins went missing for most of the week leading up to the Super Bowl, and ended up in a San Diego hospital the night before the game after suffering a manic episode. Backup Adam Treu (a former Pro Bowl-er) replaced Robbins.
Television & Entertainment
The game was broadcast in the United States by ABC with Al Michaels handling the play-by-play duties and color commentator John Madden, who became the first person to announce Super Bowls on different networks in consecutive years, having called Super Bowl XXXVI on Fox and then moving to ABC after Pat Summerall retired.
The NFC improved to 6–0 on Super Bowls broadcast on ABC. Melissa Stark and Lynn Swann served as sideline reporters. Chris Berman from Disney-owned corporate sibling ESPN hosted all the events. Berman was joined by fellow ESPN analyst Steve Young, Baltimore Ravens head coach Brian Billick, and New York Giants defensive end Michael Strahan.
The Super Bowl was the first of three major professional sports championship series ABC broadcast in 2003, as they would also broadcast the Stanley Cup Finals and the NBA Finals. Both the Super Bowl and the Stanley Cup Finals were hosted by Berman on ABC (Berman co-hosted the Stanley Cup Finals with John Saunders.) and took place in the state of California. The state of California had representation in both finals series. Gary Thorne, Bill Clement, and John Davidson mentioned all of these when they called the Stanley Cup Finals.
Before the game, a show called "Santana and Friends" performed on the field. Carlos Santana was joined by Beyoncé and Michelle Branch and sang truncated versions of "Oye Como Va", "The Game of Love", and "Foo Foo." ABC also aired a pre-game parking lot performance featuring Bonnie Raitt, Goo Goo Dolls and Michael Bublé prior to the Santana and Friends segment.
In a nod to what the New England Patriots did the previous year in Super Bowl XXXVI, both teams were introduced as a team, rather than offensive and defensive starters, after highlights of their seasons were simulcast on the video boards in the stadium and on television. This has become a regular tradition starting with this Super Bowl.
Celine Dion then sang "God Bless America", and later the Dixie Chicks sang the national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner". F/A-18 Super Hornets of the United States Navy performed a flyover.
To honor the 30th anniversary of the 17–0 undefeated, perfect season of the 1972 Miami Dolphins, the following members of that team appeared during the coin toss ceremony: Don Shula, Bob Griese, Larry Csonka, Larry Little, Jim Langer, Nick Buoniconti, Paul Warfield.
Memorable television commercials that aired during the game included the "Terry Tate: Office Linebacker" Reebok ad and the Budweiser Zebra Referee. ADBOWL ranked FedEx's "Castaway" as the best commercial of the year.
Shania Twain, No Doubt, and Sting were featured during the halftime show, which was sponsored by AT&T Wireless. Twain sang her hits "Man! I Feel Like a Woman!" and "Up!".
No Doubt then sang their hit "Just a Girl" with lead singer Gwen Stefani ad-libbing lines like "I'm just a girl at the Super Bowl!" The show concluded with Sting performing "Message in a Bottle", in which Stefani joined midway through.
NBC provided counter-programming against the halftime show, airing a live segment of "Weekend Update" from the comedy-variety show Saturday Night Live featuring Jimmy Fallon and Tina Fey.
Bon Jovi appeared as part of the post-game ceremonies, performing "It's My Life" prior to the Vince Lombardi Trophy presentation and "Everyday" afterwards (most of the latter performance was not shown on ABC because the network cut to commercials).
Super Bowl Game Summary
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS 20–3 HALFTIME LEAD: The Raiders had a great chance to score a touchdown early in the game after cornerback Charles Woodson intercepted Buccaneers quarterback Brad Johnson's pass on the third play of the game and returned it 12 yards to the Tampa Bay 36-yard line. But 6 plays later, Tampa Bay defensive end Simeon Rice sacked Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon on third down, forcing Oakland to settle for kicker Sebastian Janikowski's 40-yard field goal to give them a 3–0 lead.
