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1976 Buccaneers Opening Season 1 Schedule

1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Opening Season 1 Brief

The 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers season was the team’s first in the National Football League. The Buccaneers gained infamy as the first team to play an entire 14-game season without winning or tying a single game (including five games where they never even scored). They did not score until their third game and did not score a touchdown until their fourth. They lost by more than a touchdown 11 times. Colorful, maverick former USC coach John McKay, whose wisecracking remarks occasionally agitated fans and the league, led the team. Lee Roy Selmon, the Buccaneers’ first Hall of Fame representative, made his rookie debut in an injury-plagued season.

The expansion draft was largely made up of aging veterans, giving the Buccaneers little basis for success. The lack of medical information provided on players in the expansion draft contributed heavily to the team’s problems, as they finished the season with 17 players on injured reserve. They were last in the league in points scored, touchdowns, and rushing touchdowns. After a 19-point 4th-quarter performance brought them within striking distance of a victory in week 8 against the Kansas City Chiefs, they were blown out of every game the rest of the season. Subsequent expansion teams were given a more generous allotment of draft picks and expansion draft opportunities, in part to avoid a repeat of the Buccaneers’ difficulties.

John McKay

Owner Hugh Culverhouse, encouraged by recommendations from Vice President of Operations Ron Wolf and Alabama coaching legend Bear Bryant, chose John McKay, winner of four national championships with the USC Trojans, as the first Buccaneer head coach. Aided by a string of great tailbacks, including Heisman Trophy winners O. J. Simpson and Mike Garrett, McKay was credited with popularizing the I formation. Other candidates considered included Hank Stram, Ara Parseghian, and Joe Paterno. McKay was reportedly offered a five-year contract worth $750,000, plus cars, insurance, and real estate, and turned down an offer from the Seattle Seahawks and a counter-offer from USC to take the job. Critical of the NFL, he had turned down offers from professional teams in the past. McKay cited NCAA cutbacks in finances and recruiting as motivations for leaving the college ranks, saying simply that it was “time to try something else”. McKay’s only promise was that he would beat what he called “Pittsburgh’s timetable”, referencing the fact that it took the Steelers 41 years to win their first championship. Coach McKay would prove to be somewhat correct as Tampa Bay won the NFC's Central Division in 1979, the team's fourth year of existence, though it would take the team 27 seasons to win its first championship, which occurred in the 2002 season.

"McKay Quotes"

McKay had a natural sense of humor that helped him to cope with the pressures of the long losing streak, and it was not unusual for his press conferences to resemble comedy routines. While this may have helped cope with the on-field frustrations, it also served to mask how difficult the experience was for him, a situation his son Rich compared to “taking off in a jet airplane and finding out that neither engine works."

  • On hearing about kicker Pete Rajecki’s nervousness at playing in front of McKay: “That’s unfortunate, as I plan on attending all the games”.

  • At a postgame press conference: “You guys don’t know the difference between a football and a bunch of bananas."

  • At the following week’s press conference, after a member of the media left a case of bananas at his door: “You guys don’t know the difference between a football and a Mercedes-Benz."

  • On John Brodie’s comment that Steve Spurrier throws one of three passes into the ground: “That’s OK, we’ll just get shorter receivers."

  • “We’ve determined that we can’t win at home and we can’t win on the road. What we need is a neutral site."

  • “We didn’t block real good, but we made up for it by not tackling."

  • When asked how he compared coaching in Tampa to coaching at USC: “It’s a three-hour time difference."

  • “Mr. Culverhouse has been a great owner. He hasn’t come to the dressing room yet to give me any suggestions. Well, I need some advice. I called the Baltimore owner, but he was busy”.

  • To players planning on staying in Tampa over the offseason: “Stop by my office tomorrow and pick up some fake noses and mustaches so no one recognizes your sorry asses”.

  • “We’ll be back. Maybe not in this century, but we’ll be back."

