The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (often shortened as the Bucs) are a professional American football franchise based in Tampa, Florida. The Buccaneers currently compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member team of the National Football Conference (NFC) South division. Along with the Seattle Seahawks, the team joined the NFL in 1976 as an expansion team. The Bucs played their first season in the American Football Conference (AFC) West division as part of the 1976 expansion plan, whereby each new franchise would play every other franchise over the first two years. After the season, the club switched conferences with the Seahawks and became a member of the NFC Central division. During the 2002 league realignment, the Bucs joined three former NFC West teams to form the NFC South. The club is owned by the Glazer family, and plays its home games at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.
The Buccaneers are the first post-merger expansion team to win a division title, win a playoff game, and to host and play in a conference championship game; all three accomplishments occurred during the 1979 season. They are also the first team since the merger to complete a winning season when starting 10 or more rookies, which happened in the 2010 season. In 1976 and 1977, the Buccaneers lost their first 26 games. After a brief winning era in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the team suffered through 14 consecutive losing seasons. Then, for a 10-year period, they were consistent playoff contenders and won Super Bowl XXXVII at the end of the 2002 season, but have not yet returned to the Super Bowl; thus the Bucs, along with the New Orleans Saints and New York Jets, are the only NFL teams to win their lone Super Bowl appearance.
Over the course of 41 seasons, the Buccaneers have compiled an overall record of 256–402–1, with a regular-season record of 250–393–1 and a playoff record of 6–9.
The Tampa Bay expansion franchise was originally awarded to Tom McCloskey, a construction company owner from Philadelphia. McCloskey soon entered a financial dispute with the NFL, so the league found a replacement in Hugh Culverhouse, a wealthy tax attorney from Jacksonville. Culverhouse’s handshake deal to purchase the Los Angeles Rams from the estate of Dan Reeves was thwarted by Robert Irsay’s purchase of the team, which he then traded to Carroll Rosenbloom in exchange for the Baltimore Colts, a complete trade of teams between two owners. Culverhouse had long been alleged to be in line for an expansion franchise through a settlement of his antitrust lawsuits in which he accused the owners of conspiracy to prevent his purchase of the Rams. A name-the-team contest resulted in the nickname “Buccaneers”, a reference to the pirate legends of Southwest Florida. The team name was opposed by St. Petersburg businessmen on the grounds that it emphasized Tampa at the expense of other Bay Area cities, until NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle himself met with them to encourage their support. Their uniforms and “Bucco Bruce” winking pirate logo were designed by Tampa Tribune artist Lamar Sparkman, with colors drawn from the state’s four major college teams: orange from the universities of Miami and Florida, and red from Florida State and the University of Tampa. They were one of the few teams to wear white home uniforms, forcing opponents to wear their dark uniforms in Tampa’s 90° fall heat. The team’s first home was Tampa Stadium, which had recently been expanded to seat just over 72,500 fans. Steve Spurrier was the quarterback for Tampa Bay during their expansion season.
Captain Fear, a Caribbean pirate captain, is the official mascot of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the National Football League. He has blue eyes, black hair, thick eyebrows, and a full beard. He has been the mascot of the Buccaneers since June 2000.
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