Buccaneers kick returner Aaron Stecker returned the ensuing kickoff 27 yards to the 29-yard line, then appeared to fumble the ball. Although the officials initially ruled that the ball was recovered by Oakland's Eric Johnson, the play was reviewed by instant replay and the fumble was overturned, and thus Tampa Bay retained possession. It showed that both of Stecker's knees were down and the ball didn't come loose until it hit the ground. Gruden and Stecker appeared upset at having to use a challenge so early in a game, when they both believed Stecker was clearly down.
On the first play of the drive, Brad Johnson completed an 11-yard pass to receiver Joe Jurevicius. Johnson's next 2 passes were incomplete, but he then completed a 23-yard pass to Jurevicius on third down to advance the ball to the Oakland 37-yard line. Running back Michael Pittman then rushed for a 23-yard gain to the 13-yard line. However, on the next 3 plays, the Raiders defense limited the Buccaneers to a pair of incompletions and a 1-yard run. Kicker Martín Gramática then made a 31-yard field goal to tie the game, 3–3.
Later in the half, a 17-yard punt return by Raiders defensive back Darrien Gordon gave Oakland the ball at their own 49-yard line. Gannon then threw an 8-yard pass to running back Charlie Garner to reach the Tampa Bay 43-yard line. But on third down, Buccaneers safety Dexter Jackson intercepted Gannon's pass at the 40-yard line and returned it 9-yards to near midfield. Then nine plays after the turnover, Gramatica kicked his second field goal from 43 yards to give Tampa Bay a 6–3 lead.
Jackson intercepted another pass on the Raiders' next drive and returned it 25 yards to Oakland's 45-yard line, making Jackson the first player ever to record 2 interceptions in the first half of the Super Bowl. However, the Buccaneers were unable to take advantage of the turnover and were forced to punt. Fortunately for Tampa Bay, they got a big assist from their punter Tom Tupa, who managed to pin Oakland all the way back at their own 11-yard line with his punt. The Raiders could not move the ball either, losing 1 yard on 3 plays with their ensuing drive. Tampa Bay punt returner Karl Williams then returned Shane Lechler's punt 25 yards, giving the Buccaneers great field position at Oakland's 27-yard line. Aided with Pittman's gains of 6 and 19 yards, the Buccaneers scored their first touchdown on a 2-yard run from fullback Mike Alstott, increasing their lead to 13–3. Then with 3:45 left in the half, Tampa Bay drove 77 yards, assisted by a pair of catches by Alstott for 28 total yards. Johnson finished the drive with a 5-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Keenan McCardell to give the Buccaneers a 20–3 halftime lead.VIDEO: Super Bowl highlights
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS 48–21 GAME LEAD & CHAMPIONS: Tampa Bay continued to dominate the game for most of the third quarter. The Buccaneers forced the Raiders to punt on the opening drive of the second half. Next, Tampa Bay marched 89 yards on a 14-play drive that took 7:52 off the clock, and ended with Johnson's 8-yard touchdown pass to McCardell to increase their lead to 27–3. Then on the second play of Oakland's ensuing drive, Buccaneers defensive back Dwight Smith intercepted Gannon's pass and returned it 44 yards for a touchdown, making the score 34–3.
After giving up 34 points, Oakland finally managed to drive 82 yards down the field and score on a 39-yard touchdown pass from Gannon to wide receiver Jerry Porter. Although he was initially ruled as being out of bounds when he caught the ball, it was determined that Porter had both feet in the end zone. The two-point conversion failed, so the Raiders were still down 34–9.
The Raiders' touchdown seemed to fire up their defense, who forced the Buccaneers to a fourth down on their ensuing possession. Oakland linebacker Tim Johnson then blocked Tupa's punt, and linebacker Eric Johnson returned the ball 13 yards for a touchdown. Another two-point conversion for Oakland failed, but Tampa Bay's lead was cut to 34–15.
Tampa Bay responded by moving the ball to the Oakland 9-yard line on their ensuing drive, featuring a 24-yard run by Pittman, but they came up empty after Tupa fumbled the snap on a field goal attempt. A few plays later, Gannon threw a 48-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Jerry Rice with 6:06 left in the game, cutting the Raiders deficit to 34–21. The two-point conversion failed when Jerry Porter caught the ball but landed out of bounds. Though there was contact with a defender, the officials deemed the contact incidental rather than a force-out, and therefore that part of the play was non-reviewable.
