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 last fall, 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 they dropped five consecutive contests from Weeks 12 through 16. The offense, led by four-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 bipolar; the unit only allowed an average of 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 former 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 over eight seasons from 1994 to 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 winning 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 awhile. 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, 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

Reports: Sale cut up throwback uniforms with knife in protest

WNBA withdraws fines for teams that protested gun violence

Ezekiel Elliott: ‘Evil NEVER prevails’

Orioles, Padres reportedly talking trades of Melvin Upton, Cashner

Le’Veon Bell reportedly missed ‘several’ drug tests

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Islanders looking at locations to build new arena

Top five takeaways from this year's NBA Summer League

NCAA rules that hanging out with hip-hop star Drake is violation

WATCH: Justin Bieber arm wrestle Sixers center Joel Embiid

RUMOR: Celtics sign Green, Zeller and two others to contract deals

Kevin Durant Thunder jerseys going for less than 50 cents in OKC

Solo not taking any chances with Zika virus while in Rio

Rays reportedly demanding Profar in pitching deal with Rangers

Facebook doesn’t know the difference between Liverpool and Arsenal

Report: Teams asked about Wade Davis, asking price very high

Aussie Rules Football player accidentally kicks, breaks own leg

Former Arkansas football assistant trolls Bobby Petrino on social media

Could Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw's injury hinder trade talks?

Spurs strike a new deal with NBA stalwart Manu Ginobli

George makes return to Team USA following leg injury

Why the Clippers shouldn't break up their big three

White Sox pay homage to Bo Jackson’s bat-breaking skills with bobblehead

Orioles affiliate pay tribute to David Bowie on their jerseys

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

Effect of ban on Russia could span beyond the Olympic Games

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

QUIZ: Name every city to host the NBA All-Star Game

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

One Gotta Go: NBA players make tough choices on their favorite rappers

One Gotta Go: NBA Summer League is not about that Game of Thrones life

The top NHL free agents available as offseason winds down

WATCH: NBA jersey sponsors that need to happen

Expansion draft playing heavy hand in the current NHL offseason

WATCH: Pop & Timmy have a guys' night out

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