  • Additionally, assistant coach Dennis Fryzel, when the team was penalized for having 12 players on the field, asked a referee, “Which one was it?" And injured guard Ira Gordon reportedly told McKay, “Coach, I got the x-ray, but I don’t feel any better”.
  • McKay’s Comments on Coaching in the NFL

    I don’t know what this pro football mystique is. I’ve gone to the pro camps. They throw the ball, they catch the ball. Many of them are ex-USC players. I’m not amazed at what they do. I’ve watched the pros play. They run traps, they pitch the ball, they sweep. What else is there?
    - John McKay, in Sports Illustrated

    Coach McKay had won four national championships while coaching at USC, and he never hesitated to express his lack of awe at the NFL. He earned enemies in the league with his dismissive comments and nonchalant attitude. The league liked to promote the games as having life-or-death significance, and were undercut by a coach who would make statements such as, “You draw Xs and Os on a blackboard and that’s not so difficult. I can even do it with my left hand”. Such statements made the Buccaneers’ road more difficult, as a feeling grew around the league that McKay was a newcomer who needed to be taught a lesson. Linebacker Richard “Batman” Wood echoed those sentiments: “It was a brand-new organization. Who cared about us? They wanted to devastate us, beat us in the ground. And with coach McKay coming from college, they wanted to maybe even play us a little harder." Examples given of opponents using McKay’s comments as an excuse to run up the score included the reverse that Denver ran late in a 48–10 victory, and the timeout that Chuck Fairbanks called at the end of the Patriots game to enable Steve Grogan to break the NFL record of season rushing touchdowns by a quarterback. One sports analyst had predicted that McKay’s lucrative contract would encourage opposing coaches to run up the score on the Buccaneers, to be able to demonstrate to their team owners that they were deserving of similar money.

    Fed up with the attitude that he had to prove himself in the NFL, McKay once drunkenly needled Don Shula by saying, “I think pro coaches should have to prove themselves by winning four national championships in the colleges”. He later admitted to having ruffled some feathers in the NFL, but said, “it wasn’t as if they didn’t deserve it”.

    Other Winless Teams

    Five previous teams finished with a winless and tieless season record, mostly during World War II: the 1934 Cincinnati Reds at 0–8, the 1942 Detroit Lions at 0–11, the 1943 Chicago Cardinals at 0–10, and the 1944 Brooklyn Tigers and Chicago Cardinals/Pittsburgh Steelers at 0–10 (the Cardinals and Steelers merged for the 1944 season and are commonly referred to as Card-Pitt, or, derisively, as the “carpet”).

    The 0–14 record was matched by the 1980 New Orleans Saints, who won their penultimate game to end the season 1–15. The 1981 Baltimore Colts then won their opener and closer, but lost every game in between to equal the Buccaneers’ and Saints’ 14-game single-season losing streak. The 1982 Colts were winless in a strike-shortened season, but did get a tie in one game. The 1990 New England Patriots had a 1–1 record when several of the players sexually harassed a female reporter. The fallout from the scandal contributed to the team finishing 0–14 in its remaining games. The 2013 Houston Texans also managed to match the Buccaneers' single-season losing streak after starting 2–0. Most recently, the 2016 Cleveland Browns lost their first 14 games to match the Buccaneers' single season streak, but managed to avoid becoming the NFL's second 0-16 team by winning their penultimate game against the San Diego Chargers.

    The Buccaneers’ record for consecutive games lost in a single season would be surpassed twice; by the 2001 Carolina Panthers, who lost fifteen consecutive games after winning their opener, and the 2008 Detroit Lions, the only winless team to have done so in a 16-game schedule. Ten NFL teams since the 1976 Buccaneers have lost 15 or 16 games in a season, but the Buccaneers’ 26-game losing streak from 1976 to 1977 still stands as the longest in modern NFL history. The aforementioned Detroit Lions have come the closest to matching the Buccaneers' losing streak, having lost 19 consecutive games between 2007 until finally winning in week 3 of the 2009 season.

