American Football Database
American Football Database
1977 Tampa Bay Buccaneers season
Head Coach John McKay
Home Field Tampa Stadium
Record 2-12
Place 5th NFC Central
Playoff Finish did not qualify
Team MVP Lee Roy Selmon
Previous season Next season
1976 1978

The 1977 Tampa Bay Buccaneers season continued their season-long losing streak of 1976. They began play with a somewhat-improved lineup that included a running back (Anthony Davis) playing as a rookie for the third time, in his third different league, and a free-agent linebacker from Miami (Cecil Johnson) who chose the Buccaneers over three other teams so that he "wouldn't have a long, sad ride home" if he didn't make the squad.[1] Their first victory as a franchise came in week 13, 33–14 over the New Orleans Saints. A crowd of 8,000 celebrating fans surrounded team headquarters to greet them on their return from New Orleans.[2] The win ended a 26 game losing streak which, as of 2011, remains a record in the modern NFL. They scored only six touchdowns and were shut out six times during the season, which also remains an NFL record.

The year opened with shouts of "Why not Minot?" and sales of "RH Positive" t-shirts, as preseason injuries to both candidates for the starting quarterback job left rookie Randy Hedberg of Minot State as the surprise starter. The move resulted in the team adding a radio affiliate in faraway North Dakota.[3] Coach John McKay declared the team to be "stronger at every position, with the exception of the quarterback position" than the 1976 team.[4] Unfortunately, injuries, especially at quarterback and offensive line, prevented the offense from gaining any consistency; while the inexperienced line was able to provide neither adequate pass protection nor lanes for the running backs.[5] Opposing players praised the performance of the Tampa Bay defense, even while posting record numbers of sacks against the Tampa Bay offense.[6] Opposing teams played in fear of being the first to lose to the Buccaneers.[7]


Rumors that the Buccaneers were a disorganized and confused organization became more common. Returning veterans were promised that changes were forthcoming. Six coaches and administrators resigned or were fired at the beginning of the year, resulting in Head Coach John McKay taking control of more aspects of the organization.[8] Some of the rumors included criticisms of McKay's handling of the team, and accusations that ego conflicts caused him to cut veteran players, such as Ira Gordon, who could have helped the team.[9] McKay was also said to have come unraveled over the losing season, as evidenced by his complaints about his coaching assistants, game-day officiating, and opposing coaches who he accused of running up the score.[10] Criticism continued that McKay was attempting a style of play better-adapted to the college game, with Don Shula comparing preparing for the Buccaneers to preparing to play USC.[11] McKay's trademark humor had taken on a bitter tone, with comments such as "I keep a picture of O.J. Simpson by my side at all times to remind me of the days when I knew how to coach".[12]

Special teams coach Dennis Fryzel was replaced by USC offensive line coach Skip Husbands, who became the fifth USC assistant to join McKay in Tampa.[13] Head trainer Dave Kendall was replaced by Northwestern University trainer Tom Oxley.[14] The Buccaneers surprised many by waiving quarterback Steve Spurrier, and trading for Chicago Bears backup Gary Huff as his replacement.[15] A rumored attempt to make a deal for Cleveland Browns quarterback Mike Phipps was denied,[16] although a trade was later made for Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Mike Boryla.[17]

NFL Draft

Pick Round Player Position School
1 1 Ricky Bell Running Back USC
29 2 Dave Lewis Linebacker USC
57 3 Charley Hannah Defensive End Alabama
196 8 Randy Hedberg Quarterback Minot State
224 9 Byron Hemingway Linebacker Boston College
251 9 (from Oakland) Larry Mucker Wide Receiver Arizona State
252 10 Robert Morgan Running Back Florida
267 10 (from San Francisco) Aaron Ball Linebacker Cal State-Fullerton
280 11 Chuck Rodgers Defensive Back North Dakota State
308 12 Chip Sheffield Wide Receiver Lenoir-Rhyne
  • Charley Hannah played defensive end in college, but was converted to offensive guard in the pros.

Draft trades

The Buccaneers traded away all of their picks from rounds 4–7. The 4th-rounder went to the Cincinnati Bengals in 1976 for running back Charlie Davis. The 5th was traded to the Miami Dolphins for linebacker Ray Nettles. Their 7th had been traded to the New York Jets for linebacker Richard Wood. They had extra picks in the 6th and 9th rounds, from the Oakland Raiders in return for safety Cedric Brown, who was waived by the Raiders and wound up returning to the Buccaneers. Both of the Buccaneers' 6th-round picks were in turn traded to the Chicago Bears for quarterback Gary Huff. Finally, they received an additional 10th-round pick from the San Francisco 49ers in return for guard John Miller.[18][19]

