It's been a rough few months — okay, years — for Tampa Bay Bucs fans. Lost games. Lost seasons. Fired coaches.
Even the good (signing the No. 1 draft pick, Heisman-winning quarterback Jameis Winston) has happened in the shadow of bad (while he was the focus of a protracted sexual assault investigation).
On Monday, we learned that Winston is going to the Pro Bowl. Great! Only after Patriots superstar Tom Brady withdrew. Sigh.
But that was yesterday.
Today is Jan. 26.
Thirteen years ago, Jan. 26 fell on a Sunday.
Super Bowl Sunday.
Bucs-Raiders. San Diego.
Four quarters of glorious, dominating football long believed to be an impossible dream of Tampa Bay's beleaguered "Yucs" and their whimpering fans.
On Jan. 26, 2003, the Bucs became world champions. The defense cemented its place as one of the best in history. Coach Jon Gruden proved he was worth every penny of the handsome bounty the team owners paid to get him.
In living rooms and on bar stools across the bay area, delirious fans pinched themselves and hugged each other and spilled their beers, bellowing "Bucs win! Bucs win! Bucs win!"
Final score, 48-21.