Jeffrey Burke, our latest Fan of the Week winner, has a room at home just for his Bucs memorabilia
The way Jeffrey Burke looks at it, he and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have grown up together.
Burke was born in the Bay area in 1975. A year later, the Buccaneer franchise began life. The two have been inseparable since.
Burke, whose father indoctrinated him into Buccaneer fanhood from day one, is this week's Buccaneers.com Fan of the Week. A Pinellas Park native, Burke entered the new contest on the team's official web site, sending in a 300-words-or-less argument as to why he should be considered the team's top fan.
The evidence is thick. Burke, who can sit in his special Buccaneers room at home and be nearly engulfed by personally meaningful memorabilia, says he collects 'anything and everything of the Bucs,' never to be sold. His collection will pass down to his sons, the new generation of Buc fans in Burke's household.
"Being a fan is like a marriage," wrote Burke. "You have to give total support win, lose or draw. You have to support your players and coaches, let them know you are there for them no matter what."
True to his word, Burke was at One Buccaneer Place early Saturday afternoon, helping a couple dozen die-hards see the team off to Tennessee. Buccaneers.com caught up with Burke bus-side, and ran him through the traditional Fan of the Week 10 Questions, with the results below.
As this week's winner, Burke has been invited to attend, with several guests, a closed Buccaneer practice next week. Fan of the Week winners from out of town will be sent a Buccaneer prize pick. To enter the competition for future weeks, please click here.
Burke: "My first memory of rooting for the team was sitting in the stands in the old stadium with my dad and asking, 'Where's (Richard) Batman Wood?' That man, he's still one of my favorite players. I guess the Batman symbols on his pads did something for me. I was born in 1975 and my dad's been a fan since the beginning. I was raised a Bucs' fan so I've been a fan my whole life."
2. What is your most prized Buccaneers possession?
Burke: "That's tough. I have so many. I'd have to say my Dave Moore-autographed cleats. I got them from a friend who's a radio DJ. I actually have some Shelton Quarles cleats now – I wore them last week and he got that big interception, so I've got to make that a tradition now. One of those two things, or maybe my authentic Lee Roy Selmon jersey (pictured)."
3. Do you have any superstitions or rituals that you follow for every game?
Burke: "Yes. Sundays, I go to the flea market with my sons. We all put on our jerseys and we go to the flea market and look for Bucs stuff. We come home and eat wings or, last week, we ate cheese. Then I take off my Karl Williams jersey, put on my Lee Roy Selmon jersey and sit down and watch the game. Now I have to wear my Shelton Quarles cleats."
4. Do you have a Buccaneers-decorated room? Please describe it.
Burke: "I have about 20 footballs, autographed by various players, old and new. I have pictures from the radio shows I go to, pictures with me and the players I've met – Todd Washington, Mark Royals, John McLaughlin. I have tons of autographed pictures. I probably have 100 of them, ranging from Charley Hannah to Warren Sapp."
5. Who is your favorite Buccaneers player?
Burke: "My current favorite player would either be Todd Washington or Marcus Jones. They've overcome a lot and stepped up their play tremendously to become, second string and a starter, (respectively)."
6. If you were the Buccaneers' general manager for a day, what move(s) would you make?
Burke: "Bring back Ryan Leaf. I think he is going to be a great quarterback in the future."
7. Describe the items you wear on game day.
Burke: "I wear a 1980 Lee Roy Selmon #63 jersey, white with the orange and red letters. I have a black pair of pants with the Bucs' symbol on them that I wear. And starting last week, I'm wearing Shelton Quarles cleats from the Dallas game. I wear my Mike Alstott hat, and that's pretty much it.
8. How does your family feel about your Buccaneers obsession?
Burke: "My girlfriend says I'm a Bucs freak, but it's what I love. I'm spending my money on something my kids will inherit, unlike some other things I could be out there spending it on.
9. Describe the Bucs' most memorable game since you began rooting for the team.
Burke: "I'd have to say it was the St. Louis game last year. Just the emotion of the game, the comeback, and Warrick Dunn jumping into the end zone."
10. Simply put, why are you a Buccaneers fan?
Burke: "It's my hometown. You have to cheer for your hometown. That, and I know a lot of players and they're nice. They're personable. I've met baseball players, and it's not the same way. It feels tight-knit with the Bucs. They know we're going to support them and they support us. That's a great thing."