In an attempt to prevent a Raiders comeback, the Buccaneers managed to run the clock down to 2:44 on their ensuing drive before being forced to punt. Then on third and 18 from the Oakland 29-yard line, Tampa Bay linebacker Derrick Brooks intercepted a pass from Gannon and returned it 44 yards for a touchdown, giving the Buccaneers a 41–21 lead with only 1:18 left, and leading Buccaneers radio announcer Gene Deckerhoff to make his famous call of "The dagger's in, we're gonna win the Super Bowl!". A few plays later, with the Raiders now playing for pride, Dwight Smith intercepted a tipped pass and returned it 50 yards for a touchdown with only two seconds remaining. Gramatica kicked the extra point, and the Buccaneers were up 48–21. Raiders defensive tackle Chris Cooper returned Gramatica's kickoff 6 yards before being tackled by Jack Golden, and the game was over. With a 48–21 victory, the Buccaneers won their first-ever Super Bowl. Gannon said after the game that his performance was "nightmarish".VIDEO: Super Bowl XXXVII Complete Game Highlights
Super Bowl XXXVII Scoring Summary
|TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS vs. OAKLAND RAIDERS|
|1||10:40||7||14||2:55||Raiders||40-yd field goal by Janikowski||0||3|
|1||7:51||9||58||2:49||Buccaneers||31-yd field goal by Gramática||3||3|
|2||11:16||9||26||3:53||Buccaneers||43-yd field goal by Gramática||6||3|
|2||6:24||4||27||2:02||Buccaneers||Alstott 2-yd touchdown run, Gramática field goal||13||3|
|2||0:30||10||77||3:15||Buccaneers||McCardell 5-yd touchdown reception, Gramática field goal||20||3|
|3||5:30||14||89||7:52||Buccaneers||McCardell 8-yd touchdown reception, Gramática field goal||27||3|
|3||4:47||-||-||-||Buccaneers||Interception return 44-yd touchdown, Gramática field goal||34||3|
|3||2:14||8||82||2:33||Raiders||Porter 39-yd touchdown reception, 2-pt no-good||34||9|
|4||14:16||-||-||-||Raiders||Johnson 13-yd punt block return, 2-pt pass no-good||34||15|
|4||6:06||8||78||2:56||Raiders||Rice 48-yd touchdown reception, 2-pt pass no good||34||21|
|4||1:18||-||-||-||Buccaneers||Brooks Interception return 44-yds, Gramática field goal||41||21|
|4||0:02||-||-||-||Buccaneers||Smith interception return 50 yds, Gramática field goal||48||21|
Tampa Bay Buccaneers dominated Oakland, outgaining them in total yards (365 to 269), rushing yards (150 to 19), first downs (24 to 11), offensive plays (76 to 60), and forced turnovers (5 to 1). As many sports fans and writers predicted, Gruden's prior knowledge of the Raiders was a major factor. The most damaging piece of evidence is NFL Films footage of Tampa Bay defensive back John Lynch telling his teammates during the game that almost all of the plays ran by Oakland's offense were plays that Gruden (who that week even played the part of "Rich Gannon" by playing QB with the scout-team offense) specifically told them to look out for. Better still for the Buccaneers was that Oakland hadn't changed their audible-calling signals that Gruden himself had installed, thus tipping off plays repeatedly.
Johnson finished the game with 18 out of 34 completions for 215 yards and 2 touchdowns, with 1 interception, along with 10 rushing yards. Pittman was the top rusher of the game with 129 yards. Alstott was the game's second leading rusher with 15 yards and a touchdown, and had 5 receptions for 43 yards. Wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson was the Buccaneers' leading receiver with 6 catches for 69 yards. Smith recorded 2 interceptions, 94 return yards, and 2 touchdowns. He also added another 23 yards on a kickoff return.
