2002 Bucs used as motivation for 49ers

NFL coaches often have their own unique motivational tactics for their teams. just last week, Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni used up the rap fight scene 8 miles to fire his team ahead of their NFC Divisional Round victory over the Giants. And this week, just one day after the Bucs celebrated the 20th anniversary of their first-ever Super Bowl, Sirianni’s counterpart in Sunday’s NFC Championship Game used that 2002 Tampa Bay team as motivation for his group.

49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said Friday that he showed his team the January 2003 Bucs’ NFC Championship Game against the Eagles, a game in which they entered Philadelphia, won and advanced to Super Bowl XXXVII. Of course, Shanahan’s 49ers will play in Philadelphia this Sunday afternoon to do the same and go to Super Bowl LVII.

“It was great to watch,” said Shanahan. “It was kind of boring because [the Bucs] had 32 runs for 45 yards, 1.5 a carry and had 26 points. So it was, the Tampa Bay defense was great in that game.

The Bucs actually ran for 49 yards on 32 rushing attempts in the game, but that five-yard-per-carry average didn’t come back to bite them. Rather, it was the Tampa Bay defense forcing three turnovers – including a late pick six by Ronde Barber – that left the home fans unhappy after what was the final game at Philadelphia’s old Veterans Stadium.

Former Bucs SS John Lynch – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

This Sunday, Shanahan’s team heads to Lincoln Financial Field in search of a similar result. While Philadelphia is the NFC’s No. 1 seed and a 2.5-point favorite as of right now, San Francisco has a dominant defense and a wealth of offensive talent. It’s a really good team put together by one of the members of that 2002 Bucs team, former Tampa Bay safety man John Lynch, who has been the general manager of the 49ers since 2017.

Shanahan was asked if Lynch, a member of the 2021 Pro Football Hall of Fame Class, was present when the 49ers watched that Bucs-Eagles game.

“He came to my office right before I went through it to get ready to show the team and he sat down and enjoyed watching it for about 10 seconds,” said Shanahan. “And he got up and paced the room and he didn’t even realize it and I was like, ‘What’s the matter with you now?’ And he says, “Why, what do you mean?” [Then] he says, “Oh, yes, this stirs up some feelings.”

Lynch had six tackles and a pass defended in the Bucs’ victory before defending another pass as Tampa Bay defeated the Oakland Raiders 48–21 in the Super Bowl the following week.

Shanahan has a lot of credit for Bucs’ legendary CB

Former Bucs Great Round Barber

Former Bucs great Ronde Barber – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

When you think about that Bucs-Eagles NFC Championship Game, it’s hard not to imagine Barber’s game-clining 92-yard pick six with 3:12 left in the fourth quarter. Shanahan had a lot to say about Barber, the Bucs Ring of Honor member who is a finalist in the Pro Football Hall of Fame this year.

“Ronde Barber, I always knew how great Ronde was, but that game was as good as it gets,” said Shanahan. “And that’s why I’ll be amazed if he’s not in the Hall of Fame soon.”

Barber’s pick six, which sent the Eagles home for the offseason and propelled the Bucs to the Super Bowl, is one of the most iconic moments in NFL history. While running the length of the field, the Tampa Bay cornerback pointed to the name tag on the back of his jersey.

“Walking back, pointing all the way like that, pointing to ‘Barber,'” Shanahan said. “It was awesome.”

So, with the 2023 Pro Football Hall of Fame class being announced in just a few weeks, go ahead and count Shanahan among the many who believe this should finally be the year Barber gets his place in Canton.

#Bucs #motivation #49ers

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