2008 - The end of the road for Jon Gruden
After the depths of the 4-12 mark in 2006, a divisional title was the very least that would keep Jon Gruden in his job for another season. He duly delivered but the home wild card loss to the eventual Super Bowl champion Giants left a bad taste in the mouth at the end of that season. So once again there were divisions amongst fans over whether Jon was the right man for the job as he began his seventh season in charge of events at One Buccaneer Place.

The draft brought the required secondary help in the form of Aqib Talib, but after trading down in the second round, many people thought Dexter Jackson from Appalachian State was a reach. This was duly proven to be true as a series of botched kick returns saw him inactive by mid-season and he never did even catch a ball for the Bucs in a regular season game.

The schedule on paper looked tough at the outset but neither the Packers nor Falcons proved to be insurmountable problems in the opening two home games and comfortable victories over Carolina and Seattle saw the Bucs 4-0 at home at mid-season and 5-2 overall and right in the battle for another division title.

Jeff Garcia was leading the offense with Earnest Graham taking over the duties in the backfield following injuries elsewhere. The defense was hanging in there although the likes of Derrick Brooks were beginning to show their age. But the Bucs kept winning in spite of falling behind on the road to doormats Kansas City and Detroit. Big plays, kick returns and two-point conversions all helped turn things round and you began to wonder if Gruden was about to win the Powerball lottery the way the breaks were going his team's way.

And after a showdown victory over the Saints in Week 13, the Bucs stood at 9-3 and needed just one more win for their third division title in four years and another play-off berth. But that next win would not come for almost an entire year. The Panthers showed the NFL on Monday night just how to run the ball down the Bucs' throats and rushed for over 300 yards in a nightmare loss. The Falcons did more of the same the following week when Brian Griese was surprisingly preferred to Luke McCown after Garcia went down hurt just before gameday.

Panic stations were now setting in and the Chargers piling 41 points on a humiliated Buccaneer defense in the penultimate game left Tampa needing a win over the lowly Raiders to finally secure their division title in shades of the way the 1979 team backed into their title. But it was not to be and even Oakland got close to 200 yards on the ground as a 31-24 loss saw the Bucs miss out on the playoffs at 9-7 and within a fortnight, both GM Bruce Allen and coach Jon Gruden were on their way out of One Buccaneer Place.