Super Bowl Lookback
Ten years ago, the Buccaneers embarked on a special season — one that ended with team members hoisting the Vince Lombardi Trophy as champions of Super Bowl XXXVII. To commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the franchise's crowning achievement, each week this season, The Tampa Tribune will look back at the corresponding week in the team's 2002 journey and check in with a team member 10 years later.
Steelers 17, Bucs 7
Headline: STEEL CURTAINS
Game summary: The Steelers raced to a 17-0 advantage in the opening quarter before a Monday night TV audience at Raymond James Stadium. Pittsburgh capitalized on three takeaways to hand the Bucs their final loss of the 2002 season. With Bucs QB Brad Johnson sidelined by a lower back contusion, Shaun King completed only nine of 26 passes for 73 yards before being replaced by Rob Johnson in the third quarter. Keyshawn Johnson had eight catches for 132 yards and accounted for Tampa Bay's only TD, on a late 18-yard reception as the Bucs fell to 11-4. Pittsburgh's Tommy Maddox threw for 236 yards and opened the scoring with an 11-yard strike to Antwaan Randle El. On Tampa Bay's second offensive snap, Chad Scott picked off a King pass and raced 30 yards to put the Steelers ahead 14-0.
5: Number of times Rob Johnson was sacked
2: Number of fumbles by the Bucs inside Pittsburgh's 10-yard line
7-for-14: Pittsburgh's conversion rate on third down
He said it
"They jumped out on us and we had no answer for them."
– Bucs DT Warren Sapp
"The first seven minutes doomed us."
– Bucs S John Lynch
"Anytime your defense gets you a score and all you have to do is kick the extra point, that's the best drive in America."
– Steelers G Alan Faneca
Back to the future
As a fifth-round draft pick out of Georgia, safety Jermaine Phillips was thrilled to contribute on special teams during his 2002 rookie season, posting 14 tackles while playing in all 19 games.
Phillips became a starter midway through the 2003 season and played eight years with the Bucs, finishing with 417 stops, three sacks, 10 forced fumbles and 11 interceptions.
"I remember all the fighters we had on that team when I was a rookie," said Phillips, who participated in last Sunday's 10-year reunion of the champion Bucs at Raymond James Stadium. "I think of the way everybody came to work each day. You just knew we were destined for big things that year as we set off on our journey."
Once he moved into the starting lineup, Phillips developed a reputation as a savage hitter from the strong safety spot.
He still resides in Tampa, where Phillips describes himself as "in transition," contemplating a career in coaching.
"We had so many different personalities on that 2002 team, yet at the same time, everybody had the same purpose," he said. "We came together and made good music."