Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 2/3/13
Super Bowl Sunday a magical 24-hour window of parties and pigskin, gluttony and celebrating this countrys love affair with all things NFL. After watching the confetti tumble at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, remember that this is a game for legends, legacies and wondering how far others must go to reach the leagues grandest stage. Which brings us to Florida's teams. Whos closest to reaching the promised land? Whos the furthest? What will it take for someone to break the Sunshine States 10-season Super Bowl drought? Heres a closer look: 1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers The last franchise to represent Florida in the Super Bowl is also the states best chance to return in the near term. There have been some lean years of late Tampa Bay has produced three winning seasons in the past seven campaigns but the Bucs have a smaller slope to climb than their in-state counterparts. Tampa Bay showed progress last season, and continued growth could lead to a postseason run in the coming years. State of the team: There was movement in the right direction. A year after an uninspiring 4-12 season, the Bucs went 7-9 in coach Greg Schianos first campaign, an effort that included a highlight of winning five of six games from Weeks 6 through 11. Meanwhile, the lowlight occurred when hopes of ending a four-season playoff drought were dashed when the Bucs dropped five consecutive contests from Weeks 12 through 16. The offense, led by fourth-year veteran quarterback Josh Freeman, was decent while averaging 24.3 points (ranking 13th in the NFL) and 363.8 yards (ninth). On the other hand, the defense was up and down; the unit allowed an average of only 82.5 rushing yards (first) but surrendered an average of 297.4 passing yards (32nd). The roadblock: Their division will be a doozy. The NFC South has been one of the NFLs strongest in recent years. Before this season, the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints had made the playoffs each year since 2010. With coach Sean Paytons return in New Orleans, along with promises of a revamped Saints defense after coordinator Steve Spagnuolo was fired, the Bucs margin for error will continue to be small. There are signs of potential, but Tampa Bay must show its capable of squeezing past division powers. 2. Miami Dolphins Theyre still searching. Last season marked another change for the Dolphins, after moving past the Tony Sparano era. The franchise has produced only one playoff berth since stringing together seven in eight seasons from 1994-2001. Will quarterback Ryan Tannehill mature into the leader to guide the Dolphins back to the Super Bowl for the first time in almost three decades? Coach Joe Philbin hopes so. State of the team: As should be expected, there were both highs and lows for Miami with a rookie quarterback. Tannehill led Miami to a 7-9 record and second place in the AFC East, the Dolphins best finish in the division since they won the title with an 11-5 mark in 2008. The offense was anemic across the board, averaging 18 points (27th in the NFL) and 311.5 yards (27th). Still, they finished within one victory of their second season with at least eight wins since 2005. That was partly because of a defense that allowed an average of 19.8 points (seventh) and 108.4 rushing yards (13th). The roadblock: The offense must become more consistent. That could come with Tannehills growth, but his development will be key to any potential postseason berth in the coming years. The unit sputtered in the seasons second half last fall; Miami was held to 14 points or fewer four times while going 3-6 to close. There were glimpses of efficiency, such as a 35-13 rout of the Oakland Raiders in Week 2 and a 30-9 drubbing of the New York Jets in Week 8. Still, theres room to do more. Tannehills performance will dictate how far the Dolphins go. 3. Jacksonville Jaguars The wait could be a while. A Super Bowl with the Jaguars? Their path is filled with potholes, road spikes and a whole lot of unknowns. Anything is possible, though, and the Houston Texans have shown how a team previously wandering through the wilderness can find its way within sight of the big day. So theres hope, even if it takes reading the fine print to find it. State of the team: Change can be good. The Jaguars hired coach Gus Bradley and general manager David Caldwell in the offseason after a rocky 2-14 campaign, the franchises worst season in its 18-year history. Theres little reason to revisit 2012s warts; Jacksonvilles offense and defense failed to rank within the top 20 in any major statistical category. So its best to turn attention forward: Will running back Maurice Jones-Drew recover from a fractured left foot? Will Chad Henne continue to be the starting quarterback of choice? What will become of former first-round pick Blaine Gabbert? The roadblock: Where to start? The Jaguars are on the ground level of a rebuilding project. Dreaming about a Super Bowl berth at this point might as well be like searching for Atlantis in the deep end of a municipal pool. Instead, Jacksonville should be thinking small steps: Try to earn a winning record for the first time since going 11-5 in 2007, try to crack the playoffs for the first time since that same season, try to compete within an AFC South that should be solid for the foreseeable future with Houston and the Indianapolis Colts at the top. The goal: crawl, then walk.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

McCarthy discusses 'urgency’ to win another title with Rodgers

Report: Lions extend CB Darius Slay with $50 million deal

Adam Jones: Bengals dominated Steelers in playoff game

Robert Griffin III on QB battle: Only one of us runs 4.3

Gordon defends friendship with 'good friend' Manziel

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Geno Smith ‘kind of pissed off’ about Ryan Fitzpatrick’s return

Bell admits he knew about missed drug test, lied to media

Report: Chargers rookie Joey Bosa to hold out of camp

Doc Rivers blames ‘bloggers’ for Blake Griffin trade rumors

Jason Peters: Eagles practiced too much under Chip Kelly

Report: Giants’ Victor Cruz cleared to practice

Crowell still making amends for controversial Instagram post

Report: LeBron urged Justin Bieber not to perform at RNC

Luck refutes Matt Hasselbeck’s assertion he never showers

Newspaper editor explains use of Jordan meme for MJ article

Five NFL teams set to underachieve in 2016

WATCH: Belichick gets annoyed by Jimmy Garoppolo question

Ronda Rousey denies being pregnant despite rumor

Eight most overpaid offensive players in NFL

Giants acquire All-Star Eduardo Nunez from the Twins

Vikings QB injured trying to kick open door

Josh Gordon thankful for support from Browns

Report: Seahawks DE Chris Clemons retiring

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Everything that's already gone wrong at the Rio Olympics

Amar'e Stoudemire's presence (and absence) changed the NBA

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker