The worst calls in Buccaneer history
Following the Tampa Bay Lightning's playoff loss to Montreal recently, long-time Tampa sports writer Gary Shelton decided to do a piece on the worst calls in Bay Area sports history. This followed on from an apparent appalling call on the Lightning in Game 3 of that series and the same night as Rays' shortstop Yunel Escobar struck out on a 4-2 pitch that had even seen the count reviewed on camera and they still got it wrong.

Gary contacted me about some of the worst calls in Buc history, three of which made his Tampa Top 10. So I thought it prudent to follow through with a proper feature on the worst ones that the Buccaneers have experienced and without including the phrase "and Shaun King is coming in to play quarterback for the Bucs".

The Bert Emanuel "catch"
The 1999 NFC Championship game and the Bucs are down 11-6 to the Rams but are mounting one last drive, well OK so they gained more yards in eight plays than they had in most of the previous 40 minutes. On 2nd and 23 from the Ram 35, King hit Bert Emanuel on a crossing pattern around the Rams' 20 yard line but in spite of Emanuel having both hands on the ball, the tip touched the ground and this was enough for it to be ruled incomplete. The NFL rules have been changed since but at the time, this was the right call. But of course it "cost the Bucs the Super Bowl" as King was bound to naturally throw a touchdown on either 3rd or 4th down from there. "We would have won," Emanuel said with the same false bravado that saw him signed as a free agent in the first place.
Click here for the game details

The Simeon Rice leaping call
Monday Night Football in Week 4 2003 and the night the Bucs' Super Bowl hangover really kicked in. Jon Gruden's team blew a 35-14 lead inside the final five minutes and the Colts had driven down for the perenially-accurate Mike Vanderjagt to attempt the winning fieldgoal. Except he missed. And except a flag was thrown giving him another chance. "The call was leaping,'' said referee Johnny Grier, who said umpire Ed Coukart made the call. ``Leaping is when a player starting more than one yard off the line of scrimmage moving forward and jumping up and landing on a player.''

Rumour has it that it was Rice's ego that landed on the Colts' player but that could have been called from over 30 yards back. The penalty stood, Vanderjagt made no mistake on his second chance and the Bucs' season fell away from there.
Click here for the game details

Kellen Winslow, pass interference v Detroit 2010
This one surprised me as I hardly remembered it at all and the reports from that game make only brief mention of it. An apparent touchdown that could have given the Bucs an insurmountable 4th quarter lead was called back and the 23-20 overtime loss meant Raheem's team missed out on the playoffs on tie-breakers to Green Bay. Who went on to win the Super Bowl. Therefore with the passing of time, this one call cost the Bucs the Super Bowl. OK, whatever.
Click here for the game details

Sam Wyche's despair in Seattle 1994
The Bucs had turned away the Seahawks on 4th and 12 and were headed home with a victory. Or so they thought. An illegal contact penalty on Mike McGruder gave Seattle an automatic first down and new life, which it used to beat the Bucs 22-21 on a 7-yard touchdown run by Mack Strong with 42 seconds to play. Throughout the locker room, the Bucs had one thing to say: "We wuz robbed". McGruder admitted to chucking Seattle receiver Brian Blades on the fourth-and-12 play, but said it was within the legal 5 yards of the line of scrimmage.

But field judge Don Hakes didn't see it that way. "Blades is in a slot. He comes down about 10 yards and he's starting to hook and the DB (McGruder) just blasts him," Hakes said. "Hits him hard. He's way past the 5-yard chuck zone." This was two plays after Martin Mayhew dropped the game-clinching interception.
Click here for the game details

McKay's Men snatch defeat from the jaws of victory
The 0-5 Bucs are playing the 5-0 Cowboys in Texas Stadium and led by a touchdown inside the two minute warning and they had the ball. But Tampa Bay could not run out the clock and after punting, Timmy Newsome took the fifth play of the Dallas drive down the sideline for the tying score with 47 seconds left. In overtime, the Cowboys missed a 50-yard FG to win the game, only for Thomas Morris to be called for roughing the kicker. Four plays later, Septien made amends with the game-winner. We can't play any better" said John McKay. "I think we are the best 0-6 team in the NFL."
Click here for the game details

But the ultimate bad Buc call of them all - Green Bay 1989
The Bucs had won two straight one-point games and led the Packers 16-14. Shawn Lee is called for hands to the face on 4th down about half a mile away from the play and the Packers get new life. And the GB offense was lined up illegally on that play as well. Chris Jacke then kicks a 47-yard FG into the wind by about half an inch for a Green Bay win.

Ray Perkins was so upset he scowled for a week. “Deep down inside, we know we're better - that we should've won,” said linebacker Ervin Randle. “But when it's taken out of your hands I don't know,” he sighed. “This one really hurts.”
Click here for the game details

And the one that never was - NFC Championship Game 1979
Bucs down 9-0 and Mike Rae throws an apparent TD pass to Jimmie Giles that was called back for illegal procedure. It was actually the right call but when you are a fan, every call is a bad one!
Click here for the game details