If you’re from Florida and you know anything about sports, you know that in Tampa, we try not to get our hopes up about being “winners.” Historically, Tampa has not been known for being the city of champions. Before the 2020 season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had only one Super Bowl win under their belt. An even more underwhelming fact is that the Tampa Bay Rays have only made one appearance in the World Series, resulting in a loss to the Phillies in 2008. The Lightning proved to be the most promising Tampa Bay sports team with two appearances and one win in the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup championship. After a very chaotic beginning to the year 2020, Tampa fans were not hopeful this year would be any different for them in the world of sports; they could not have been more wrong.
The Lightning won their second Stanley Cup championship in a six-game series against the Dallas Stars in September. Shortly after the Lightning’s big win, the Rays appeared in the World Series during a shortened season due to COVID-19. After signing champion quarterback Tom Brady, and former Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski in 2020, the Bucs earned their second Super Bowl ring in early 2021.
So, the question quickly became, will the momentum keep swinging in Tampa’s favor? The answer—a resounding yes. Team captain, Steven Stamkos, led the Lightning to another Stanley Cup Championship. With 180 goals in the season, the Lightning came out victorious over the Montreal Canadiens in a 5-game series in early July. Jon Cooper has coached the Lightning for eight years and built a program that has not failed to make Tampa proud. According to an article released by the NHL, under Jon Cooper, the Bolts have had the best season in franchise history and have “set franchise records for wins, points, home wins (tied with 2014-15), home points, road wins, road points, ROW, goals, goals per game, power-play percentage and longest win streak,”. It is safe to say that the Tampa Bay Lightning are in good hands and have an optimistic future ahead of them.
Now, let’s talk baseball. The Rays have climbed to the top of the MLB’s power rankings in the last few weeks, sitting currently at number 3. It is almost time for the post-season and the team is in first place, nine games ahead of the division rival, the Boston Red Sox. With 21 wins in August, the Rays are very clearly on a path leading them straight to the post-season.
Among the other leaders in the MLB are the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants. According to ESPN’s reported statistics, the Rays are in the top 15 teams in all of MLB for fielding, batting, and pitching. As additions to the Rays lineup, Nelson Cruz and Wander Franco give the team an edge over the others in the American League. The reigning World Series champions, the Dodgers, are among the top teams in the National League. Is it possible that we see a rematch between Tampa and Los Angeles in this year’s World Series? We will find out in October.
This past Thursday, Sep. 9, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers took the field against the Dallas Cowboys. Under the leadership of coach Bruce Arians and quarterback Tom Brady, the Bucs secured a 31-29 win for their first game of the season. During his 300th start in his career, Brady threw for 379 yards and four touchdowns, two of which were received by tight end Rob Gronkowski. Brady and Gronkowski have been playing together for ten seasons, so it is no shock that the two work together effortlessly. If Thursday night’s game was any indication of what the rest of the Bucs season will look like, Tampa fans are in for a real treat.
Something special is happening in the world of Tampa sports, and with any luck, they may just take home the Triple Crown!