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Reaction from Tampa Bay

By Times staff writers
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 20, 2003

Jimmie Giles, Bucs tight end, 1978-86:

"After all those years, it's kind of unbelievable, but hey, it's true. I can only imagine what those guys feel like. I went to the NFC Championship Game (1979) and I know what that felt like before that game. But the Super Bowl? I can only imagine. It makes me feel good to see it finally happen. ... I thought they were going to get there in the Tony Dungy era, and you do have to give Tony some credit for building some of this team. But you have to give (Jon) Gruden a lot of credit. I think for the most part he was the final piece to the puzzle."

Judy Genshaft, University of South Florida president:

"I'm so proud. The Bucs really won solidly. Now we're ready to win in San Diego."

Richard Wood, Bucs linebacker, 1976-84. Was an honorary captain for the team this season. He participated in the coin toss and stood on the sideline for the game:

"I was nervous and excited all day. My wife said I was getting too intense this morning, but I told her this was important. Tampa has waited for this for a long, long time. ... The only thing I wish is that coach (John) McKay was here to see it. I know that would have made him so happy."

Pat Frank, Hillsborough County commissioner:

"It was exciting. I mean I watched the darn thing. I admit I'm not much of a football aficionado but it was too enticing. It was a wonderful victory and it's wonderful to win a football game, but there are other issues as equally important if not more so."

Mark Cotney, Bucs strong safety, 1976-84:

"You have to let it sink in, I mean, we're going to the Super Bowl. It's hard starting a game like that, but my wife said it's destiny and maybe she's right. ... This franchise doesn't have any ghosts in the closet anymore. Because now they've won a real cold game, they won a playoff game on the road and they're going to the Super Bowl."

Dick Beard, chairman of USF Board of Trustees:

"I think it's great for Tampa and the Tampa Bay area. I thought we had a good chance to win but we had so many things against us. Gruden just mentally got our team psyched up."

Mike Simmonds, Bucs offensive guard, 1989:

"It's real special for everybody in Tampa, especially for people who've been cheering for the team the whole time. ... I've got a little cheese steak present for Gruden. We ordered some cheese steaks for the game. I have one left and I'm going to go down to One Buc Place and try to give it to him. I guarantee it will be the best one he's ever had, for sure."

Randy Crowder, Bucs nose tackle, 1978-80:

"Everybody needs to enjoy this because it may never happen again. You have to be good, but you also need a little luck. It's a remarkable thing. ... I couldn't be happier for everybody, the team, the city, everybody."

Leonard Levy, who has led efforts to bring Super Bowls to Tampa:

"To be honest, I wasn't comfortable that they would win it. I was pleasantly surprised by the way they played. Jon Gruden's done a fantastic job. I'm a believer of the offense now."

-- Compiled by Scott Purks and Susan Thurston.

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