Like me, most NFL fans immediately thought that the Bucs’ new look pretty much resembled the old one.
Upon closer inspection, only true Buccaneers fans will probably note the few minor changes. For example, the pirate flag on the pewter helmets is bigger. The skeleton’s eye sockets appear larger. And, the rich red color is now even more vibrant.
However, as per the hilarious FOX Sports Florida comment from @cranberrypanda, “the new logo design is like polishing a turd.”
Famished football fans in the Tampa Bay area will certainly not disagree with @cranberrypanda’s point because they are hungry for more far more than some simple logo design changes.
The once woeful Bucs, or Yucs, started their NFL history in 1976 by losing an unprecedented 26 straight games.
In addition, the Pewter and Red still claim the less than flattering first place spot with the NFL’s worst winning percentage of all-time.
At 39% Tampa Bay has posted an overall 239-371-1 career franchise record, dead last among 32 NFL teams.
However, let’s give credit where credit is due. One of those 222 wins came in Super Bowl XXXLVII in 2002. That’s a distinction that 11 other NFL franchises cannot yet make.
In recent years, the Bucs’ struggles have continued. The team hasn’t made the post season since 2007.
Last year’s MRSA outbreak sidelined three key players.
The team battled a made for TMZ off-field saga of innuendo and circumspection surrounding the release of former first round draft pick and starting QB Josh Freeman.
And finally, second year coach Greg Schiano failed miserably to skipper a teetering Buccaneer ship.
Thankfully, Bucco Bruce, the original mustachioed swashbuckling Buccaneer mascot is long gone. And, so are the team’s garish cream sickle color uniforms.
But, they’re only fashionable changes to form and not essential changes to substance.
Unfortunately, Hall of Fame DT and former Buccaneer Super Bowl champ Warren Sapp still remains as an unofficial mouthpiece for the organization. Old 99 was on hand yesterday to announce the new look Tampa Bay logo and other anticipated uniform changes.
Like so many other sports fans in the Tampa Bay area, I was never a fan of the boorish bully Warren Sapp. Certainly his play on the field merited Hall of Fame induction. But, his arrogance, cockiness and, at times, dirty play turned me right off. His presence looms largely and will be a stumbling block if the Bucs’ are serious about substantive change in their organization.
Sapp has still not matured into the disciplined, refined man a Hall of Fame inductee warrants. His unchecked womanizing, unnecessary verbal attacks on recent HOF choice Michael Strahan and unbelievable squandering of an estimated $80M+ personal football fortune are well known. Plus, his well documented bad behavior should never afford him the privilege of speaking for a professional football franchise.
If Tampa Bay management wants a fresh start for the Buccaneers, then a new logo and uniform makeovers are not the only answers.
Distancing themselves from Sapp and the myriad of druggies, batterers and miscreants who have paraded through the Tampa Bay locker room over the years would be a much better start.
Positive institutional and culture changes must be implemented.
Mental toughness, respect for authority, tolerance in the locker room as well as disciplined players both on and off the field are the prescriptions for positive change which will lead to winning ways.
Hard nosed, defensive minded and relationship oriented new head coach Lovie Smith is a terrific move to right the Buccaneer ship.
Now, he’s a substantive change worth noting, and the Bucs’ new coach will be worth watching in the upcoming 2014 NFL season.
MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!