With key crew members now in place, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are about to set sail on the most exciting voyage in team history.
And now is the perfect time to, "Climb Aboard!"
In 2010, the Buccaneers chose to "Unite and Conquer," as a team of young and rising stars came together to shock the NFL with a 10-6 record. Led by 22-year-old franchise quarterback Josh Freeman, the Bucs leapt into playoff contention with the youngest roster in the NFL, establishing a starting point for what the team believes will be a long run of success.
That journey begins in 2011, one of the most highly-anticipated campaigns in franchise history. Throughout the season, the Buccaneers will be emphasizing a new theme designed to share their enthusiasm with a fan base that has traditionally been one of the most passionate in the NFL.
It's not just a theme, but an opportunity, a promise of exciting days ahead to be shared by the Buccaneers and their fans:
"There is an electric feeling in the community about our team," said Jason Layton, the Buccaneers' senior director of sales and advertising. "Our fans can tell that the future is bright for the Buccaneers, and they want to be a part of it. We're encouraging them to climb aboard right now, because it's going to be a great ride."
Fans will notice the team's new theme included in many of its sales and advertising initiatives; it has already appeared on several Bay area billboards and newspaper advertisements. The theme is often paired with images of the iconic Pirate Ship located in Buccaneers Cove at Raymond James Stadium. The ship, with its cannons that fire every time the team finds the end zone, is one of the most recognizable stadium features in the world.
Obviously, the "Climb Aboard!" theme also fits with the nautical nature of the Buccaneer nickname and many of the team's promotions and gameday entertainment features. For instance, fans attending Buccaneer games at Raymond James Stadium in recent years have cheered loudly for the animated ship battle segment that appears on the BucVision videoboards just before kickoff.
Last season, the Buccaneers' home crowd also had reason to cheer one of the most entertaining teams in the NFL. Fans were treated to the emergence of not only Freeman but such other promising young stars as running back LeGarrette Blount, wide receivers Mike Williams and Arrelious Benn, defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, safety Cody Grimm and many others. Combined with such cornerstone players as cornerback Ronde Barber, left tackle Donald Penn, center Jeff Faine and tight end Kellen Winslow, these newcomers produced the greatest single-season turnaround in franchise history. In April, the Buccaneers used the 2011 draft to add even more talent to the roster, most notably selecting defensive ends Adrian Clayborn and Da'Quan Bowers in the first two rounds.
That draft was the team's third with General Manager Mark Dominik and Head Coach Raheem Morris at the helm. Dominik and Morris were elevated to their current positions in 2009 by an ownership that was determined to put a plan for long-term on-field success in place. That plan is clearly taking hold, and the Buccaneers believe they will soon be chasing another Super Bowl championship.
And that, of course, is the ultimate destination on the Buccaneer voyage that is about to begin. Now is the time – there is no better moment for everybody to, "Climb Aboard!"