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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Can Tampa Buck Its Losing Tradition?

NEW YORK -- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have lost at least 10 games in all but one of their last 14 seasons and haven't finished over .500 since 1982.

The Cardinals -- St. Louis and Arizona -- haven't had a winning season since 1984 and made their last playoff appearance in that same strike-shortened 1982 season, when the National Football League put 16 of the 28 teams into the postseason.

Are things finally turning for both teams?

It may indeed be time for the Bucs, who have corralled some nice offensive players like Warrick Dunn and Mike Alstott in the last two drafts to go with what has been a solid defense for a while. Tampa Bay is one of just five 2-0 teams and is a game ahead of (gasp!) Green Bay in the NFC Central.

The signs of Tampa's emergence were evident at the end of last season, when the Bucs finished 5-3 after starting 1-7 in their first season under Tony Dungy. Dungy was into winning "coachspeak'' after Sunday's 24-17 win in Detroit, disturbed with his defense for letting the Lions into the game late, then adding: "But it's better than saying, 'We're playing better, but we can't win.'''

But let's wait on the Cardinals, whose fans went dancing off into the stifling desert night, goalposts in hand, after their team rallied from 15 points down to beat the Dallas Cowboys 25-22 in overtime. It ended a 13-game losing streak to Dallas.

Two things about the win:

-- Kent Graham was the eighth quarterback to open the season for the Cards in their 10 seasons in Tempe. (Neil Lomax, Gary Hogeboom, Timm Rosenbach twice, Tom Tupa, Steve Beuerlein twice, Dave Krieg and Boomer Esiason are the others.)

-- In typical Cardinals fashion, nothing came easy: Butler's game-winner, from just 20 yards, clanked off the left upright and bounced through.

"I've never had that happen before,'' said Butler, who has 16 winning kicks in 14 NFL seasons. "Usually they just come right back at me.''

Maybe it's a sign.


Steve Young, sidelined the past week by a concussion, received medical clearance Tuesday to resume playing.

The 49ers said in a statement that the 35-year-old Young, who has had three concussions in the last 10 months, got the go-ahead to play following a consultation Monday with his neurologist, Dr. Joseph Lacy. A brain scan taken last Thursday showed no abnormalities.

There was no word whether Young would start Sunday's home opener against the New Orleans Saints.

Coach Steve Mariucci was in the midst of installing the game plan and unavailable for comment Tuesday.

However, Mariucci said Monday he would consider starting rookie Jim Druckenmiller for a second straight week on the theory that additional time off for Young might reduce the possibility of another concussion.

Young, who turns 36 next month, has acknowledged he can't keep taking damaging shots to the head and continue his football career. His agent, Leigh Steinberg, said another concussion would force Young to seriously consider retirement, something which members of his family have already urged him to do.

So far, Young has resisted those suggestions.

A second expert also reviewed the case and concurred with Lacy's conclusion that Young could return to the field, the team said Tuesday.

Young suffered the latest concussion when he was kneed in the head by linebacker Hardy Nickerson during San Francisco's season-opening 13-6 loss at Tampa Bay. The force of the blow knocked the helmet off Young's head.

In his absence last week, the 49ers beat the St. Louis Rams 15-12.


After two weeks, only six unbeaten teams are left in the NFL. Not among them are Green Bay, Dallas and San Francisco.

But try this on for size, by the inexact and always inaccurate method of comparative scores.

The Packers lost 10-9 to the Eagles on Sunday. The week before, Philadelphia was beaten 31-17 by the Giants, who lost 40-13 to Jacksonville on Sunday (with former World Leaguer Steve Matthews at quarterback for the Jaguars).

So that makes the Packers 15 points worse than the Giants, who are 27 points worse than the Jaguars and means ...

Jacksonville would beat Green Bay by 42 points?

No, not yet.