Bay area students used letters to Buc headquarters to simultaneously root the team on and learn valuable lessons
Twelve wins, the most in franchise history. A playoff scoring advantage of 106-37. Nine defensive touchdowns scored in 19 games. More than two interceptions per game since opening day.
Want to know how impressive the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' run to the World Championship was? Do the math.
Students across the Bay area have been using the best season in West Florida sports history to reinforce math lessons, to study geography and to work on their writing skills. As Buccaneer fever gripped the area, hundreds of classrooms around Hillsborough, Pinellas and surrounding counties took the time to simultaneously send their congratulations to team headquarters and further their studies.
In Mrs. Miller's second-grade class at Tarpon Elementary, for instance, the students used their Buc enthusiasm to further a lesson in writing friendly letters. "You (the team) and your coaches have given your fans a lot of enjoyment," said the full-class introduction that accompanied the bundle of letters from Tarpon Elementary. "Now we hope these letters will also bring you a small amount of pleasure."
Mrs. Miller's class sent that congratulatory note on January 21, before the Bucs defeated Oakland in Super Bowl XXXVII.
The Buccaneers received letters, cards, drawings and notes of congratulations from classes ranging from kindergarten to the sixth grade. Many wanted to wish the Bucs well going into the biggest game in team history; others were sent after Tampa Bay's decisive win over the Raiders on January 26.
Amazingly, letters even arrived from Pennsylvania, just days after the team's NFC Championship Game victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on January 19. Though one or two young Eagle fans were understandably still too loyal to the home team to get behind the Bucs for the Super Bowl, others wished the team well against the Raiders. Clearly, the NFL is as valuable in teaching lessons of sportsmanship and fair play as it is in the arenas of math and geography.
"Our sixth grade students are sending their wishes for a safe, fair and injury-free game," said Mrs. Dancho's class at Apollo-Ridge Middle School in Spring Church, Pennsylvania. "We all wish you the best of luck in Super Bowl XXXVII! It is a great honor for you to have achieved this goal, and an even greater responsibility as a role model for America's children. Congratulations on your position, earned by hard work, determination and discipline.
"Have a terrific game! No matter the outcome, remember you are champions if you do your best! We'll be rooting for you."
Of course, letters from classrooms and individual children pour into One Buccaneer Place throughout the year and are routinely displayed on bulletin boards along the hallway leading to the team meeting rooms. The Bucs' Super Bowl chase, however, led to an overwhelming show of support through the mail. Hopefully, it also assisted in a successful math lesson here and there.
To view a sampling of the letters received by the Buccaneers from local classrooms, please click here.