Following a very encouraging offseason, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are likely to have a new look in 2005. Their jerseys definitely will.
The Buccaneers, who entered the NFL as the league's 27th franchise in 1976, will play their 30th season this fall. To commemorate the occasion, the team will place a special 30th Season patch on the front of the right shoulder of its jerseys, to be worn throughout the 2005 campaign. The patch will bear the team's striking new 30th Season logo, created by NFL designers and unveiled on Tuesday.
This marks the first time that the team has worn a patch on its jersey since 1994, when the entire league wore an NFL 75th Anniversary patch on the front of the left shoulder. In this case, the Buccaneers wanted to recognize the strength of the franchise as it heads toward The Big 3-0.
"We have had 30 wonderful years in Tampa, and there are many more ahead," said Mike Newquist, the Buccaneers' senior director of business administration. "We've come a long way in our first 29 seasons, winning a Super Bowl and becoming one of the league's most stable and popular franchises, and our fans have been with us the entire way. We wanted to find a way to celebrate the end of our third decade in Tampa."
The new logo bears a large "30" on a stylized football, with a banner highlighting the team's first season (1976) and its 30th (2005). The logo is rendered in the team colors of red, pewter and black and is 3.5 inches tall by 4.5 inches wide.
The Buccaneers' 30 years in the league and in Tampa encompass a lot of memorable history. Enduring much more difficult expansion rules than more recent additions have faced, the team struggled through a 2-26 record in its first two seasons. However, behind the league's top-ranked defense, led by future Hall of Fame defensive end Lee Roy Selmon, the Bucs advanced to the NFC Championship Game in 1979, only their fourth season in the league. That amazingly quick rise led to three playoff appearances in the franchise's first seven years.
The Bucs fell into an even longer string of difficult seasons in the 1980s and early '90s, but pulled out of it impressively after the team's purchase by Malcolm Glazer. Under the Glazer family's direction, the team donned bold new uniforms, moved into a new, state-of-the-art stadium and became a perennial playoff contender. In 2002, the Bucs finished their fifth playoff campaign in six seasons with the franchise's first Super Bowl title.
The Bucs are confident that their 30th season will be a positive addition to the team's growing legacy. The new logo, and the jersey patch to be worn by the likes of Derrick Brooks, Ronde Barber and Michael Clayton, will remind Buccaneer fans on game day of how far the franchise has come.