On Sunday, January 1, when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the Carolina Panthers for the regular season finale, the Buccaneers will celebrate their fans throughout the game. The team’s youngest fans can kick off their gameday activities by joining the Bucs Squad and enjoying the “Bucs Squad Experience” outside Raymond James Stadium. In addition, the team will continue the tradition of honoring local heroes with the Hero of the Game and the Salute to Service Suite, while also welcoming special fans as the Honorary Flag Runner and Guest of the Game for the coin toss.
BUCS SQUAD EXPERIENCE & BUCS SQUAD TWO-MINUTE DRILL AT RAYMOND JAMES STADIUM
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers Bucs Squad is an exciting new program designed to get the next generation of Bucs fans behind the bench and inside the huddle with their favorite NFL team. By becoming a Bucs Squad member, fans 14-and-under get access to amazing gameday experiences. For more information and to sign up for the Bucs Squad, visit the Bucs Squad Two-Minute Drill location in section 112.
The Bucs Squad Experience, a 21,000-square foot, interactive area, will be open 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. in Lot 6D (Tampa Bay Blvd. between Gates C & D) for all children and families attending the game. The Bucs Squad Experience will include inflatable football activities, interactive PLAY 60 football clinics, as well as visits from Captain Fear (10:00 – 11:00 a.m.) and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Cheerleaders (11:00 – 11:30 a.m.) for children to enjoy free of charge.
LEARN MORE: Bucs Squad for Youth
HONORARY FLAG RUNNER: BUCCANEERS FAN HUNTER McCORY
For team introductions, the Buccaneers will be led out of the tunnel by fan Hunter McCory. Lifelong Buccaneers fans, the McCory family has been Charter Stadium Club Members since 1975.
HONORARY GUEST OF THE GAME: BUCCANEERS FAN RICK WHALEN
Prior to kickoff, the Buccaneers will welcome to midfield Rick Whalen, Stadium Club member since 1987, to join the Buccaneers Team Captains for the coin toss.
HERO OF THE GAME
Before kickoff, the Buccaneers will continue a tradition with the team’s military Hero of the Game. At every Buccaneers home game, a selected military member will be stationed on the Pirate Ship in Buccaneer Cove for the ringing of the ship bell and to ready the team for action. On Sunday, the Buccaneers will honor U.S. Army Major Earl Bedford. Major Bedford enlisted in the Army in 1983 and became a commissioned officer after completing Officer Candidate School in June 1989. He served four combat tours in Iraq from 2002 to 2009 as a Special Operations Officer and later as a Civil Affairs Planner. He retired from active duty in February 2013 after almost 30 years of service. For his dedicated service and superior performance of duty, Major Bedford was awarded two Bronze Stars, three Presidential Unit Citation Awards, four Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Awards, four Global War on Terrorism Service Medals, Senior Parachutists/Jumpmaster Wings, Air Assault Wings, and a Combat Action Badge for combat operations in Iraq.
SALUTE TO SERVICE SUITE
At every Buccaneers home game, the team honors a distinguished group of military members with an exclusive gameday experience in the Salute to Service Suite. During a break in play, fans are encouraged to direct their attention to the pirate ship and join players and coaches in thanking local servicemen and servicewomen for their sacrifices, including:
- From the Army, Drill Sergeant Christopher Young, Specialist Donishia Jackson,
- Captain (ret.) Robert Keeler and Lieutenant Colonel, Special Forces David J. O’Hearn;
- From the Marines, Colonel Jeff Cole and Captain John Skelding;
- From the Navy, Machinist Mate Chief Petty Officer/Submarine Service Charles Newcity
LEARN MORE: Military Appreciation
BUCS FOR A BETTER BAY MOMENT: DONATION TO TAMPA BAY SPORTS COMMISSION
Bucs for a Better Bay is the team’s far-reaching commitment to improving Tampa Bay today and for generations to come. On Sunday, the team will highlight this week’s Bucs for a Better Bay Moment: the Bucs Care Foundation’s contribution of $62,000 towards the Tampa Bay Sports Commission. This annual donation supports All-Star sporting events for Bay Area children as well as a high school football combine that, over the past four years, has helped more than 100 athletes earn college scholarships. The Buccaneers continue to build a better bay through a long-standing dedication to children and education.
BUCCANEERS ACADEMY 50/50 RAFFLE
At each Buccaneers home game, fans have the opportunity to participate in the Buccaneers Academy 50/50 Raffle, while supporting a worthwhile cause. Each raffle ticket purchased will go towards a huge cash prize, in which fifty percent of the net proceeds help support the team’s 24 Buccaneers Academies around the Tampa Bay area and other Bucs Care Foundation initiatives. The other fifty percent will go to one lucky winner. Tickets are available at kiosks located in section 106, 115, 131, 140 and each club level as well as mobile sellers throughout the stadium. For a complete list of rules and regulations, locate a kiosk or mobile seller on game day.
BUCCANEERS ACADEMY GAMEDAY FOR KIDS GUESTS
For each Buccaneers home game, the Bucs Care Foundation hosts 100 “Gameday for Kids” from the Buccaneers Academy program to promote academic achievement and positive behavior in children. Selected groups receive game tickets, t-shirts, food vouchers and Buccaneers flags by achieving goals set by their teachers. More than 16,000 youths and community members representing over 100 organizations from Tampa Bay have been rewarded through the annual program.
BUCS FOR A BETTER BAY
Bucs for a Better Bay is the team’s far-reaching commitment to making Tampa Bay better today and for generations to come. A key component is the Buccaneers Academy programming, through which the Buccaneers provide resources, enhanced curriculum, and hands-on participation from Buccaneers players and cheerleaders to over 14,000 underserved students at 24 elementary schools the team has adopted throughout Hillsborough County. Each of the schools in the Buccaneers Academy program, most of which are Title I schools, has also received a court-sized shade cover that provides an improved environment for students to safely participate in physical health and wellness activities.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers players, coaches, cheerleaders, alumni, and staff have an active role in community improvement through a variety of youth health and education initiatives, family outreach, and military support. Innovative partnerships between the Bucs Care Foundation and local nonprofit organizations provide assistance to thousands of Central Florida residents each year. Glazer Family Foundation initiatives including the Glazer Children’s Museum and the Glazer Family Foundation Vision Mobile continue to enhance the learning opportunities for Bay Area youths. To learn more, visit www.buccaneers.com/community.