Seahawks & Buccaneers, an Odd Schedule to Start With
The Seattle Seahawks and Tampa Bay Buccaneers entered the NFL as expansion teams in 1976. Not much was expected from either team their first couple years and that is about what fans got out of them. An interesting situation that wasn’t repeated for later expansion franchises surrounded the Seahawks and Bucs division alignment and schedule.
The Seattle Seahawks were designed to be an AFC team, and to keep the conferences even in numbers the NFC would be getting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In an unusual move, planned so that each team would get a chance to host as many different visiting teams as possible in the beginning, the two teams switched divisions after their first year. The Seahawks began their first season as members of the NFC West, while the Buccaneers played in the AFC West. After one season of playing teams in those conferences, the two teams swapped divisions with each other and played from there on out in their originally planned for divisions. So, though the Buccaneers were an AFC West team in 1976, they would be an NFC West team in 1977; just as the Seahawks were an NFC West team in 1976 and would change to play in the AFC West in 1977.
Ironically, both teams would later move divisions again with realignment as the Bucs would move to the NFC Central, while after over 25 years in the AFC West, the Seahawks would move back to the same NFC West that they played in during their first season.