Draft selections

In the 1977 NFL Draft, Ricky Bell became the first running back selected No. 1 overall since O.J. Simpson in 1969. The Buccaneers signed him to a contract the same day. The Buccaneers' second-round selection of Dave Lewis left them with 11 former USC Trojans, the most from any one school on any one team. Buccaneer staff were not amused with their nickname of "USC East". Even Lewis, when given the news that he was now a Buccaneer, said, "You mean a Trojan Buccaneer".[20] Lewis was not highly regarded by scouting services, but was rated by the Buccaneers as the best linebacker in the draft.[21] By season's end, McKay was calling Lewis "the steal of the draft", and saying that Lewis would be a top five pick if the draft were held over again.[22] Despite their offensive line troubles of the previous year, the Buccaneers avoided linemen with their later picks, as they didn't feel that there were any available worth drafting.[23]


The team entered preseason with expectations that Mike Boryla and Gary Huff would compete for the starting quarterback job, but both suffered knee injuries in the first two preseason games. Left with only two healthy quarterbacks, one a second-year pro (Parnell Dickinson) coming off an injury and the other a rookie (Randy Hedberg), the team eventually claimed Jeb Blount off waivers from the Oakland Raiders.[24] Hedberg would win the starting job based on his strong performance in the final two preseason games, while Dickinson's trouble reading defenses and tendency to throw late, easily-intercepted passes over the middle would result in his being cut.[25][26] In keeping with McKay's preference to lose with youth, rather than keep veterans who didn't fit into the team's future plans, the team traded veteran offensive tackle Mike Current to the Miami Dolphins for troubled former first-round draft pick Darryl Carlton.[27] McKay called Carlton "amazing", saying that "he just doesn't make mental mistakes".[4] Concerned with their experience at linebacker, the Buccaneers were able to arrange a trade to bring Jack 'Hacksaw' Reynolds from the Los Angeles Rams. Reynolds, at the time a training camp holdout with the Rams, questioned the validity of his contract and refused to report to Tampa Bay, which his agent referred to as "Outer Mongolia". The Buccaneers eventually negated the trade, and obtained Rik Bonness from the Raiders.[28] Bonness, a second-year pro who had played center at Nebraska, added depth but not experience.[29] The team purchased Bill Kollar, the Cincinnati Bengals' 1974 first-round draft choice, who was let go by the Bengals due to injury concerns.[4] Dan Medlin and Jeff Winans, a pair of guards obtained from the Raiders via trade, were touted as the first Buccaneer guards with the speed to lead running plays.[30] Jeris White was obtained from the Dolphins to strengthen the frequently-picked-on left cornerback position.[31]

Regular season

The Buccaneers joined the NFL as members of the AFC West in 1976. The following year, they were moved to the NFC Central, while the other 1976 expansion team, the Seattle Seahawks, switched conferences with Tampa Bay and joined the AFC West. This realignment was dictated by the league as part of the 1976 expansion plan, so that both teams could play each other twice and every other NFL franchise once during their first two seasons.

1977 saw the Buccaneers defense beginning to gel, allowing only one 100-yard rusher (Walter Payton) in the 14 games.[32] Unfortunately, the offense was hit by a wave of injuries, and the resulting personnel shuffling prevented the offense from achieving any consistency. The lack of offensive production was such that they were shut out an NFL-record six times over the season. They scored only 53 points in their first twelve games, 23 of which were scored against fellow expansion team Seattle. Quarterbacks Mike Boryla and Gary Huff having been injured in preseason, the team opened the season with Randy Hedberg, who had gone into training camp as the fourth-string quarterback.[1][33] The tight end position was struck similarly, with Bob Moore's season-ending knee injury leaving injured rookie Dana Nafziger as the team's only player capable of taking the field at that position.[34][35] "We couldn't score against a strong wind", McKay said after one loss. After yet another shutout dropped the team to 0–26, McKay exclaimed, "I may quarterback the team myself."[36] Top draft pick Ricky Bell's play was described as sluggish, even when healthy. He also displayed a tendency to fumble on crucial drives.[37] Opponents, fearful of the humiliation of being the first team to lose to Tampa Bay, played the Buccaneers extra hard. Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach said, "...we didn't want to be the first. Psychologically, it could have wrecked our year".[38] Said New York Giants coach John McVay following a victory, "In 25 years of coaching I've never had as much pressure on me as I did this week". T-shirts depicting a sinking pirate ship with the inscription "Go for 0" became popular in the Tampa area. The season's first victory, and the franchise's first overall, did not come until week 13 on the road against the New Orleans Saints. Said Saints head coach Hank Stram following the loss, "What a nightmare. It was the worst experience of my coaching career. We're all ashamed for our people, for our fans, for our organization". He was fired the next week. The Buccaneers followed this the next week with their first home victory, 17–7 over the St. Louis Cardinals. Cardinals coach Don Coryell was also fired following the loss. The two-game winning streak ended the Buccaneers' losing streak at 0–26.[39][40] Howard Cosell honored the Buccaneers' first victory by choosing it as the lead game for the halftime highlights of ABC TV's Monday Night Football broadcast, and interviewed McKay by telephone during the game. Bill Cosby, filling in for Johnny Carson, who had long ridiculed the winless Buccaneers as host of The Tonight Show, devoted a five-minute routine to the win.[41] No Buccaneers were selected to the Pro Bowl following the season, although it was believed that Lee Roy Selmon, Dave Lewis, and Dave Pear would all have been selected had they played on a playoff contender.[42]


