Carolina Panthers

All the pressure is on Tampa Bay

I would like you to take a moment and relax your mind. Put down your everything bagel and entertain a few thoughts I had this morning.

It occurs to me that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the anti-Carolina Panthers this season. While Carolina went full blown yard sale this offseason, Tampa Bay loaded up on some of the biggest names in the league. While the Carolina Panthers were casting off Cam Newton and Greg Olsen, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were signing Tom Brady and Gronk. You could not find two more diametrically opposed teams in the NFL.

One thing that no one is talking about, however, is the amount of pressure that brings to either team. In the case of Carolina, there is none. No one expects them to win. They are clearly rebuilding for the future. But Tampa Bay? They have mortgaged everything for the 2020 season. If they don’t at least make the NFC Championship game this season it will be considered a failed experiment. How is that for pressure.

Now, you have come with me this far. Let us go a little further down this gridiron rabbit hole.

Imagine for a moment it is September 20th. The Carolina Panthers just defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Raymond James Stadium. A rag tag group of rookies and castoffs under a brand spanking new head coach just defeated the 2020 NFL Dream Team. As unlikely as that is to happen, just imagine if it did.

To me, a victory in Tampa Bay would feel as good as any playoff game. This is precisely the benefit of cheering for a young and inexperienced team on the rise. The small victories taste as sweet as any veteran team can provide. A simple divisional win (God willing) will feel like a home playoff victory. Such is the benefit of a team riding on low expectations. Not only do you get to enjoy a rare victory, but also revel in the dismay inflicted upon the opposition. Sweet delicious schadenfreude.

All the pressure is on you, Tampa Bay. Good luck with it.