    Offseason

    The Buccaneers signed their first-ever free agents in January: former Birmingham Americans and Nebraska guard Tom Alward, Denver Broncos and Notre Dame defensive end Pete Duranko, and Chicago Bears wide receiver Wayne Wheeler. Having not selected a quarterback in the veteran allocation draft, they addressed that need in their first-ever trade, a deal to get local favorite Steve Spurrier from the San Francisco 49ers. The former Heisman Trophy winner was obtained for a second-round draft choice and two of the veteran draftees, Bruce Elia and Willie McGee. An earlier attempt to obtain a quarterback failed when the team sent a future draft pick to the Saints for backup quarterback Larry Cipa, only to waive him when he failed his physical. The Buccaneers also used a third-round pick to obtain defensive back Mike Washington from the Baltimore Colts.

    Coaching Staff

    Ron Wolf, who had been the Oakland Raiders’ Director of Player Personnel since 1963 and was credited with much of their success, was hired as Vice President of Operations. Los Angeles Rams general manager Don Klosterman and former Kansas City Chiefs head coach Hank Stram were early candidates for the job; but Klosterman withdrew, and Stram was interested in a combined coach/general manager position. Wolf was directly responsible for the drafting of 20 of the Raiders’ 22 starters, and his effectiveness at scouting talent was believed to be a major reason for the Raiders’ being one of the few teams not to belong to a scouting combine. The Buccaneers quickly developed a Raiders flavor, choosing to hire a scouting staff rather than rely on the computerized scouting reports that almost all other teams were using, and hiring Raiders business manager Ken LaRue to serve in the same capacity. One of Wolf’s responsibilities was to assist in the hiring of a head coach. Wolf persuaded Culverhouse that it would be better for any prospect to gain a year of experience and knowledge in his present job, rather than be named at expansion time, when there was little or no advantage to having a coach in place.

    Wolf named Tom Bass director of player personnel. Bass had previously served as head of scouting and defensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals, the only team apart from the Buccaneers and Raiders that still maintained a human scouting staff instead of using the computerized services, and the team on whose model the Buccaneers’ expansion strategy was patterned. Bass was Paul Brown’s first coaching hire with the expansion Bengals, and previously had been an assistant under Sid Gillman with the San Diego Chargers, and with Don Coryell at San Diego State. Former McKay assistant and Utah State head coach Phil Krueger was added to the staff, joined shortly thereafter by USC assistants Wayne Fontes and Willie Brown, as defensive backs and receivers coaches, respectively. Dennis Fryzel, the last University of Tampa head coach, was added to handle special teams. Denver Broncos assistant Jerry Frei was hired as offensive line coach, becoming McKay’s first assistant hired from the professional ranks, and was followed by former New York Jets defensive coordinator Dick Voris, hired initially as defensive line coach. Abe Gibron, former head coach of the Chicago Bears and college teammate of McKay at Purdue, was brought on board as a defensive assistant. The staff was completed with the addition of Atlanta Falcons assistant and former Oakland Raiders and Buffalo Bills head coach John Rauch as offensive coordinator. Tampa resident Harry Smith, a trainer with experience working with local college athletes such as John Matuszak and Gary Huff, became the team’s strength and conditioning coach.

    Expansion Draft

    The list of available players was released only 72 hours before the draft, and included many medical rejects who did not even report to training camp. McKay initially felt that the draft included a higher-than-expected level of talent, joking that “they’re in their late 30s. I couldn’t be happier”. At the time, the NFL allowed existing teams to protect all but 5 players on their active rosters, leaving very meager options for the Buccaneers (and also the incoming Seattle Seahawks). While the expansion draft did not include many well-known starters, it included several players who had notoriety with previous professional and college teams:

  • Larry Ball & Doug Swift of the undefeated 1972 Miami Dolphins team. Swift was left unprotected by the Dolphins, and the Buccaneers drafted him, unaware of the previous day’s newspaper report that Swift had been accepted into medical school and would be retiring from football.

  • Joe Blahak, who played for the 1971 Nebraska Cornhuskers National Championship team and caught an interception in their Orange Bowl win over Alabama.

  • Anthony Davis & Manfred Moore Former USC tailbacks. Davis did not report immediately, as he was still under contract to the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League.

  • Ira Gordon Starting San Diego Chargers guard.

  • Howard Fest, a member of the Cincinnati Bengals 1968 expansion team.

