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2019: A Bucs Odyssey. Imagining how this season will go.

Martin Fennelly: Bruce Arians’ first season promises to be out of this world.
Tim McGraw is coming back to Raymond James Stadium to perform before the Bucs' Sept. 8 opener against San Francisco. [ANDY JONES  |  Tampa Bay Times]
Tim McGraw is coming back to Raymond James Stadium to perform before the Bucs' Sept. 8 opener against San Francisco. [ANDY JONES | Tampa Bay Times]
Published Aug. 30, 2019
Updated Sep. 2, 2019

Well, finally. The Bucs locked up general manager Jason Licht on a double-secret five-year extension. Thank goodness. We hadn’t been able to keep food down.

The 2019 season is here, a new beginning under coach Bruce Arians, a seemingly make-or-break campaign for a failing franchise and its ever suspect quarterback: Jameis Winston.

Expectations are low unless you are a travel agent. At one point early this season, the Bucs, trying to avoid 12 consecutive losing seasons, will go a month and half between home games, traveling roughly 23,000 miles, across the ocean even for a game in London, you know, before the Rays get ideas start snooping around there.

Who knows?

Arians and his club might just keep going.

MORE BUCS: Is Jameis Winston the Rorschach Test of quarterbacks?

2019: A Bucs Odyssey.

Sept. 8: Bucs open season with win over 49ers. Winston throws two touchdowns, two interceptions. Team carries head coach Bruce Arians from field after victory. Donovan Smith injures shoulder lugging Arians’ golf cart. Other news: country singing legend Tim McGraw performs before opener, kills it.

Sept. 12: Bucs fall to 1-1 at Carolina. Former Buc Gerald McCoy records two sacks, 14 postgame quotes, wears kimono in locker room. Bucs rookie kicker Matt Gay makes 55-yard field goal, shirtless fan runs on field waving arms. Police escort Licht back to press box.

Sept. 22: Bucs improve to 2-1 with 32-28 win over Giants. Glazers talk country singing legend Tim McGraw into singing again before game, but he refuses to wear pirate outfit. Arians sends out 10 receivers on one play, Winston gets creamed, still says he is blessed.

Sept. 29: Bucs begin long weeks’ journey into night, fall to 2-2 with resounding loss at Rams. Former USC Trojan Ronald Jones breaks off 32-yard run, retires while he is ahead. Rising to occasion, Ndamukong Suh tries for quarter and a half against old team. Other news: Lightning break camp for regular season, no one cares.

Oct. 13: Bucs travel to United Kingdom, lose to Panthers, drop to 2-4. Winston throws two picks, three when converted to metric. Queen Elizabeth switches TV over to golf in third quarter. Other news: Country singing legend Tim McGraw snubs Bucs, sings Danish national anthem at Save Greenland benefit.

Oct. 27: After bye week, Bucs hit road again, lose to Titans in Nashville. Winston outplays Marcus Mariota, doesn’t matter. Glazers say, “Hey, Tim McGraw lives here!” knock on McGraw’s door. No answer. Arians reads bedtime stories to homesick Bucs at team hotel. Losing streak hits three.

Nov. 3: Bucs lose big at Seattle, record 2-6, Bucs fans begin to desert. Several hundred block runways at Tampa airport so team charter unable to land. Bucs divert to Orlando. NFL makes other arrangements, extends Bucs road trip.

MORE BUCS: Bruce Arians is the master of the coach-QB relationship. How about this one?

Nov. 17: Bucs play New Orleans on tundra in inaugural game of NFL’s Greenland Series. Team arrives early, attends contract singing party, President Trump writes check, makes Greenland 51st state, unveils plan to move city of Baltimore there. Bucs lose. Record: 3-7.

Dec. 1: Bucs lose to Jaguars, fall to to 3-9, then travel to Cape Canaveral. Launch of Bucco Bruce 1 makes Bucs first football team in space. For long journey, Bucs put into deep, deep sleep, as if anyone could tell.

Dec. 8, 2024: Winston throws first interception on surface of Mars as Bucs lose to Colts. Even with JPP back, Bucs’ zero-gravity defense ineffective. Plus: no water for water breaks. Bucs fall to 3-10.

2030: President Ivanka Trump talks to Bucs as they reach Crab Nebula. Winston picked four times by Romulans, but Bucs defeat Lions, trapping them to carbonite. Record: 4-10.

2042: Bucs, after traveling for Licht years, are caught in vortex, go back in time, defeat Hessians at Valley Forge, win Battle of Hastings, edge Mongol hordes, go to 5-10.

2057: Bucs travel so far into void they meet themselves and immediately put themselves on waivers. Lose to Tusken Raiders. Winston rides space Uber to Tampa, becomes first QB to get second contract with Bucs. Tim McGraw sings at contract signing, Licht’s chest bursts open, alien pops out, eat all remaining season-Bucs ticket holders. Signs kicker. Bucs finish 5-11.

Contact Martin Fennelly at or (813) 731-8029. Follow @mjfennelly


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