Tampa Bay Buccaneers

CAPTAIN FEAR!

After a year-long effort, a name is chosen for the Buccaneers Mascot

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Tampa Bay's mascot, known from this day forward as Captain Fear, the Buccaneer, is feeling at home in Buccaneers Cove after years lost at sea

Throughout the process of selecting a name for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' new mascot, one word kept popping up again and again. Chad.

Chad? Chad, the muscle-bound, swashbuckling pirate captain? Chad, the feared denizen of Buccaneers Cove and the protector of the Bucs' home turf? Seriously?

No, no. Chad, as in the now-infamous ballot dimples of South Florida. Over a year ago, the Buccaneers began searching for a name for their new mascot, the amnesiac pirate captain who had been rescued at sea just weeks before. They even ran a vote on the process, only to run into numerous ballot-counting difficulties. One summer later, the votes are finally counted and the patient pirate has his name.

Captain Fear, the Buccaneer!

It is a fierce and worthy name, to be sure, but the selection process was tedious and fraught with controversy. There were, notably, the six boxes of uncounted votes found in a back corner of the cheerleaders' locker room at Raymond James Stadium. There were the votes cast last fall by the visiting Green Bay Packers, who apparently had great difficulty understanding the ballot. There were, of course, many ballots with chads in various stages of dimpling.

"We narrowly avoided intervention by the state Supreme Court," admitted Maury Wilks, the Buccaneers Director of Special Events. "There was some controversy along the way but, in the end, everyone is very pleased with the mascot's new name."

Indeed, Captain Fear will now patrol Raymond James Stadium and protect his mighty pirate ship in Buccaneers Cove with even greater ferocity. The naming of Captain Fear caps an ordeal of several years for the man who once served as the scourge of the Caribbean, only to see his ship, crew and life at sea swept away one evening by a terrible storm.

On Friday, June 2, 2000, the Clearwater Coast Guard rescued an unidentified, 6-2, 250-pound, bearded man from the choppy waters of Tampa Bay. Though he was suffering from amnesia and unable to tell the Coast Guard his name or origin, he remembered vaguely that he had been the powerful captain of a mighty pirate ship.

The memories slowly came back. One night while guiding his ship through an intense Caribbean storm, the famous captain was thrown overboard when the vessel was struck by lightning. He stayed afloat and managed to struggle onto a makeshift raft of wood planks, but he could not locate his ship in the furious storm. Amazingly, he had been adrift at sea ever since. His ship, meanwhile, drifted to shore off Tampa Bay, damaged but still seaworthy. It was rebuilt and docked permanently in Buccaneer Cove in Raymond James Stadium.

As they helped the huge seafarer regain his bearings that day, the Coast Guard recognized that same ship on the tattoo on the pirate's arm. They returned him to his ship in Buccaneer Cove on Saturday morning, just as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were beginning the 2000 Bank of America FanFest. The overjoyed captain took up residence on the ship and vowed never again to be separated from his vessel.

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