DT Anthony McFarland takes a moment before a game to greet the young men and women in his ticket program
Maybe you've seen them on television during a successful field goal, or as the network panned the field during intros. Perhaps you've seen them in person as you glanced around during a break in the action on the turf. Slogans, two, three or four words, usually, in white lettering on black banners hanging on the field walls at Raymond James Stadium: "Brooks' Bunch" or "Alstott's Army" or "Key's Kids" or "King's Court."
Are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers simply giving some recognition to their more prominent players and coaches with these enormous banners? A good guess, but no.
These banners actually represent program titles – say, "Booger's Bucs Can Wait" – putting names to the charitable groups and school children that a variety of community-minded Buccaneers invite each and every Buccaneers home game. The players and coaches represented on the banners have all purchased a segment of seats in the front rows behind their specific banners in the north and south end zones, and they use these prime blocks of seating as incentives and rewards in their charitable works.
Happily, these programs have been growing in number and scope in recent seasons, until the stadium walls have become nearly covered with their representative banners. One small problem, however: With the more vigorous turnover than usual in the Bucs' roster this offseason, there were several programs that suddenly needed to be replaced.
As it turns out, that wasn't a problem for long. With the very strong emphasis that General Manager Rich McKay and his staff continue to place on player character, the Buccaneers were fortunate to bring on a whole new crew of community-minded men, from TE Ken Dilger to QB Rob Johnson. In addition, several returning Buccaneers who have conducted other charitable programs have now joined the ticket-program ranks, including QB Brad Johnson and T Kenyatta Walker.
New Buccaneers Head Coach Jon Gruden was the first on board with a new program this spring, followed quickly by Dilger, Walker, both Johnsons, G Kerry Jenkins, WR Joe Jurevicius, WR Keenan McCardell and RB Michael Pittman.
This new crop of players and coaches will join FB Mike Alstott, LB Derrick Brooks, C Jeff Christy, WR Keyshawn Johnson, QB Shaun King, S John Lynch, DT Anthony "Booger" McFarland, LB Shelton Quarles, DE Simeon Rice, WR Karl Williams and T Jerry Wunsch in the program. All of these men will help to bring joy and excitement of a Bucs' game to many who could not otherwise have been in attendance.
In all, these community-minded Buccaneers host over 400 youth per game and touch the lives of over 4,000 kids during the course of the season. A complete rundown of the player and coach ticket programs on tap for the 2002 season follows.