When Rich McKay took the podium at One Buccaneer Place on June 16, he had clutched in his right hand a distinctive off-white hat with an orange band. As he spoke for the next few minutes, often emotionally, about his late father and former Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach John McKay, he laid the hat down on the front of the podium where it could be seen by the audience.
No one had to ask why.
If witty one-liners were John McKay's conversational trademark ("Well, we didn't block, but we made up for it by not tackling") and building an NFL playoff contender from scratch was McKay's professional legacy in Tampa, then that hat was his signature look.
And now, every fan who attends Sunday's game against the Atlanta Falcons at Raymond James Stadium can copy that look, thanks to the Buccaneers and their Pewter Partner, Hess.
A carefully duplicated replica of John McKay's signature hat will be the game day giveaway on Sunday when the Buccaneers take on the Falcons in a key NFC South matchup. Every fan will receive one of the hats as they enter the stadium, regardless of age or entry gate. The giveaway will help fans commemorate two special events taking place that afternoon: The second Throwback Game in franchise history and the induction of McKay into the Buccaneers Ring of Honor.
At a special halftime ceremony, the Buccaneers will make McKay the second inductee into the Ring of Honor at Raymond James Stadium, and the legendary coach's name will take its place on the stadium façade next to that of inaugural inductee Lee Roy Selmon. McKay's son, former Buccaneers General Manager and current Falcons President Rich McKay, will take part in the ceremony, accepting the posthumous honor on his father's behalf.
It was the younger McKay who helped the Buccaneers perfect this one-of-a-kind giveaway, too. To help the Buccaneers get every detail of the banded floppy hat right, McKay sent one of his father's original hats to Tampa as the perfect reference. The result is a lid every Buccaneer fan will remember, whether it be from attending Buccaneer games at Tampa Stadium in the '70s and '80s or, for the younger fans, seeing the coach captured on the sideline in pictures.
The replica hats were produced specifically for the Throwback Game and McKay's induction on Sunday and will not be available in stores. It is truly a unique keepsake for Buccaneer fans and, due to the detailed replication that was achieved through several rounds of designs, sure to become a collector's item.
The hats might even come in handy in the early hours of Sunday's 4:15 game, if the Bucs are graced with a sunny afternoon for their big showdown with the Falcons. Fans wishing to emulate McKay by wearing their new hats can complete the look by flipping the bill up in back, just like the Bucs' founding head coach used to do.