The 40th season opener
This Sunday will be the 40th opening game the Buccaneers have played and co-incidentally it is a repeat of the very first one as the Bucs travelled to play the then-Houston Oilers in the Astrodome. The result was then was a 20-0 defeat for the expansion Buccaneers and the team even got lost in the depths of the stadium trying to find their way to the field.

Things have improved over the years for the franchise but Tampa Bay still sports a 15-24 overall mark in the first game of a season. There have been some memorable wins and crushing defeats but little stock can actually be placed on the result of the first game to the eventual success of the team for that season.

The 2002 Super Bowl team lost their first game of the season but ultimately wound up winning it all. And four win seasons in 1987 and 2011 were started off with opening day success to boost fans' confidence at that early stage.

Twice the Bucs have opened the entire NFL schedule as original owner Hugh Culverhouse had both the 1979 and 1981 season openers moved to Saturday nights allegedly to avoid the heat of a regular Sunday game but more to gain national coverage for his franchise. And in both 1982 in Minnesota and 2003 in Philadelphia, the Bucs have been part of stadium opening celebrations.

Of the memorable opening day wins, the 1987 hammering of the Falcons would take some beating. The final was 48-10 setting the franchise record for points scored in a game, subsequently tied in the Super Bowl. The debut of the new uniforms in the 1997 season opener saw a 13-6 win over the 49ers, a game that started Tony Dungy's team on a 5-0 run and ultimately a first playoff appearance in 15 years.

For depressing openers, you could have 1988 (down 34-0 at the half to the Eagles) or the 2006 home shutout loss to the Ravens. Or in 1996 when the stadium tax vote was about to take place and a good performance on the field was seen as essential, Dungy's coaching debut resulted in a 34-3 home loss to the Packers.

Then there have been the quirky record-setting openers. 1993 saw the hottest game in franchise history and 1986 saw Steve DeBerg set a record by throwing seven interceptions in a single game. In 1991 the Bucs opened with the Jets, the team they had finished the previous season against, a feat repeated in 2006/07 with Seattle. And the Bucs had a three-game winning streak in season openers from 1979 to 1981 but this was followed by a five-game losing streak until 1986.

So what does this all mean for Sunday's encounter against the Tennessee Titans? Not a lot of course but it will of course result in various team message boards going totally over-the-top with excitement for the season with a win, or declaring the entire sky is falling in with a loss.