  • Harold Hart, the Oakland Raiders running back who had led the AFC in kick returns the previous season.

  • Vince Kendrick, the former Florida Gators fullback who had been left unprotected by the Atlanta Falcons due to a knee injury.

  • Johnny McKay, former USC wide receiver and son of coach McKay. McKay and Anthony Davis also both played with the Southern California Sun of the World Football League before joining the NFL.

  • Dave Pear, who would become the first Buccaneer selected as an All-Pro and would later win a Super Bowl ring with Oakland before retiring and becoming an anti-NFL activist over the league's treatment of injured and disabled former players.

  • Pat Toomay, the Buffalo Bills’ defensive line MVP and former Dallas Cowboy, who he believed was placed on the expansion list as a form of blackballing due to the publication of his novel The Crunch, noting in a 2014 Sports Illustrated article that the novel "was the kind of thing you write AFTER you retire, not while you're still playing".

  • Mike Current & Ken Stone, who would go on to have productive careers with the Dolphins and Cardinals, respectively.

  • Mark Cotney & Dave Reavis, who went on to become key starters for the Buccaneers. Cotney said in 2014 that the 1976 team taught him the most of any Bucs team in the 9 years he was a starter at safety, because "we had eight or nine guys that year who belonged in the NFL...you still had to find a way to go out there and bust your ass."
  • NFL Draft

    The 1976 NFL Draft was considered to be the worst draft class in many years, with only eight high-quality prospects, as compared to the normal 27 or 28. The popularity of the wishbone offense among college teams left the draft devoid of quarterback prospects. A drawing held the previous December gave the Buccaneers the rights to the first overall selection.

    Draft Trades

    As an expansion team, the Buccaneers were given two extra picks in each of the 2nd–5th rounds. Their second 2nd-round pick was traded to the San Francisco 49ers for quarterback Steve Spurrier. Their first 3rd-round pick was traded to Baltimore for cornerback Mike Washington. Their first 4th-round pick and last 5th-round picks were traded to the Los Angeles Rams for linebacker Jim Peterson. Their 8th-round pick was traded to the New York Jets for linebacker Steve Reese.

    Draft Selections

    With the first selection in the draft, the Buccaneers picked Lee Roy Selmon, considered to be the best defensive tackle in Oklahoma history and described as “one of the greatest defensive linemen I have ever watched” by coach McKay. Shortly thereafter, with their second pick of the second round, they took his brother Dewey. The two, who were the two leading tacklers on the 1975 Oklahoma Sooners football team, were the third pair of brothers in NFL history to go to the same team in the same draft. They became the only pair of brothers to play for the same NFL team at the same time until Lyle Blackwood joined his brother Glenn on the Miami Dolphins’ roster in 1981. The move prompted brother Lucious Selmon to offer to come out of retirement if Tampa Bay would obtain his NFL rights. The Buccaneers spent their first second-round pick on Florida fullback Jimmy DuBose, and took Colorado offensive tackle Steve Young in the third round. Later-round picks who made the team included defensive back Curtis Jordan, quarterback Parnell Dickinson, and running back George Ragsdale. Carl Roaches, later a Pro Bowl return man for the Houston Oilers, and Tommy West, later the head coach of the University of Memphis, were selected by the Buccaneers but did not make the roster.

    Preseason

    The Buccaneers’ first training camp began on July 6, at the team’s training facility near Tampa International Airport, with a crew from NFL Films on hand to film the proceedings. Chicago Bears quarterback and Tampa native Gary Huff showed up to taunt the receivers. McKay noted that many of the players were out of shape, and expressed surprise at players who he felt were not taking advantage of a big opportunity. Ron Wolf, after seeing the team’s players in action, admitted disappointment at his own efforts in assembling the team. Defensive coordinator Abe Gibron, who promised to be honest with each player about his performance and told one that he had a chance of making the team, but that “You’re built like Tarzan, but you run like Jane”, assessed the defense as having the makings of a great front four. The team’s smallest, and perhaps fastest, player was Carl Roaches, who at 5'6½" and 165 pounds, could run the 100-yard dash in 9.5 seconds. The team’s strongest player was fitness fanatic Dave Pear, who could bench press 10 repetitions at 400 pounds. McKay was unimpressed with the candidates at backup quarterback, saying of one injured contender, “his hand is still bad, but his passing is worse”. Middle linebacker soon proved to be a position for which there were no quality candidates in camp. Running back George Ragsdale impressed the coaches, but broke his wrist in training camp. Essex Johnson, the Cincinnati Bengals’ all-time leading rusher and one of three remaining original Bengals, was obtained for “undisclosed considerations”.

