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.
Saints 23, Bucs 20
DIVISION NOW A DOGFIGHT
Game summary: The Saints completed a season sweep by holding off Tampa Bay's late comeback bid and ending the Buccaneers' four-game win streak. Joe Horn caught five passes for 106 yards and a TD, and his 10-yard reception from backup Jake Delhomme on third-and-8 sealed the win and dropped the Bucs to 9-3. Deuce McAllister added 99 yards on the ground, and New Orleans converted nine of 17 third downs at the Superdome. With three sacks against Aaron Brooks, Bucs DE Simeon Rice became the first player in NFL history to post at least two sacks in five consecutive games. Brad Johnson threw scoring passes of 44 yards to Mike Alstott and 2 yards to Keenan McCardell, who finished with 11 catches for 107 yards.
25 – Pass attempts by Saints QB Aaron Brooks
9 – Completions by Brooks
34 – Rushing yards by the Bucs
He said it
"Right now, we're a little one-dimensional and it's concerning to me."
– Bucs coach Jon Gruden
"You can't give the Bucs anything cheap. … You have to play mistake-free."
– Saints coach Jim Haslett
"I wish I could feel good about it, but I can't. This loss is tough. We'll just have to come back and fight another day."
– Bucs DE Simeon Rice
Back to the future
Keenan McCardell was an accomplished 32-year-old receiver when he signed with the Bucs as a free agent from Jacksonville before the 2002 season.
He went on to lead Tampa Bay with six receiving touchdowns during the regular season before adding a pair of scoring receptions in the Super Bowl.
Now back in his native Houston, where he brandishes his Super Bowl ring as an analyst on the Texans' postgame broadcasts, McCardell said he doesn't think the 2002 Bucs have gotten their due.
"Every time people start to talk up how good a particular team is, I think back to our championship club," he said. "I'll put us up against a lot of Super Bowl teams. That 2002 team scored on defense and, as the season went on, we worked our way into being a good offense."
McCardell, who was traded to the Chargers during a 2004 contract dispute, is eager to rejoin his former teammates Dec. 9, when the Bucs salute members of the 2002 championship club at Raymond James Stadium.
"I'm looking forward to it," he said. "We're a special group of guys with a lot of different personalities. I remember my visit to Tampa as a free agent. Jon Gruden didn't even show up. I went out to dinner with John Lynch, Warren Sapp, Derrick Brooks and Simeon Rice. By the time dessert came, I knew Tampa was the place I wanted to be."