Gannon finished the game 24 out of 44 for 272 yards and 2 touchdowns, but was intercepted a Super Bowl record 5 times. Garner was their leading rusher, but with only 10 yards, and caught 7 passes for 51 yards. Rice was the Raiders' leading receiver of the game with 5 catches for 77 yards and a touchdown. He became the first player to score touchdowns with two different teams in Super Bowls (Ricky Proehl and Muhsin Muhammad have since joined him). Wide receiver Marcus Knight returned 8 kickoffs for 143 yards.
Jerry Rice and Bill Romanowski joined Gene Upshaw as the only players to appear in Super Bowls in three different decades. Rice played in Super Bowls XXIII, XXIV, and XXIX. Romanowski played in Super Bowls XXIII, XXIV, XXXII, and XXXIII; the Raiders' loss prevented Romanowski from joining Charles Haley as the only NFL players at that time to earn 5 Super Bowl rings (Haley was also with the 49ers for Super Bowls XXIII and XXIV, and later earned rings when the Dallas Cowboys won Super Bowls XXVII, XXVIII, and XXX). The Raiders became the first team to appear in Super Bowls under four different head coaches. John Rauch coached them in Super Bowl II, John Madden (who himself called Super Bowl XXXVII on ABC), coached them in Super Bowl XI and Tom Flores coached them in Super Bowl XV and XVIII.
The teams combined for the most second half points in a Super Bowl with 46 (28 for Tampa Bay and 18 for Oakland) and the second most total points in a game with 69, tying Dallas and Buffalo who combined for 69 points in Super Bowl XXVII.
|First downs rushing||6||1|
|First downs passing||15||9|
|First downs penalty||3||1|
|Third down efficiency||6/15||7/11|
|Fourth down efficiency||0/1||00|
|Net yards rushing||150||19|
|Yards per rush||3.6||1.7|
|Passing - Completions-attempts||18/34||24/44|
|Times sacked - total yards||0-0||5-22|
|Net yards passing||215||250|
|Total net yards||365||269|
|Punt returns-total yards||1-25||3-29|
|Kickoff returns-total yards||4-90||9-149|
|Interceptions-total return yards||5-172||1-12|
|Times of possession||37:14||22:46|
|Keyshawn Johnson||WR||WR||Tim Brown (HOF)|
|Roman Oben||LT||LT||Barry Sims|
|Kerry Jenkins||LG||LG||Frank Middleton|
|Jeff Christy||C||C||Adam Treu|
|Cosey Coleman||RG||RG||Mo Collins|
|Kenyatta Walker||RT||RT||Lincoln Kennedy|
|Ken Dilger||TE||TE||Doug Jolley|
|Keenan McCardell||WR||WR||Jerry Rice (HOF)|
|Brad Johnson||QB||QB||Rich Gannon|
|Mike Alstott||FB||WR||Jerry Porter|
|Michael Pittman||RB||RB||Charlie Garner|
|Greg Spires||LE||DE||DeLawrence Grant|
|Warren Sapp (HOF)||DT||DT||Sam Adams|
|Chuck Darby||NT||DT||John Parrella|
|Simeon Rice||RE||DE||Regan Upshaw|
|Dwight Smith||SLB||LLB||Bill Romanowski|
|Shelton Quarles||MLB||MLB||Napoleon Harris|
|Derrick Brooks (HOF)||WLB||RLB||Eric Barton|
|Brian Kelly||LCB||LCB||Charles Woodson|
|Ronde Barber||LCB||LCB||Tory James|
|John Lynch||SS||SS||Anthony Dorsett|
|Dexter Hackson||FS||FS||Rod Woodson (HOF)|
Super Bowl XXXVII Officials
Referee: Bill Carollo #63 second Super Bowl (XXXI as side judge)
Umpire: Ed Coukart #71 second Super Bowl (originally alternate for XXXII, but entered game when Jim Quirk was injured)
Head Linesman: Dale Williams #8 third Super Bowl (XX, XXVI)
Line Judge: Mark Steinkerchner #84 first Super Bowl
Side Judge: Rick Patterson #15 first Super Bowl
Field Judge: Tom Sifferman #118 first Super Bowl
Back Judge: Don Carey #126 first Super Bowl
Replay Official: Rex Stuart
Video Operator: Mike Wimmer