Regular season
Week Date Opponent Result Kickoff[a] Game site TV Record
1 September 18, 1977 at Philadelphia Eagles L 13–3 1:00 Veterans Stadium CBS 0–1
2 September 24, 1977 Minnesota Vikings L 9–3 8:00 Tampa Stadium CBS 0–2
3 October 2, 1977 at Dallas Cowboys L 23–7 1:00 Texas Stadium CBS 0–3
4 October 9, 1977 Washington Redskins L 10–0 4:00 Tampa Stadium CBS 0–4
5 October 16, 1977 at Seattle Seahawks L 30–23 4:00 Kingdome CBS 0–5
6 October 23, 1977 Green Bay Packers L 13–0 1:00 Tampa Stadium CBS 0–6
7 October 30, 1977 at San Francisco 49ers L 20–10 4:00 Candlestick Park CBS 0–7
8 November 6, 1977 at Los Angeles Rams L 31–0 4:00 Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum CBS 0–8
9 November 13, 1977 New York Giants L 10–0 1:00 Tampa Stadium CBS 0–9
10 November 20, 1977 at Detroit Lions L 16–7 2:00 Pontiac Silverdome CBS 0–10
11 November 27, 1977 Atlanta Falcons L 17–0 1:00 Tampa Stadium CBS 0–11
12 December 4, 1977 Chicago Bears L 10–0 1:00 Tampa Stadium CBS 0–12
13 December 11, 1977 at New Orleans Saints W 33–14 2:00 Louisiana Superdome CBS 1–12
14 December 18, 1977 St. Louis Cardinals W 17–7 1:00 Tampa Stadium CBS 2–12


a All times in North American Eastern Time. (UTC–4 and UTC–5 during Standard Time)


NFC Central
Minnesota Vikings 9 5 0 .643 231 227 W-1
Chicago Bears 9 5 0 .643 255 253 W-6
Detroit Lions 6 8 0 .429 183 252 L-1
Green Bay Packers 4 10 0 .286 134 219 W-1
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2 12 0 .143 103 223 W-2

1977 Roster

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1977 roster

Running Backs

Wide Receivers

Tight Ends

Offensive Linemen

Defensive Linemen


Defensive Backs

Special Teams

Reserve Lists

Rookies in italics
* = starters



Coaching staff

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1977 coaching staff
Front Office

Head Coaches

Offensive Coaches

  • Quarterbacks and Receivers – Bill Nelsen
  • Running Backs – Willie Brown
  • Offensive Line – Jerry Frei
  • Offensive Line – Skip Husbands

Defensive Coaches


Game summaries

Week 1: at Philadelphia Eagles

1 2 3 4 OT
Buccaneers 0 0 3 0 3
Eagles 0 7 6 0 13

September 18, 1977 at Veterans Stadium, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia Eagles tight end Keith Krepfle, playing in a cast with pins in his hand, caught a 17-yard touchdown pass from Ron Jaworski and a 28-yard pass to set up another. Ricky Bell carried the ball 15 times for 53 yards for the Buccaneers, but killed a scoring drive by fumbling on the Eagles' 9-yard line. With Randy Hedberg unable to pick up the Eagles' blitzes, the Buccaneers were ineffective on offense, having only a field goal to show for four possessions inside the Eagles' 43-yard line.[48][49]

Week 2: vs Minnesota Vikings

1 2 3 4 OT
Vikings 0 2 7 0 9
Buccaneers 0 3 0 0 3

September 24, 1977 at Tampa Stadium, Tampa, Florida

A 31-yard touchdown pass from Fran Tarkenton to Chuck Foreman allowed the Minnesota Vikings to come from behind for the win. The Vikings took a second-quarter lead on Carl Eller's end-zone sack of Randy Hedberg. The Buccaneers answered with an 18-yard Allan Leavitt field goal. Hedberg completed 4 of 14 passes for 51 yards, and was replaced by Gary Huff late in the game.[50] Newly-acquired ex-Steelers linebacker Paul Harris played well in relief of Dave Lewis, who injured his knee early in the game.[51] Tarkenton completed 25 of 38 passes for 223 yards, but most of his completions were dump-offs to his running backs. He was also intercepted by Dewey Selmon. John McKay, who thought the Buccaneers should have been given more credit for nearly upsetting a perennial Super Bowl contender, chafed over Viking comments that the Buccaneer offense was predictable and conservative.[52] The Vikings refused to give any credit to the Buccaneer defense, instead blaming their poor offensive performance on the wet field.[53] The crowd of 66,272 was the second-largest crowd yet in Tampa Stadium. Ricky Bell's 21 carries were the most yet by a Buccaneer running back, and the Vikings' 9 points were the least yet allowed by the Buccaneers.[54]

