1998 Tampa Bay Buccaneers season
|1998 Tampa Bay Buccaneers season|
|Head coach||Tony Dungy|
|Home field||Raymond James Stadium|
|Division place||3rd NFC Central|
|Playoff finish||did not qualify|
|Team MVP||LB Derrick Brooks|
The 1998 Tampa Bay Buccaneers season was seen as a disappointment following their breakthrough 1997 season. It was their first season in Raymond James Stadium. They were the only team to beat the Minnesota Vikings during the regular season. In Week 16, they recorded the biggest road win in their history against the Cincinnati Bengals. However, it was not enough to secure a playoff place. The season was marked by close losses in which touchdowns had been called back due to referee error.
|1998 Tampa Bay Buccaneers staff|
Special Teams Coaches
Strength and Conditioning
Regular season 
|1||September 6, 1998||at Minnesota Vikings||L 31-7||
|2||September 13, 1998||at Green Bay Packers||L 23-15||
|3||September 20, 1998||Chicago Bears||W 27-15||
|4||September 28, 1998||at Detroit Lions||L 27-6||
|5||October 4, 1998||New York Giants||W 20-3||
|7||October 18, 1998||Carolina Panthers||W 16-13||
|8||October 25, 1998||at New Orleans Saints||L 9-3||
|9||November 1, 1998||Minnesota Vikings||W 27-24||
|10||November 8, 1998||Tennessee Oilers||L 31-22||
|11||November 15, 1998||at Jacksonville Jaguars||L 29-24||
|12||November 22, 1998||Detroit Lions||L 28-25||
|13||November 29, 1998||at Chicago Bears||W 31-17||
|14||December 7, 1998||Green Bay Packers||W 24-22||
|15||December 13, 1998||Pittsburgh Steelers||W 16-3||
|16||December 19, 1998||at Washington Redskins||L 20-16||
|17||December 27, 1998||at Cincinnati Bengals||W 35-0||
Game summaries 
Week 1: at Minnesota Vikings 
Coming off their playoff season from 1997, the Buccaneers opened 1998 on the road with high expectations. Receiver Bert Emanuel went out with a sprained ankle, and Tampa Bay lost 31-7.
Week 2: at Green Bay Packers 
Jacques Green returned a punt 95 yards for a touchdown (only his second-career return attempt) to set a franchise record for longest punt return. However, Green Bay won 23-15.
Week 3: Chicago Bears 
The highly-anticipated first game at brand new Raymond James Stadium saw the Buccaneers face the Bears. After falling behind 15-0 at halftime, Tampa Bay scored 27 unanswered points to win 27-15. Dave Moore caught a one-handed pass for a 44-yard touchdown in the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, Warrick Dunn ran for a 44-yard touchdown. Raymond James Stadium was opened with a victory, and the Buccaneers improved to 1-2.
Week 4: at Detroit Lions 
On Monday Night Football, Tampa Bay faced Detroit at the Silvedome. Despite clinging to a 6-3 deficit at halftime, Tampa Bay's sputtering offense and defensive miscues cost any chance at victory. Barry Sanders rushed for 131 yards, Bryant Westbrook returned an interception 34 yards for a touchdown, and Terry Fair returned a Lions record 105-yard kickoff return touchdown. Two apparent touchdown passes by Trent Dilfer were called back for penalty, and Tampa Bay fell 27-6.
Week 5: New York Giants 
Only a minute and a half into the game, Charles Mincy intercepted Kanell for a 22-yard touchdown return. Tampa Bay would never trail in the game. The Buccaneer defense held the Giants to only 135 total yards, and picked off Kanell three times in the 20-3 victory.
Week 6: Open date 
Week 7: Carolina Panthers 
Tampa Bay evened their record to 3-3 with a win over Carolina. The Panthers led 13-3 in the fourth quarter, but Trent Dilfer led the Buccaneers for a rally in the final 5 minutes. On a roll out, Dilfer ran in for a 1-yard touchdown, then on the next possession, scored the go-ahead touchdown. Karl Williams caught a 29-yard touchdown pass in the corner of the endzone with 1:39 to go to seal the victory 16-13.
The Buccaneers improved to 3-0 at Raymond James Stadium.
Week 8: at New Orleans Saints 
The Tampa Bay offense dropped seven passes, Patrick Hape lost a fumble at the Saints 3 yard line, and Trent Dilfer threw an interception, as offensive futility again plagued the Buccaneers, resulting in a 9-3 loss at New Orleans. Three times the Buccaneers had the ball inside the Saints 25 yard line, but came up with zero points. At one point, Bert Emanuel caught a touchdown pass, but the officials ruled it incomplete, saying he "trapped" the ball against the turf.
