Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Bears’ Home Uniform Has A Poor History When Worn In Tampa Bay


The Chicago Bears are heavy underdogs heading into their Sunday game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Chicago will wear their home uniforms on the road for the second time this season and which has become a common trend when facing the Buccaneers in Tampa Bay. Unfortunately, there is a disturbing trend when wearing those uniforms, especially since Raymond James Stadium opened in 1998.

Lopsided Losses and Poor Offensive Output Has Been A Common Occurrence

Since Raymond James Stadium in 1998, the Bears have played nine times in Tampa Bay, with only five coming after the Buccaneers were realigned to the NFC South division following the Houston Texans joining the league in 2002. Chicago currently holds a 3-6 record in Tampa Bay as the three wins have come with the Bears wearing their traditional road white uniforms while all six losses came with the team wearing their home uniforms. It is a weird tradition for the Bears to wear their home uniforms when on the road against the Buccaneers, as it was a common occurrence when the two teams would play each other back in the 1990s in the NFC Central division.

The Bears were the opponent for the Buccaneers’ first home game in Raymond James stadium in 1998 and would lose the game 31-15. The game was memorable as the Bears had four first-half offensive drives reach the Buccaneers’ red zone, with Chicago’s offense only scoring three points. The lone Bears’ touchdown would come on a Glynn Milburn 93-yard punt return touchdown.

Chicago’s offense would struggle significantly in Tampa as they failed to score a touchdown in their first three games at Raymond James Stadium and would only score nine total points on offense in the three years. In those three games in Tampa Bay, Chicago wore their home jerseys. The first season in which the Bears wore their road uniforms at Raymond James Stadium came in 2001 in a memorable 27-24 victory. The Bears’ offense would come to life as quarterback Jim Miller connected on three deep touchdown passes to wide receiver Marty Booker.

Three seasons later, the Bears would visit Buccaneers for the first time since the realigned of divisions in 2002. In the 2004 game, Chicago would again wear their home uniform and lose 19-7, with the lone offensive score coming on a short touchdown run by Thomas Jones. This would be the game in which both Jonathan Quinn and Craig Krenzel would appear at the quarterback position for the Bears.

A year later, in 2005, the Bears would pick up their second victory ever at Raymond James Stadium by a score of 13-10. Although Chicago’s offense did very little, it was their defense that made the difference, sacking Buccaneers’ quarterback Chris Simms four times. It was just the second time also that the Bears wore their road uniforms.

Six seasons later, the Bears were the technical road team when the two teams played in London in 2011. Chicago also won that game by a score of 24-18 behind five interceptions. It wouldn’t be until 2015 when the two teams met again at Raymond James Stadium, where the Bears were victorious in a 26-21 game. Running back Ka’Deem Carey would rush for a touchdown and catch a touchdown pass for the Bears in the 2015 game. In both the 2011 and 2015 games against Tampa Bay, Chicago was victorious while wearing their road uniforms.

The last two visits to Raymond James Stadium have not been friendly to the Bears as they lost games in 2016 and 2017. In both games, Chicago lost by more than 20 points, while the offense could only generate only one touchdown in either game. Even worse, Cutler and Mike Glennon had interceptions returned for touchdowns in humiliating losses. In both defeats, Chicago again wore their home uniforms.

Bears Wearing Their Home Uniforms on The Road Is Simply Bad luck

Although the Bears rarely wear their home uniforms on the road, when they do, it does not end well for Chicago. The last time the Bears won a road game while wearing their designated home uniforms came back in 2012 when they beat the Dallas Cowboys in a 34-18 victory on Monday Night Football. Since then, Chicago has lost every game they have worn their home uniforms on the road.

NFL rules state that the home team for a game can designate what uniform they wish to wear and that an opposite-colored uniform must be worn by the visiting opponent. For the Bears, wearing their home uniforms for road games usually is seen when they face a team from the NFC East such as the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Football Team. Tampa Bay is the only other road location where Chicago consistently has worn their home uniform.

Other than victories against the Miami Dolphins in 1997 and the Dallas Cowboys in 2010 and 2012, Chicago has lost every game when they have worn their home uniforms on the road. Since 1996, all but two of those road losses were by a 10-points or more, with the worse loss coming in Tampa Bay back in 2000 when the Bears were blown out by a score of 41-0.

The Bears are 12-point underdogs for their game in Tampa Bay on Sunday, with many analysts expecting an easy Buccaneers victory. Chicago wore their home uniform in their week three matchup on the road against the Cleveland Browns. The Bears lost 26-6 and received national criticism as rookie quarterback Justin Fields was sacked nine times, while the offense only generated one net yard passing. Playing Tom Brady will be no easy task, but it will be made harder by the fact that Chicago hasn’t won a game wearing their home uniforms in Tampa Bay since 1995.

Steve Pusch
Eastern Illinois University graduate, Steve earned a Bachelor’s in Journalism with a concentration in sports. While at EIU, Steve co-hosted a weekly radio sports talk show focused on Chicago.

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