Week 3: at Dallas Cowboys

1 2 3 4 OT
Buccaneers 0 7 0 0 7
Cowboys 17 3 3 0 23

October 2, 1977 at Texas Stadium, Irving, Texas

Gary Huff returned from injury to make his first start against the Dallas Cowboys. Anthony Davis, who had been bothered by nagging injuries, was also inserted into the lineup. This allowed the Buccaneers to move Ricky Bell to fullback, as originally intended.[55] While the Buccaneers were not displeased with Randy Hedberg's performance at quarterback over the first two games, they welcomed Huff's experience and ability to read defenses.[56] The Buccaneers' offense was again held scoreless, with the Buccaneers' first touchdown of the year coming on Richard Wood's 37-yard return of a Tony Dorsett fumble. Wood followed the play by spiking the ball over the goalposts, in apparent imitation of Cowboy Thomas "Hollywood" Henderson's similar move following a first-quarter interception, his first of two.[57] Wood also had a 29-yard interception return. Several Cowboys complained of excessive trash-talking from the Buccaneers, with Cecil Johnson, Dorsett's college roommate, singled out particularly.[58] Johnson, who claimed close friendship with Dorsett, nevertheless ripped Dorsett's helmet off and punched him in the nose on consecutive plays.[59] Numerous injuries were sustained: starting tight end Bob Moore suffered a season-ending knee injury, and Dana Nafziger, the only remaining tight end, suffered a knee and a wrist injury. Ricky Bell and Jimmy DuBose both went out early. Gary Huff played the game in a knee brace, while starters Jeff Winans, Dave Lewis, and Jack Novak did not play.[60]

Week 4: vs Washington Redskins

1 2 3 4 OT
Redskins 10 0 0 0 10
Buccaneers 0 0 0 0 0

October 9, 1977 at Tampa Stadium, Tampa, Florida

Ricky Bell sat out the game with a shoulder injury, and Darryl Carlton left the game early.[61] Tampa Bay quarterbacks were sacked 10 times (still a team record as of 2009), and threw three interceptions.[62][63] Eddie Brown's 11 punt returns set an NFL single-game record, also still standing.[64] John McKay reacted angrily to Washington tackle Bill Brundige's postgame comments that McKay's USC offense wouldn't work in the NFL. He called Brundige an "idiot" and a "dumb tackle", and pointed out that the Redskins scored their first touchdown from the same formation. He went on to tell reporters, "none of you know anything about football", chiding them for asking why the Buccaneers were having trouble moving the ball, despite their knowledge that several starters were out with injuries.[65] The 18th consecutive loss tied the Buccaneers with the 1972-1973 Houston Oilers for the third longest NFL losing streak.[66] Washington players afterward praised the Buccaneer defense as among the best in the league.[67]

Week 5: at Seattle Seahawks

1 2 3 4 OT
Buccaneers 6 7 3 7 23
Seahawks 7 10 0 13 30

October 16, 1977 at the Kingdome, Seattle, Washington

Before the game, McKay expressed concern about his team's pass defense, words which proved prophetic as Seattle Seahawks backup quarterback Steve Myer passed for four touchdowns. Filling in for an injured Jim Zorn, Myer threw two touchdowns to Steve Largent, one to Duke Fergerson, and one to Sherman Smith. They still needed two late interceptions to put the game away, as the Buccaneers' offense achieved their highest point total to date. Gary Huff completed 18 of 32 pass attempts for 217 yards, but was intercepted four times. His audible to beat a Seattle blitz resulted in a 67-yard touchdown pass to Morris Owens,[68] and Anthony Davis had a 1-yard touchdown run. Owens' 166 yards stood for four years as the Buccaneers' single-game record.[63] Allan Leavitt contributed three field goals.[69] McKay blamed the letdown to his defense's tendency to stop playing pass coverage when the quarterback would roll out, and said they tackled "like a bunch of guys from a junior high school team".[70]

