Tampa Bay: The City of Champions

Tropicana Field, home of the Tampa Bay Rays, only hosted two postseason games as the Rays went out west in later rounds. Along with the Lightning, fans weren’t able to see both teams go all the way.

Alex Clough

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Alex Clough, Online Editor-In-Chief

   What six months it has been for the Tampa Bay area, though not known for being a melting pot for championship-caliber play, all three Tampa teams made it to the championship. Here’s a recap of a very exciting time in Tampa’s history.

   For years the Tampa Bay Lightning had been the most exciting team in hockey, but time and time again the core consisting of Steven Stamkos and Victor Headmen fell short. A finals loss to the Blackhawks in 2016, along with two conference championship exits were just more pressure to eventually breakthrough.

   After the resumption of the 2020 season in August, the Lightning flew through the Eastern Conference, eventually beating the Dallas Stars in six games too with the organization’s second Stanley Cup.

   Just as the Lightning was celebrating with the Cup, the Rays began the October chase after winning the AL East for only the third time ever. A generally young roster led by AL Manager of the Year Kevin Cash blew through the Toronto Blue Jays, then upset division rivals New York Yankees in five and then clinched the American League in a seven-game thriller with the Houston Astros.

   Unlike the Lightning though, the Rays fell short, losing to the Los Angeles Dodgers in six games. The hard loss was bitter-sweet as the Rays shattered expectations with one of the lowest payrolls in the league.

   Just as the Rays finished up a remarkable run, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, now led by six-time champion Tom Brady, looked poised to continue the great few months for Tampa sports teams.

   Sliding into the playoffs as a Wild Card, the Bucs beat the Washington Football team, along with division rivals the New Orleans Saints who got the best of the Bucs twice in the regular season. For only the second time ever, the Bucs won the NFC after beating the Green Bay Packers in the frozen tundra.

   Following three massive road playoff wins, The Bucs headed back home for the Super Bowl, being the first team ever to play at home in America’s biggest game. A matchup against defending champions Kansas City Chiefs resulted in the beat down in the bay.’

   A perfect rap on an amazing year for Tampa, which some now call ‘Title town.’ From thrilling postseason runs to worldwide attention, the city put itself on the map.