From bad to worse as Tampa Bay implosion continues

Last week, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach said it was as dark as it’s going to be after the team’s loss to the Carolina Panthers. Quite what Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh thought, knowing his team was to meet the Bucs in a few days time, is unknown, but we could hardly blame him if the words “hold my beer” crossed his mind.

And so it was that on Thursday night, the Bucs got no closer to any light at the end of the tunnel. This was the first time Tom Brady had suffered the ignominy of three straight defeats in more than 20 years, and with last year’s Super Bowl winners up next, things are set to get worse before they get better.

More records for Brady

Tom Brady holds all the best quarterback records you can think of. Most starts, most wins, most touchdowns, most Super Bowl Appearances, the list goes on and on. And so it would have rested had he stuck with his decision to retire at the end of last year.

The problem is that now, Brady is starting to add more records that he would prefer to have dodged. On Thursday night, Justin Cooper broke through the offensive line and brought Brady down. It was the 555th time he had been sacked in his career, an NFL record. By the time the game ended, he had added another. 3-5 is his worst ever regular season start, and it is only thanks to the rest of the NFC South having a similarly torrid regular season that there is any hope of a way back.

Bookies back to pre-Brady odds

It all looked so different pre-season. Naturally, Brady’s unretirement was the talk of the NFL, and it drove bookmakers to cut Tampa’s odds of winning the Super Bowl from 25-1 to 7-1. That’s placing a lot of faith in a 45 year old, but it also reflects the rush of wagers that the sports books anticipated. During the regular season, fans mostly place individual bets on NFL games but as the NFL season is gearing up, there is more interest in the outrights such as who will make the playoffs or win the Super Bowl.

Right now, as Tampa stare down both barrels of their horrendous 3-5 start, their Super Bowl winning odds are up to 25-1 with some bookmakers, back where they were during Brady’s 40 days of retirement.

Anything is possible

Ordinarily, we would already be writing Tampa off. However, there are two sparks of hope. The first is that the rest of the AFC South is also embattled at present, so Tampa are still odds-on to not only make the playoffs but also to win the division.

The second is the Tom Brady factor. He’s the same Tom Brady who retired then returned in March and who precipitated that drastic shortening of the odds. While he stays fit, anything is possible, even if the darkness continues against the Rams.

Huynh Nguyen

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