Tampa Bay: The New City of Champions

Tampa Bay Buccaneers NFL football tight end Rob Gronkowski dances as he and others celebrate their Super Bowl 55 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs with a boat parade in Tampa, Fla., Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021. (Dirk Shadd/Tampa Bay Times via AP)

For the past twenty years, the sports world has been terrorized by the city of Boston. The Bruins, Celtics, Red Sox, and Patriots alike have each shared major success in recent sports history. After Tom Brady and the Patriots won the Super Bowl in 2001, the city’s four major sports teams went on an unprecedented twenty year run, winning 12 championships in the process. Boston became known as the premier destination for great athletes and sports fans alike, as it received the distinct honor of being the nation’s new titletown. However, the success that started with Brady also ended with Brady, as the city’s happiness came to a screeching halt after Brady’s unexpected departure from New England. 

Luckily for the city of Tampa Bay, Brady carried the success over with him when he signed with the Buccaneers, as the city became the center of buzz around the sports world overnight. Since then, Tampa Bay has had arguably the most success in sports out of any city in the country. Hence the reason Tampa Bay has earned their new name: Champa Bay.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Although the Buccaneers and Rays just recently struck success, the Tampa Bay Lightning have been a top tier team in the NHL for years now. The Lightning have won two Stanley Cups in their franchise’s short history, with both coming in the last twenty years. The Bolts have also won four division titles, three conference championships, and one President’s Trophy since the 2003-04 season. However, their quest for the cup during the 2019-20 NHL season was without a doubt their most memorable.

After a heartbreaking and abysmal performance against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round of the NHL playoffs the year prior, the Lightning had a massive chip on their shoulder going into 2019-2020. As it does for many teams, the season started off fairly slowly, with the Lightning not being able to find a rhythm or identity. However, the Lightning proved to be a team of strength and grit, earning the second highest seed in the Eastern Conference.

Under an unprecedented situation in the NHL bubble, the Bolts managed to earn their second Stanley Cup win, knocking out the Columbus Blue Jackets, Boston Bruins, New York Islanders, and Dallas Stars in the process. The victory was extra sweet for Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman, who won the Conn Smythe Trophy (MVP of NHL Playoffs). Although it is too early to tell, many Lightning fans believe Hedman qualifies as a future Hall of Famer.

Tampa Bay Rays

The  Tampa Bay Rays had one of their best seasons in franchise history in 2020. Despite losing to the Astros in the 2019 ALDS, the Rays managed to bounce back in impressive fashion. The team won the 2020 AL Pennant by defeating the Toronto Blue Jays, New York Yankees, and Houston Astros in the new playoff format. The title run ultimately came up short for the Rays, as they lost in the World Series to the Los Angeles Dodgers in six games. However, the players and fans still deserve to be proud, as the Rays played with heart and should be right back in the playoff race next year.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

After a decade filled with mediocrity, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are finally back on top. From 7-9 the previous season, to Super Bowl Champions, the Buccaneers had one of the greatest turnarounds in recent sports history. Of course the talent on both the offense and defense had existed before, but it took the GOAT (Tom Brady) to form a complete contender. Through his leadership skills and awareness, Brady proved to be a great step up at the quarterback position.

Although the previous NFL season just came to a close, it is never too early to preview the upcoming offseason. Unfortunately for the Buccaneers, many of the team’s key players have the option of testing the waters of free agency. On the offense alone, Antonio Brown, Chris Godwin, Rob Gronkowski, and Leonard Fournette all stick out as potential targets for other teams around the NFL. On the defensive side of the football, Ndamukong Suh, Lavonte David, and Shaquil Barrett all have the potential of garnering massive paydays with other teams.

Luckily, the Buccaneers have one of the best salary cap situations in the league, which means most of the guys will be returning. To make matters even better, many talented veterans around the league have expressed interest in playing for Tampa Bay. JJ Watt and Odell Beckham Jr. are two of the big names to surface as potential targets for the Buccaneers.

The New Titletown

Overall, Tampa Bay definitely has a case at being the greatest sports city in the United States right now. The future in Tampa Bay looks bright, with all three of Tampa’s major sports teams set up for future success. Although judging something too early can end negatively, it’s safe to stay Tampa Bay is here to stay.

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