Stranger things have happened in professional sports.
Since the latest NFL realignment in 2002, in the NFC South, the team that finished in last place in the division the previous year went on to make the playoffs the following season.
Let's take a quick history of the NFC South and see if we can find some reason, any reason, why the 2010 Tampa Bay Buccaneers will try to go from worst to first.
The last place team has won the division the next year in seven of the past eight seasons. The Carolina Panthers broke the string in 2008 finishing 12-4 (2006-7 the Panthers finished second).
All four NFC South teams have made a Super Bowl appearance. The Atlanta Falcons were in Super Bowl XXXIII in 1999 as a member of the NFC West.
Tidbit: This was the year that the Falcons played the Denver Broncos and quarterback John Elway who became the oldest player ever to be named Super Bowl MVP.
Last year was also the first year in team history that the Falcons have ever had back-to-back winning seasons. Look for the Falcons to have a winning season again this year.
The Carolina Panthers were in Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004.
Deemed as one of the greatest Super Bowls ever played at the time, Super Bowl 38 was also best remembered as "Nipple Gate."
As I was saying, the Carolina Panthers were in Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004.
Tidbit: The Carolina Panthers played the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004. The Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was named Most Valuable Player for the second time in three years. He also set a Super Bowl record for the most pass completions with 32.
This was the first and only time the Panthers played in a Super Bowl.
Look for the Panthers to break even this season.
The New Orleans Saints beat the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV this year.
Tidbit: Their run to the Super Bowl captured the attention of football fans everywhere. This game received the highest Nielsen Co. overnight ratings in the past 23 years, meaning that it was the most-watched Super Bowl of all-time.
Look for the Saints to break the Super Bowl curse and at least make the playoffs this season.
And the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won Super Bowl XXXVII 2003.
Once considered the laughing stock of all professional sports teams, the Buccaneers won it all by beating the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII.
Tidbit: The Buccaneers were led by the league's top defense, as they won the NFC South title with the team's best ever record, 12-4, and went on to blow-out Head Coach Jon Gruden's former team, the Oakland Raiders who had the league's No. 1 offense.
Tidbit: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New Orleans Saints are the only two NFC South teams to win a Super Bowl.
So what does this mean? Am I saying that the Bucs will win it all next year?
Now, there has never been a team in the NFC South who has earned back-to-back postseason appearances since the division started back in 2002. Both Atlanta and Carolina made the playoffs in 2008, but both teams fell short in reaching the postseason in 2009.
New Orleans will have a shot to repeat this year.
That brings me to the 2009 NFC South last place team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Do I actually believe that they can become the latest worst to first success story in the NFC South for the upcoming season? No! Not really!
But, as history has shown throughout the NFC South, when no one is expecting it, it can be done. Will it be done this year? I doubt it, but hey, that's what being a true fan is all about. Expecting the worst and hoping for the best.
But, I do believe with the recent draft picks, the purging of their roster and the so-called softer schedule, they will win more than three games.
Will they finish in last place again? Probably so, but hey, they’re still my team and I am predicting them to be better than last season. In May I’m predicting a 5-11 or 6–10 season. Your thoughts.