Week 6: vs Green Bay Packers

1 2 3 4 OT
Packers 0 6 7 0 13
Buccaneers 0 0 0 0 0

October 23, 1977 at Tampa Stadium, Tampa, Florida

The Green Bay Packers recovered reserve linebacker Jim Gueno's block of a Dave Green punt at the Buccaneers' 24-yard line, setting up the only touchdown of the day and a Packers victory.[71] It was the first time since November 24, 1974, that the Packers had held a team to a shutout. The Buccaneers saw drives end due to penalties and turnovers, with one scoring opportunity lost when Ricky Bell fumbled at the Packers' 2-yard line. Chester Marcol kicked two field goals, and Eric Torkelson rushed 22 times for 73 yards and the game's only touchdown.[72] Gary Huff completed 12 of 22 passes before being pulled in the fourth quarter. Fans cheered after a sack left Huff lying on the turf with a cracked rib.[73] Offensive line play continued to be criticized, as both Buccaneer quarterbacks suffered injuries. Huff's replacement, Randy Hedberg, played the final series with a concussion, and had to be led off of the field to be hospitalized after the game. Both injuries were due to hits by Mike Butler.[74][75] Packers quarterback Lynn Dickey was sacked three times, and knocked out of the game. The Packers and Buccaneers entered the game with the league's 26th- and 28th-ranked offenses, respectively.[76]

Week 7: at San Francisco 49ers

1 2 3 4 OT
Buccaneers 0 0 3 7 10
49ers 7 7 6 0 20

October 30, 1977 at Candlestick Park, San Francisco, California

Wilbur Jackson and Delvin Williams each ran for a touchdown, and Ray Wersching kicked a pair of field goals to give the San Francisco 49ers a lead that the Buccaneers would not overcome.[77] The Buccaneers rallied in the fourth quarter. Starting quarterback Jeb Blount led a drive that ended with a 5-yard Louis Carter touchdown run, followed by an onside kick which the Buccaneers recovered. Dave Green's pass on a fake punt resulted in a 45-yard reception by Danny Reece, but the offense stalled at the 1-yard line.[78]

Week 8: at Los Angeles Rams

1 2 3 4 OT
Buccaneers 0 0 0 0 0
Rams 3 14 7 7 31

November 6, 1977 at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, California

Rams quarterback Pat Haden was 10 of 21 for 123 yards passing, and two touchdowns. Jeb Blount was 8 of 21 for 83 yards for the Buccaneers, with two interceptions. On one play the Rams jumped offside, but the penalty was called against the Buccaneers. The officials corrected their mistake, but angered McKay by laughing about it.[79] The Rams lost Dennis Harrah for the season with a knee injury, and suffered injuries to Dave Elmendorf and Kevin McLain.[80]

Week 9: vs New York Giants

1 2 3 4 OT
Giants 7 3 0 0 10
Buccaneers 0 0 0 0 0

November 13, 1977 at Tampa Stadium, Tampa, Florida

Despite nine possessions inside the New York Giants' 35-yard line and six inside the 12, the Buccaneers were held scoreless for the fourth time of the season. It was the Giants' first shutout since 1970. Dan Ryczek's high snap to punter Dave Green resulted in the Giants taking possession at the Buccaneers' 1-yard line, leading to a Bob Hammond run for the Giants' only touchdown. The Buccaneers were stopped twice when choosing to run on fourth down instead of attempting field goals.[81] Isaac Hagins narrowly missed returning the kickoff for a touchdown following the Giants' touchdown, but was tackled by the kicker. Danny Reece also was tackled by the last Giant during a punt return that nearly went for a touchdown. Starting quarterback Jeb Blount passed for 234 yards, and threw a touchdown pass to Louis Carter that was called back.[82]

Week 10: at Detroit Lions

1 2 3 4 OT
Buccaneers 0 7 0 0 7
Lions 0 0 3 13 16

November 20, 1977 at the Pontiac Silverdome, Pontiac, Michigan

Detroit Lions quarterback Joe Reed prevented two Buccaneer touchdowns by tackling Dave Pear on a fumble return and Mike Washington on an interception return. Dan Ryczek's high snap ruined what was potentially a game-winning field goal attempt.[83] Detroit fans booed the home team throughout the first half, and cheered when Ricky Bell scored on a 4-yard touchdown run following Washington's interception. This was the first time all year that the Buccaneers were the team to score first in a game. Fan support turned when Gary Danielson replaced Reed in the second half. After Dick Jauron intercepted a Jeb Blount pass, Danielson led a 55-yard drive that ended in a 1-yard touchdown run by Rick Kane. A potential touchdown pass bounced off of Isaac Hagins' helmet at the Detroit 10-yard line, and another was fumbled by Hagins and recovered in the end zone by James Hunter. Reggie Pinkney's late touchdown return of a Randy Hedberg interception sealed the victory for the Lions.[84]