Week 9: Minnesota Vikings 
The Vikings entered week 9 at Tampa Bay undefeated at 8-0. Derrick Brooks intercepted Randal Cunningham, setting up Warrick Dunn's first touchdown run. A back and forth game saw the score tied 17-17 at halftime. Minnesota took a 24-17 lead in the third quarter, but Tampa Bay came back in the fourth. A field goal followed by a Mike Alstott touchdown run with just under six minutes remaining gave the Bucs a 27-24 lead. The Buccaneers had two rushers over 100 yards: Alstott (128) and Dunn (115), with Alstott sealing the game late with a rush of 38 yards.
Tampa Bay defeated Minnesota 27-24, the Vikings' first (and only) loss of the regular season. The Bucs remained at 0.500, improving to 4-4, and were now 4-0 at Raymond James Stadium.
Week 10: Tennessee Oilers 
Trailing 24-22 at the two-minute warning, Tennessee was facing 3rd down & 8 at their own 29 yard line. A defensive stop by Tampa Bay would have given them the ball back, and an opportunity to drive for a game-winning field goal. However, quarterback Steve McNair broke out for a 71-yard touchdown run, and the Tennessee Oilers won 31-22.
Week 11: at Jacksonville Jaguars 
Week 12: Detroit Lions 
Tampa Bay trailed 21-7, but rallied late. With just over two minutes remaining, Trent Dilfer drove the Buccaneers to the Detroit 11 yard line. He was intercepted in the endzone, and Detroit held on to win 28-25. It was Tampa Bay's third straight loss.
Week 13: at Chicago Bears 
Tampa Bay got back to their winning ways, winning their first road game of the season at Chicago. Late in the second quarter, the Buccaneers blocked a Bears punt, and Ronde Barber scooped it up. He returned the ball 21 yards for a touchdown. As time expired in the first half, Trent Dilfer threw up a Hail Mary touchdown, which was caught by Brice Hunter, his first career NFL touchdown. The Bucs took a 21-14 lead into halftime, and won the game 31-17.
Tampa Bay's record was now 5-7, still alive for the wild card hunt.
Week 14: Green Bay Packers 
Tampa Bay hosted Green Bay in their first Monday Night Football home game since 1982. Tampa bay forced 8 fumbles, and sacked Brett Favre 8 times. Late in the first quarter, Trent Dilfer connected to Jacquez Green for a 64-yard touchdown pass. Minutes later, at the beginning of the second quarter, Dilfer passed to Bert Emanuel in a nearly identical 62-yard touchdown pass. Leading 17-15 in the fourth quarter, Dilfer scrambled through the middle of the Packers defensive line to score a 6-yard touchdown, and a 24-15 lead. Green bay would trim the deficit to 24-22, but the Buccaneers held on to win.
Tampa Bay improved to 6-7 on the season.
Week 15: Pittsburgh Steelers 
Tampa Bay won their third game in a row, shutting down the Steelers to just 168 yard of offense. The Tampa Bay defense intercepted Kordell Stewart three times, and Mike Tomczak once. Mike Alstott ran for 78 yards on a wet and rainy day. The Steelers only points came early in the fourth quarter.
Tampa Bay won 16-3 and evened their record at 7-7. They were now back in the hunt for the wild card.
Week 16: at Washington Redskins 
Tampa Bay's playoff chances were dealt a big blow in week 16 at Washington. Tampa Bay led the Redskins 16-7 early in the fourth quarter, but blew the lead at the end. Leading 16-13 with six minutes to go, Jacquez Green fumbled a kickoff, turning the ball over. On the next play, Stephen Alexander caught the game-winning touchdown for Washington. Tampa Bay had two last chances to come back, but both times, Trent Dilfer threw interceptions.
The Buccaneers fell to 7-8 on the season, and would need to win in week 17 to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Week 17: at Cincinnati Bengals 
Tampa Bay clobered Cincinnati 35-0, a franchise best for a road shutout. Mike Alstott scored three rushing touchdowns, and the Bucs defense intercepted the Bengals twice (including a 56-yard return by Ronde Barber)
Tampa Bay finished 8-8 on the season, winning four out of their last five games, and the end of the game, were still alive for an NFC wild card spot. Tampa Bay needed the Giants to beat the Eagles and the Chargers to beat the Cardinals . The Giants won, helping Tampa Bay, but the Cardinals beat the Chargers 16-13 with a 52-yard field goal as time expired. By the time the Buccaneers' plane had landed back in Tampa, they were ousted from the playoffs.
|Green Bay Packers||11||5||0||.688||408||319|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||8||8||0||.500||314||295|
- Stroud, Rick. "5 Plays the Bucs Wish Hadn't Happened". St. Petersburg Times, Nov. 29, 1998.
- 2009 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Media Guide. pp. 44–46. Retrieved 2009-11-26.