    The (as McKay liked to point out, undefeated) team made their game debut against the Los Angeles Rams in an exhibition at the Los Angeles Coliseum on July 31, losing 26-3. McKay called the players’ performance “unaggressive, uninspiring, lethargic, and unacceptable”, and cut 15 players one day prior to the following Tuesday’s cutdown date. McKay was pleased with the following week’s improved performance against the Green Bay Packers, a 10–6 loss in which a late interception of a Parnell Dickinson pass prevented a likely Buccaneer victory. After the Packers referred to them as the “Tampa Buccaneers”, the Buccaneers threatened to introduce the “Green Packers” at their next meeting. The Buccaneers’ first victory came in a 17–3 preseason win over the favored Atlanta Falcons, in which they scored on runs by Steve Spurrier and Essex Johnson, and a Mirro Roder field goal. Although the win had no official significance, it raised optimism among fans, particularly due to the team’s defensive performance. McKay himself was puzzled, unsure whether the win was due to a superior performance by Tampa Bay, or a lack of effort by the Falcons. Their home debut came in a 28–21 loss to the Miami Dolphins, in front of a crowd of 71,718, a crowd which Dolphins owner Joe Robbie said proved his longtime prediction that a Bay Area team would be a success.

    The late preseason saw a wave of signings of players cut by other teams, particularly the Bengals and Colts. Signees included Isaac Hagins, Danny Reece, Dave Green, and Jack Novak, with Ira Gordon and camp standout Jim Cagle among those waived to make roster space for them. Running back Charlie Davis was also obtained via trade. The moves left the team with nine former Bengals on their roster, a situation they expected, as they knew that Bengals owner Paul Brown had more young talent than he would be able to keep on his team. Linebacker Richard Wood was obtained from the New York Jets for a future draft choice, with injury-plagued running back Harold Hart placed on injured reserve to make roster space for him. Wood was the final roster addition of the preseason, and became the fifth ex-USC player on the roster.

    Regular Season

    According to coach McKay, the team’s progress was set back as they spent the preseason trying to find out which veterans would develop into regulars, but found that the younger players were better. This meant that the team started over from the beginning as the regular season began. The tone for the season seemed to be set as the team got lost in the Houston Astrodome when leaving the locker room to take the field for their opening game. They spent 20 minutes trying to find their way out, and barely made it to the field in time for the opening kickoff. The team started out with solid defensive play, ranking in the top 10 until injuries began to set in. They began to wear out as the Buccaneers’ offensive ineptitude meant that the defense spent a lot of time on the field, over 100 plays in some games. Receiver Johnny McKay pointed out the tendency of the offense to feel pressured after a three-and-out possession, with the result that they would press even harder the next time, quickly going three-and-out again. Coach McKay said early on that controlling the ball for 40 percent of the game, as they were, was not long enough to win. Placekicker Mirro Roder was cut after missing three field goals in the first two games, in both of which the Buccaneers were shut out, giving their offense the nickname “Zero Gang”, which stuck with them through a total of eleven shutouts before their first victory as a franchise.

    Roder was not replaced, with punter Dave Green taking over his duties. Rick Jennings spent the shortest amount of time with the club of all players that season; picked up on waivers from the Raiders on a Tuesday, he was released the same Thursday. New uniforms had to be ordered for the team when it was discovered that the fans could not tell the players apart because the numerals on the white uniforms could not be seen from the stands. Many local Miami Dolphins fans were angered when the NFL upheld the Buccaneers’ demand that Dolphin games not be broadcast in the Tampa Bay area on days that the Buccaneers play at home. The timing of the decision led to the firing of Director of Administration Curt Mosher after the season.

