Congratulations to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I've come around on your uniforms. I was skeptical at first. The numbers looked kind of weird, like a digital alarm you see in hotel rooms. The cool scheme was kind of odd, and truth be told, I kind of liked the red uniforms. They were really cool. I wasn't always the biggest creamsicle guy. I mean, it was cool once in a while. Like going to Shakey's "Bunch of Lunch." It's cool for nostalgia, but about 20 minutes in you are left questioning your life choices. But all that said, I really came to appreciate the Bucs uniform.
I know, that's a weird non sequitur, even for me, but I'm here to help you feel positive about your team. And I think there are a lot of reasons Bucs fans should be excited this offseason. How about I hit you with the top three right now? (Sorry, I'm going to do it anyway.)
You're No. 1!
The Buccaneers will be the talk of the NFL for the next couple of months because you have the first pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. And that's all anybody is going to want to talk about for the coming weeks. Well, that and Pete Carroll's decision to throw the ball on second down. Other than that, it will be about your Bucs and who is going to be the top pick in the draft. Are you going to take Marcus Mariota? Jameis Winston? Could they trade the pick and pick up more great players? Maybe the Bucs fall in love with Leonard Williams and you pull a Mario Williams.
All of this is on the table, and it makes it so very exciting. You might even get sick about the talk at some point, but the key here is they are talking about you. Everybody loves the first pick in the draft. Not so much the second pick. Seriously, have you heard anybody talk about the Titans' draft possibilities? Nope. Because they pick second and America hates second place. Just ask Buzz Aldrin. (Seriously, read a book.)
So, enjoy the attention. You sort of earned it. (Sorry, I didn't intend for that to sound mean at all.)
Fun fact to throw in here: The Bucs selected quarterback Vinny Testaverde the last time they had the first overall pick back in 1987. And sure, it looks bad right now, but everybody raved about how great a pick that was when it happened in 1987. Probably. (Like I can remember back that far.) But that's another added bonus. Everybody will applaud your draft since it will always look great because you had the first pick in the draft.
Fun fact II: The Bucs had back-to-back No. 1 overall selections in 1986-87. Can you guess who they took No. 1 in 86? (Don't Google it, I'm going to tell you right now.) It was Bo Jackson. Can you imagine the team the Bucs could have had if they had held on to Steve Young and Jackson? That's something you can talk about when you folks hang out at some hipster bar in Ybor City.
Whomever is the starting quarterback for the Bucs next year, he's going to have a new best friend in Mike Evans. He was pretty awesome for the Bucs last year. It took him a few games to get going, but he ended up with 12 touchdowns for the team. That set a franchise record. For a receiver! Not a rookie receiver. But a straight-up Bucs receiver.
This is a fun era for the Bucs, who have never had an elite receiver. ELITE receiver. Keyshawn Johnson was fine. Joey Galloway was good. Kevin House super, but not elite-level talent. Not somebody who will be in the discussion of best receiver in the game. Shoot, before Evans the only two players in club history to register double-digits in touchdown receptions were Galloway (10 in 2005) and Mike Williams (11 in 2010). And don't do the Mike Williams comparison, either. Evans is so much better, so don't even fret about it. In fact, get upset at the person who even suggests it.
You can also get upset at that transplanted New Yorker who goes on and on about Odell Beckham Jr. Evans belongs in the conversation. I mean, I'm not sure you're going to win the argument. In fact, I might even hand it to OBJ, but at least you have a receiver in that discussion, which has never happened with the Buccaneers, so this is all unchartered waters for you. (Like what I did there? I'm kind of proud of myself on that one. I feel like Anthony Michael Hall when he finished the essay during "The Breakfast Club" years ago. Wait, you don't watch classic movies either? How disappointing. For you.)
You have Lovie Smith!
All right, this might not have been the start you wanted from the Lovie Smith era. Or was it? Smith won just five games with the Bears during his first season. He had them in the playoffs in his second year, followed by a Super Bowl appearance in his third. And that was with Rex Grossman at quarterback. So, you need to have some faith here because he's done it before.
Besides, you guys were in the playoff hunt all of last year, mostly because the NFC South played out like a loser's bracket. I think four wins won the division (you might want to double-check), so you aren't too far away.
So there you have it. If you aren't pumped up for the 2015 NFL season (or at least the draft), I don't know what to tell you. Other than that things are looking really good for the Bucs. But you knew that already because I just told you.