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2003 Buccaneers Season 28 Schedule

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2003 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Season 28 Brief

Missing the A-Train: After being sidelined with an injury, the Bucs played without Mike Alstott for most of the season, and it showed in their inability to score touchdowns on the ground. The Bucs ran for only five scores in 2003, and two of them were scored by Alstott before his injury.

The 2003 Tampa Bay Buccaneers season was the franchise's 28th season in the National Football League. The season began with the team trying to defend its Super Bowl XXXVII title of 2002. Despite high expectations, several last-minute losses led to locker room tension and front-office struggles. The Buccaneers finished 7–9, and missed the playoffs for the first time since 1998.

Combined with the 2003 Oakland Raiders season' dismal 4–12 performance, neither Super Bowl team reached the playoffs that year. This situation would not happen again until the 2016 season when both the Broncos and the Panthers, the two Super Bowl contenders for the 2015 season, would miss the playoffs.

Front Office Tension

Soon after the Super Bowl victory, a growing number of press reports had indicated Gruden's lack of patience with general manager Rich McKay. McKay was a major architect of the Buccaneers rebuilding effort over the previous ten years, and he, like Gruden, had long-established ties to the Tampa Bay-area. However, as the 2003 season wore on, Gruden/McKay relationship deteriorated as the Buccaneers struggled on the field. In November, Keyshawn Johnson was deactivated by the team ten games into the season for his conduct, which included sideline arguments with coaches and players. Johnson was eventually traded to the Dallas Cowboys for wide receiver Joey Galloway.

Along with the Johnson de-activation, injuries sidelined several players during the season. The starting roster from Opening Day looked drastically different come November, particularly on offense. Opening day starters such as Mike Alstott, Brian Kelly, Greg Spires, and Kenyatta Walker, along with Joe Jurevicius, John Howell, Tim Wansley, Darian Barnes, Ellis Wyms all ended up on injured reserve. By Thanksgiving, the starting running back became lesser-known Thomas Jones, with on-again, off-again third-string receiver Charles Lee elevated to starter. Though quarterback Brad Johnson started all 16 games – a feat not accomplished by him in the Buccaneers Super Bowl season the previous year – he was benched while losing in the final week during a "meaningless" game against Tennessee.

In December, the Glazers allowed McKay to leave the Buccaneers organization before the end of the regular season. He promptly joined the Atlanta Falcons as president and general manager. Thus, McKay watched his first game as a Falcons executive sitting next to owner Arthur Blank in a Raymond James Stadium skybox in December 2003. The Falcons defeated the Buccaneers 30–28.

Season:
PRESEASON
Date   Opponent Week/Record Outcome
Saturday
Aug. 2
Jets ***TOKYO*** New York Jets
Tokyo Dome, Tokyo
PS - wk 1
1-0
Won 30-14
Friday
Aug. 8
Dolphins @ Miami Dolphins
Pro Player Stadium, Miami, FL
PS - wk 2
2-0
Won 20-19
Monday
Aug. 18
Rams @ St. Louis Rams
Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis, MO
PS - wk 3
2-1
Lost 16-26
Saturday
Aug. 23
Jaguars Jacksonville Jaguars
Raymond James Stadium, Tampa Bay, FL
PS - wk 4
3-1
Won 10-6
Thursday
Aug. 28
Texans Houston Texans
Raymond James Stadium, Tampa Bay, FL
PS - wk 5
4-1
Won 34-3

2003 Season Results

Record: 7-9, DIV: 2-4 (3rd in NFC South)
Date   Opponent Week/Record Outcome
Monday
Sep. 8
Eagles @ Philadelphia Eagles
Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, PA
RS - wk 1
1-0
Won 17-0
Sunday
Sep. 14
Panthers Carolina Panthers
Raymond James Stadium, Tampa Bay, FL
RS - wk 2
1-1
Lost 9-12
(OT)
Sunday
Sep. 21
Raiders @ Atlanta Falcons
Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA
RS - wk 3
2-1
Won 31-10
Sunday
Sep. 28
BYE RS - wk 4
2-1
Monday
Oct. 6
Colts Indianapolis Colts
Raymond James Stadium, Tampa Bay, FL
RS - wk 5
2-2
Lost 35-38
(OT)
Sunday
Oct. 12
Redskins @ Washington Redskins
FedEx Field, Landover, MD
RS - wk 6
3-2
Won 35-12
Sunday
Oct. 19
49ers @ San Francisco 49ers
Candlestick Park, San Francisco, CA
RS - wk 7
3-3
Lost 7-24
Sunday
Oct. 26
Cowboys Dallas Cowboys
Raymond James Stadium, Tampa Bay, FL
RS - wk 8
4-3
Won 16-0
Sunday
Nov. 2
saints New Orleans Saints
Raymond James Stadium, Tampa Bay, FL
RS - wk 9
4-4
Lost 14-17
Sunday
Nov. 9
Panthers @ Carolina Panthers
Ericsson Stadium, Charlotte, NC
RS - wk 10
4-5
Lost 24-27
Sunday
Nov. 16
Packers Green Bay Packers
Raymond James Stadium, Tampa Bay, FL
RS - wk 11
4-6
Lost 13-20
Monday
Nov. 24
Giants New York Giants
Raymond James Stadium, Tampa Bay, FL
RS - wk 12
5-6
Won 19-13
Sunday
Nov. 30
Jaguars @ Jacksonville Jaguars
Alltel Stadium, Jacksonville, FL
RS - wk 13
5-7
Lost 10-17
Sunday
Dec. 7
Saints @ New Orleans Saints
Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans, LA
RS - wk 14
6-7
Won 14-7
Sunday
Dec. 14
Texans Houston Texans
Raymond James Stadium, Tampa Bay, FL
RS - wk 15
7-7
Won 16-3
Saturday
Dec. 20
Falcons Atlanta Falcons
Raymond James Stadium, Tampa Bay, FL
RS - wk 16
7-8
Lost 28-30
Sunday
Dec. 28
Titans @ Tennessee Titans
The Coliseum, Nashville, TN
RS - wk 17
7-9
Lost 13-33
PLAYOFFS
Date   Opponent NFC/Superbowl Outcome
Season
Ended
Buccaneers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Raymond James Stadium, Tampa Bay, FL
None
None
00-00

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1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990
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