    The team failed to throw a touchdown pass in any of their first five games, three of which were shutout losses. Offensive coordinator John Rauch walked out on the team during the week 5 game against Cincinnati, and gave 'personal differences' as the reason for his resignation. His duties were taken over by McKay, who pointed to the increased effectiveness of the team’s “simpler” offense, saying that they were no longer “trying to do all the things people said you have to do in this league”. On a strange NFL weekend in which O.J. Simpson was ejected from a game for fighting, the Chicago Bears lost a game due to a referee’s inadvertent whistle, and Minnesota Vikings receiver Sammy White fumbled away a touchdown due to starting his celebration before entering the end zone, McKay launched an obscenity-filled tirade against Denver Broncos coach John Ralston after a blowout loss. McKay admitted that his feelings dated back to their college rivalry, when McKay coached at USC and Ralston coached at Stanford University, but pointed to specific plays such as a reverse and a last-minute punt return as evidence that Ralston was trying to run up the score. Third-string running back Manfred Moore caught a lucky break when, waived after the week 13 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, he was picked up by the Oakland Raiders as an injury replacement for ex-Buccaneer Rick Jennings. He wound up going from an 0–13 team to the eventual Super Bowl champion. Players began to meet for postgame parties at Steve Spurrier’s house, in order to avoid having to show their faces in public. According to defensive end Pat Toomay, “By the time we got to the last game of the season, we had so many injuries that we didn’t feel we had much of a chance. Everybody was so sick of the season that they showed up packed and ready to get out of town. It looked like a bunch of Okies fleeing the dust bowl." McKay said that the week 4 game against the Baltimore Colts summed up the season: “On one play I looked up and one of our guys was getting kicked out of the game, and two more were getting carried off”.

    The team did not score a touchdown until cornerback Danny Reece returned a fumble 44 yards in the fourth game. Running back Louis Carter threw their first touchdown pass in an “Expansion Bowl” loss to the Seattle Seahawks in which the two teams combined for 310 yards in penalties. They were outscored 412–125, allowed 6.7 yards per play, and allowed an average of 183 rushing yards per game.

    Several factors contributed to the Buccaneers’ record. One was the stinginess of owner Culverhouse, who went so far as to lease the team jet from McCullough (the chainsaw manufacturer) Airlines. At times Culverhouse had to pay for fuel with his own credit card, because of McCullough’s financial difficulties. The offense was able to move the ball freely at times, but had difficulty getting the ball into the end zone. McKay and Spurrier had a difficult relationship, with Spurrier at times taking public potshots at McKay. Frustrated by the lack of quality receivers, Spurrier criticized McKay for playing his own son Johnny ahead of receivers Spurrier considered more capable. Coach McKay, for his part, questioned (rightly, according to Spurrier himself) Spurrier’s drive, although he publicly defended Spurrier by terming fans who booed him “idiots”. Spurrier was not the only player angered over the younger McKay’s retention, and Pat Toomay later alleged that Spurrier would throw passes over the middle to McKay in an attempt to get him injured, but that McKay made no effort to catch them. Injuries were a large factor. Only five Buccaneers started all 14 games, and neither of the team’s projected starting running backs, Harold Hart and Vince Kendrick, ever played a regular-season down for the team. The defense, who played the equivalent of two seasons in one due to the inability of the offense to mount sustained drives, was hit particularly hard by injuries. Toward the end of the year, the roster got so thin that the team signed undersized ex-USC linebacker Jimmie “Psycho” Sims straight off the streets. With no time to learn the system, Sims was simply instructed to blitz on every down. Finally, the losing was in part by design: McKay was determined to give experience to young players who he felt could help the team in the future, rather than obtain veterans who might help the team win a few games in the short run, but who would no longer be around by the time the team would develop into a championship contender.

    The 2008 NFL Network program “10 Worst Teams of All Time” (produced prior to the Lions’ winless season) recognized the 1976 Buccaneers as the worst NFL team ever, although it is disputed whether their record was not deceptive, as they were decimated by injuries and were a play away from victory several times. There is some opinion that the 1976 team was not even the worst in Buccaneers history, with the 2–14 1986 squad deserving of that distinction.