Week 11: vs Atlanta Falcons

1 2 3 4 OT
Falcons 10 0 7 0 17
Buccaneers 0 0 0 0 0

November 27, 1977 at Tampa Stadium, Tampa, Florida

The Atlanta Falcons allowed a franchise-low 78 yards of offense while holding the Buccaneers to their fifth shutout of the season. Coach McKay called the Buccaneers' play "our worst effort in two years". Gary Huff started at quarterback, throwing three interceptions in his second return from injury of the season. This marked the Buccaneers' 12th change in starting quarterbacks in less than two seasons.[85] Neither the 62 yards rushing or 16 yards passing were team lows, but the combined effort was the Buccaneers' worst to date. The injured Ricky Bell was held to 11 yards on 6 carries.[86][87] Fans threw soft drinks at McKay and son Richie, while Bell and Anthony Davis had to be restrained from going into the stands after a heckler.[88] The Falcons intercepted the Buccaneers four times and recovered one fumble, and continued to pursue the league record for least points allowed in a season. They finished the game having held opponents to only 83 points, keeping them on pace to break the 1969 Minnesota Vikings record of 133.[89]

Week 12: vs Chicago Bears

1 2 3 4 OT
Bears 0 0 0 10 10
Buccaneers 0 0 0 0 0

December 4, 1977 at Tampa Stadium, Tampa, Florida

Chicago Bears running back Walter Payton entered the game with hopes of surpassing O. J. Simpson's 2,003-yard season, but was held to 101 yards on 33 carries. Ricky Bell set new franchise rushing records with 94 yards on 24 carries.[90] Payton scored the game's only touchdown, a three-yard run that was set up by a 32-yard pass to Steve Schubert from punter Bob Parsons. Lee Roy Selmon sacked quarterback Bob Avellini twice, blocked one of his passes, and hurried him several times. The Buccaneers' only serious offensive threat ended with a missed field goal in the first quarter.[91]

Week 13: at New Orleans Saints

1 2 3 4 OT
Buccaneers 3 10 7 13 33
Saints 0 0 0 14 14

December 11, 1977 at Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana

The New Orleans Saints did not get a first down until midway through the second quarter, and did not get past midfield until nearly the end of the half. The Buccaneers began their first five drives in Saints territory, scoring on two Dave Green field goals, and a five-yard pass from Gary Huff to Morris Owens that capped off a 71-yard drive. Mike Washington made it 20–0 early in the second half, returning an interception 45 yards for a touchdown.[92] The Buccaneers also recovered a fumble, and had six interceptions in all.[93] Richard Wood and Greg Johnson also returned interceptions for touchdowns. Before the game, John McKay had read the team an article in which Saints quarterback Archie Manning stated that it would be disgraceful to lose to Tampa Bay. Inspired by the statements, the Buccaneer defense yelled, "It's disgraceful! It's disgraceful!" at him as the clock wound down.[94]

Week 14: vs St. Louis Cardinals

1 2 3 4 OT
Cardinals 0 7 0 0 7
Buccaneers 7 7 3 0 17

December 18, 1977 at Tampa Stadium, Tampa, Florida

The Buccaneers defeated the St. Louis Cardinals, only recently eliminated from playoff contention, for their first home victory. Gary Huff completed 7 of 12 passes, including 61- and 62-yarders to Morris Owens, the first of which went for a touchdown. The improved offensive line allowed no sacks.[95] Huff's average of 14.3 yards per pass attempt is the third-best in Buccaneer history, and stood as the record until broken by Vinny Testaverde in 1992.[63] Said Coach McKay following the victory: "I'm going to go home, take a shower, and tell myself what a great coach I am".[96] Fans tore down the goalposts after the game, and a vendor outside the stadium began stamping the word "Don't" at the top of the "Throw McKay in Tampa Bay" t-shirts he had been selling.[97]

Awards and honors



  • The defense's 3,926 yards allowed is the lowest in team history.
  • 223 points allowed is the second-lowest in team history, although it is the third-lowest point average because of the 14-game schedule.
  • 106 passing first downs allowed is a team record.
  • Lee Roy Selmon's 13 sacks is fifth-best in Buccaneer history, and stood as first-place until broken by Warren Sapp (16.5) and tied by Marcus Jones, both in 2000.
  • Richard Wood's 2 defensive touchdowns stood as a record until broken by Cedric Brown in 1981.[63]


