The Buccaneer Battle Flag has become a cherished playoff tradition at Raymond James Stadium
Jeff Garcia has seen the Buccaneer Battle Flags before. He might enjoy them a bit more this time around.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' signature playoff symbol – the Battle Flags – are back! When fans arrive for the Bucs' Wild Card game against the New York Giants on Sunday, they will find a Battle Flag waiting in every seat in Raymond James Stadium, courtesy of two of the team's Pewter Partners, Bright House Networks and Publix.
The Battle Flags were first introduced during the 2002 playoffs, and they produced a stunning sight. With a rolling sea of red and white at their backs on January 12, 2003, the Buccaneers demolished the San Francisco 49ers, 31-6.
Garcia was the quarterback for the 49ers that day. This time, the flags will wave for him as he tries to lead the Buccaneers back to the Super Bowl, where that 2002 playoff run ended.
Thanks to the Bucs' victory that day and the incredible visual effect the flags produced, they have become a playoff tradition cherished by both fans and players. When Tampa Bay qualified for the playoffs again in 2005, linebacker Derrick Brooks lobbied for the flags to return, and they did. This time around, he had no doubt that the flags would be waving on Sunday.
"Let's make it loud; let's make it proud," said Brooks to Buccaneer fans. "Let's wave those red and white flags and go out and get a victory."
This is the fans' chance to once again emerge as the loudest 12th man in the NFL during the playoffs. The San Francisco game three years ago launched the Buccaneers on their successful pursuit the Super Bowl XXXVII title; the Bucs are hoping their home game against the Giants on Sunday is the start of another championship run.
As in the 2002 and 2005 playoffs, an even number of red and white flags will be distributed throughout the stadium, producing the effect of rolling colors when they are waved in unison. The red flags bear the Bucs' skull-and-crossed-swords logo; the white flags are printed with the team's alternate ship logo.
The Buccaneer Battle Flags are 2 feet by 1.5 feet, making them an exceptional keepsake for after the game (you can wave them in your living room during the next round of the playoffs!). Because they are mounted on wooden sticks, an item TSA prohibits from being brought into the stadium on game day, fans may not bring them back for subsequent games.
The Battle Flags will definitely make an impact on Sunday's contest, however. If you're attending the playoff game against the Giants, get ready to raise your flag and be the 12th man!