    Season:
    PRESEASON
    Date   Opponent Week/Record Outcome
    Saturday
    Jul. 31
    Rams @ Los Angeles Rams
    Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, CA
    PS - wk 1
    0-1
    Lost 3-26
    Saturday
    Aug. 7
    Packers @ Green Bay Packers
    Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WL
    PS - wk 2
    0-2
    Lost 6-10
    Saturday
    Aug. 14
    Falcons Atlanta Falcons
    Tampa Stadium, Tampa Bay, FL
    PS - wk 3
    1-2
    Won 17-3
    Saturday
    Aug. 21
    Dolphins Miami Dolphins
    Tampa Stadium, Tampa Bay, FL
    PS - wk 4
    1-3
    Lost 21-28
    Saturday
    Aug. 28
    Bears Chicago Bears
    Tampa Stadium, Tampa Bay, FL
    PS - wk 5
    1-4
    Lost 7-10
    Saturday
    Sep. 4
    Bengals Cincinnati Bengals
    Tampa Stadium, Tampa Bay, FL
    PS - wk 6
    2-4
    Won 13-24

    1976 Opening Season Results

    Record: 0-14, DIV: 0-4 (5th in AFC West)
    Date   Opponent Week/Record Outcome
    Sunday
    Sep. 12
    Oilers @ Houston Oilers
    Astrodome, Houston, TX
    RS - wk 1
    0-1
    Lost 0-20
    Sunday
    Sep. 19
    Chargers San Diego Chargers
    Tampa Stadium, Tampa Bay, FL
    RS - wk 2
    0-2
    Lost 0-23
    Sunday
    Sep. 26
    Bills Bullalo Bills
    Tampa Stadium, Tampa Bay, FL
    RS - wk 3
    0-3
    Lost 9-14
    Sunday
    Oct. 3
    Colts @ Baltimore Colts
    Memorial Stadium, Baltimore, MD
    RS - wk 4
    0-4
    Lost 17-42
    Sunday
    Oct. 10
    Bengals @ Cincinnati Bengals
    Riverfront Stadium, Cincinnati, OH
    RS - wk 5
    0-5
    Lost 0-21
    Sunday
    Oct. 17
    Seahawks Seattle Seahawks
    Tampa Stadium, Tampa Bay, FL
    RS - wk 6
    0-6
    Lost 10-13
    Sunday
    Oct. 24
    Dolphins Miami Dolphins
    Tampa Stadium, Tampa Bay, FL
    RS - wk 7
    0-7
    Lost 20-23
    Sunday
    Oct. 31
    Chiefs Kansas City Chiefs
    Tampa Stadium, Tampa Bay, FL
    RS - wk 8
    0-8
    Lost 19-28
    Sunday
    Nov. 7
    Broncos @ Denver Broncos
    Mile High Stadium, Denver, CO
    RS - wk 9
    0-9
    Lost 13-48
    Sunday
    Nov. 14
    Jets @ NewYork Jets
    Shea Stadium, Flushing, NY
    RS - wk 10
    0-10
    Lost 0-34
    Sunday
    Nov. 21
    Browns Cleveland Browns
    Tampa Stadium, Tampa Bay, FL
    RS - wk 11
    0-11
    Lost 7-24
    Sunday
    Nov. 28
    Raiders @ Oakland Raiders
    Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, Oakland, CA
    RS - wk 12
    0-12
    Lost 16-49
    Sunday
    Dec. 5
    Steelers @ Pittsburgh Steelers
    Three Rivers Stadium, Pittsburgh, PA
    RS - wk 13
    0-13
    Lost 0-42
    Sunday
    Dec. 12
    Patriots New England Patriots
    Tampa Stadium, Tampa Bay, FL
    RS - wk 14
    0-14
    Lost 14-31
    PLAYOFFS
    Date   Opponent NFC/Superbowl Outcome
    Season
    Ended
    Buccaneers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
    Tampa Stadium, Tampa Bay, FL
    None
    None
    00-00

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