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  3. Martz, Ron. "Bucs' Hedberg becomes sudden hero". St. Petersburg Times. 13 Sep 1977
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Zier, Patrick. "Bucs Enter Season 'Stronger Than Last Season'". The Lakeland Ledger. 10 Sep 1977
  5. United Press International. "Injuries shoot down once-optimistic Bucs". 1 Sep 1977
  6. Mizell, Hubert. "Bucs' offense: still going backward". St. Petersburg Times. 13 Oct 1977
  7. Mizell, Hubert. "Bucs edging point spread - little else." St. Petersburg Times. 3 Oct 1977
  8. Martz, Ron. "Is axe falling in right places?" St. Petersburg Times. 31 Jan 1977
  9. Zier, Patrick. "Bay Bucs' Problems Revolve Around McKay?" The Lakeland Ledger. 10 Jan 1977
  10. Hairston, Jack. "Bucs' Marcum, Mosher Didn't Have Chance". Ocala Star-Banner. 3 Feb 1977
  11. "Like Him, Hate Him, He Remains McKay". The Lakeland Ledger. 10 Sep 1977
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  13. Martz, Ron. "Bucs hire assistant coach". St. Petersburg Times. 22 Jan 1977
  14. "Bucs hire new head trainer". St. Petersburg Times. 19 Jan 1977
  15. Martz, Ron. "Spurrier waived; Bucs pick up Huff". St. Petersburg Times. 14 Apr 1977
  16. "Bucs Giving Up Draft Pick for Browns' Phipps Denied". St. Petersburg Evening Independent. 25 Mar 1977
  17. Martz, Ron. "Bucs sign Boryla, eye linebacker". St. Petersburg Times. 13 Jul 1977
  18. [1] 1977 Buccaneer draft at Accessed 25 Mar 2009
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  21. Martz, Ron. "As expected, Bucs tap Bell". St. Petersburg Times. 4 May 1977
  22. Martz, Ron. "Second-round choice Lewis proved he was some steal". St. Petersburg Times. 10 Dec 1977
  23. Martz, Ron. "Bucs snub offensive linemen, kickers in draft". St. Petersburg Times. 5 May 1977
  24. Martz, Ron. "Bay Bucs sign ex-Raider quarterback Blount". St. Petersburg Times. 7 Sep 1977
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  30. Martz, Ron. "Offensively, Bay Bucs putting up a solid front". St. Petersburg Times. 17 Sep 1977
  31. Martz, Ron. "Bucs get cornerback White, lineman Winans". St. Petersburg Times. 6 Sep 1977
  32. [2] 1977 season on Accessed 25 Mar 2009
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  36. Rand, Jonathan. 300 Pounds of Attitude. Global Pequot, 2006. p.47
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  39. [3] 1977 season at Accessed 25 Mar 1977
  40. Litsky, Frank. "John McKay, U.S.C. and Buccaneers Coach, Dies at 77". The New York Times. 11 Jun 2001
  41. Holliman, Ray. "Area media devote day to The Win". St. Petersburg Times. 13 Dec 1977
  42. Hansen, Greg. "Don't Laugh About Bucs In Pro Bowl". St. Petersburg Evening Independent. 12 Nov 1977
  43. [4] 1977 roster at Accessed 25 Mar 2009
  44. [5] All-time roster at Accessed 25 Mar 2009
  45. [6] 1977 Buccaneer draft at Accessed 25 Mar 2009
  46. Zier, Patrick. "Quarterback Injuries Decimating Bucs". The Lakeland Ledger. 27 Oct 1977
  47. [7] All-Time Coaches Roster at Accessed 12 Aug 2009
  48. Hansen, Greg. "Still In The Slow Lane Of Traffic". St. Petersburg Evening Independent. 19 Sep 1977
  49. Chick, Bob. "The Philadelphia Story". St. Petersburg Evening Independent. 19 Sep 1977
  50. Associated Press. "Vikings Slip By Bucs". Ocala Star-Banner. 25 Sep 1977
  51. Hansen, Greg. "Bucs: A Steal From Steelers". St. Petersburg Evening Independent. 26 Sep 1977.
  52. Hansen, Greg. "No Funny Stuff". St. Petersburg Evening Independent. 26 Sep 1977
  53. Chick, Bob. "Minnesota Offers Up An Excuse". St. Petersburg Evening Independent. 26 Sep 1977
  54. Football Playbook. "Bucs' crowd second largest". St. Petersburg Times. 27 Sep 1977
  55. Zier, Patrick. "Bucs Have Some Changes In Mind For Dallas Cowboys". The Lakeland Ledger. 26 Sep 1977
  56. Zier, Patrick. "Huff Will Get Start In Dallas". The Lakeland Ledger. 26 Sep 1977
  57. Chick, Bob. "Copyright to Stop Those Copy Cats". St. Petersburg Evening Independent. 3 Oct 1977
  58. Chick, Bob. "Bucs Offer Lip Service". St. Petersburg Evening Independent. 3 Oct 1977
