Beat Bucs in Tampa? Belichick gets his shot this fall
The date hasn't been determined yet, but the Bucs will play host to the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots in the 2017 season, which brings up a curious piece of trivia: Tampa is the only NFL city where Bill Belichick has never won a regular-season game as a head coach or an assistant.
Belichick has won in Tampa -- he was the Giants' defensive coordinator in Jan. 1991 when New York beat the Bills at Tampa Stadium for his second Super Bowl win with the Giants, and also his last game before becoming an NFL head coach in Cleveland. But in an NFL career that predates the Bucs by a year, going back to 1975, he's never beaten the Bucs in Tampa.
The only other current NFL city where he hasn't won as a head coach is New Orleans -- he lost there in 2009, but won in New Orleans as a Giants assistant in 1988. The Patriots also go to New Orleans this fall, so he'll have a chance to change that.
Of the other 15 AFC teams, he has road wins against eight in the last two seasons, and has beaten 13 of the 15 on the road since 2011. You have to go back to 2007 for a win at Cincinnati and 2004 for a win at Kansas City, but he's won in every AFC city since then.
Even playing only two NFC road games a year for the last 17 seasons, he can check off wins in all but two NFC cities as Patriots head coach -- the only ones that go back longer than 2010 are the Seahawks (2008), Packers (2006), Rams (2004) and Panthers (2001) and the Saints and Bucs (never).
How do the Bucs pull that off? The Patriots beat Tampa Bay in Foxborough in 2013 and 2005 (the Bucs beat Belichick in his first year with the Patriots in 2000) and the only meeting where the Bucs were the home team was in 2009 ... in London. The Patriots won 35-7, but it made Belichick skip a trip to Tampa. He didn't play the Bucs in Tampa as Browns head coach or as an assistant from 1996-99, and he managed to go 0-3 in Tampa as a Giants assistant, losing in 1979, 1980 and 1984. He had the luck to face the 1977 Bucs as a young Lions assistant and won, but the game was in Detroit.
He's won regular-season games everywhere else -- even in Los Angeles, where he beat the Raiders and Rams wiith Cleveland in 1993. He'll get a chance to check Tampa off that list at some point this upcoming season.