  59. Hansen, Greg. "Their Friendship Was (Ouch!) Mutual". St. Petersburg Evening Independent. 3 Oct 1977
  60. Hansen, Greg. "The Day of the Dwarfs". St. Petersburg Evening Independent. 3 Oct 1977
  61. Associated Press. "Bucs, 'Hawks: Battle of Winless". Spokane Spokesman-Review. 16 Oct 1977
  62. Mizell, Hubert. "Bucs' offense: still going backward". St. Petersburg Times. 13 Oct 1977
  63. 63.0 63.1 63.2 63.3 The Tampa Bay Buccaneers Public Relations Department. 2009 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Media Guide
  64. Chick, Bob. "A Record To Kick About". St. Petersburg Evening Independent. 10 Oct 1977
  65. Wire services. "McKay critics 'idiots'". Eugene Register-Guard. 12 Oct 1977
  66. Martz, Ron. "McKay takes great offense at 'idiot's' question". St. Petersburg Times. 13 Oct 1977
  67. Chick, Bob. "Tampa Bay Offense Offensive". St. Petersburg Evening Independent. 10 Oct 1977
  68. Martz, Ron. "Huff 'never had a day like this'". St. Petersburg Times. 17 Oct 1977
  69. UPI. "'Expansion Bowl Two' Honors Go To Seahawks Over Tampa". Ellensburg Daily Record. 17 Oct 1977
  70. Times staff. "Locker Room Q & A". St. Petersburg Times. 17 Oct 1977
  71. Glover, Mark. "Starr Happy Pack Proved the Better". The Lakeland Ledger. 23 Oct 1977
  72. Hoffman, Dale. "Tampa Sun Shines on Packers". The Milwaukee Sentinel. 24 Oct 1977
  73. UPI. "Tampa football fans are losing patience". The Boca Raton News. 30 Oct 1977
  74. AP. "Pack 'Crushes' Tampa Bay". Toledo Blade. 24 Oct 1977
  75. Zier, Patrick. "Something Is Seriously Wrong". The Lakeland Ledger. 23 Oct 1977
  76. Lea, Bud. "A Doormat Cleans Up in Tampa". The Milwaukee Sentinel. 24 Oct 1977
  77. UPI. "49ers 20, Buccaneers 10". The Bryan Times. 31 Oct 1977
  78. "Bucs Are Big Help to 49ers". The Lakeland Ledger. 31 Oct 1977
  79. Anderson, Dave. "McKay: Don't Laugh At The Buccaneers". The Ocala Star-Banner. 10 Nov 1977
  80. Wire Services. "A crippling win for Rams". Eugene Register-Guard. 7 Nov 1977
  81. Martz, Ron. "Bucs miss the point as Giants win 10-0. St. Petersburg Times. 14 Nov 1977
  82. Mizell, Hubert. "No offense, Bucs, but this is riduculous". St. Petersburg Times. 14 Nov 1977
  83. Hansen, Greg. "The Answer Man: It's In the Snap". St. Petersburg Evening Independent. 24 Nov 1977
  84. Associated Press. "Fans Boo Lions; Cheer Bucs; Detroit Scores Unimpressive Win". Ludington Daily News. 21 Nov 1977
  85. Martz, Ron. "Huff latest QB starter". St. Petersburg Times. 23 Nov 1977
  86. Times staff. "Football playbook". St. Petersburg Times. 29 Nov 1977
  87. Martz, Ron. "Frustrated Bell can no longer hide emotions". St. Petersburg Times. 29 Nov 1977
  88. Times staff. "Locker Room Q & A". St. Petersburg Times. 28 Nov 1977
  89. Martz, Ron. "Bucs reach new lows in 17-0 loss". St. Petersburg Times. 28 Nov 1977
  90. Mizell, Hubert. "Buccaneer defense proves Payton is no superman". St. Petersburg Times. 4 Dec 1977
  91. Martz, Ron. "Sluggish Bears overcome Bucs 10-0". St. Petersburg Times. 5 Dec 1977
  92. Mizell, Hubert. "Buccaneers win one!" St. Petersburg Times. 12 Dec 1977
  93. Zier, Patrick. "Bucs Finally Get ONE Win". The Lakeland Ledger. 11 Dec 1977
  94. Rosenthal, Bert. "Bucs break into win column". The Prescott Courier. 12 Dec 1977
  95. Tierney, Mike. "Huff: boos are only a memory". St. Petersburg Times. 19 Dec 1977
  96. Times staff. "Locker Room Q & A". St. Petersburg Times. 19 Dec 1977
  97. Mizell, Hubert. "At last! A Tampa Stadium victory celebration". St. Petersburg Times. 19 Dec 1977
  98. Gurney, Jack. "Pear, Lee Roy 4th, 5th in NFC Voting". The Sarasota Herald-Tribune. 17 Dec 1977
  99. [8]. All-Pro rosters at Accessed 8-25-09. Archived 2009-09-03.
AFC East Central West East Central West NFC
Baltimore Cincinnati Denver Dallas Chicago Atlanta
Buffalo Cleveland Kansas City NY Giants Detroit Los Angeles
Miami Houston Oakland Philadelphia Green Bay New Orleans
New England Pittsburgh San Diego St. Louis Minnesota San Francisco
NY Jets Seattle Washington Tampa Bay
1977 NFL DraftNFL PlayoffsPro BowlSuper Bowl XII