© St. Petersburg Times, published January 26, 2003
New on the Bucs' bandwagon? Welcome aboard. Sorry, it's a little crowded. We know there are questions about the team and the big game. We've got answers, and if you need a primer to get you ready for tonight's party, check with our friends in Arts & Entertainment.
Chucky is an ugly and disturbed doll that kills people in a horror flick, and he is the most popular figure in Tampa these days. Well, besides his twin, Bucs coach Jon Gruden, whose facial contortions earned him the nickname years ago. And it could be worse. They could have named him after an orange winking pirate with a knife between his teeth.
Okay here's a quick rundown of some terms from the Bucs' bleak years (They lost at least 10 games a season each year from 1983-96):
BUCCO BRUCE: The ultra-serious, though often mocked, winking pirate face (the guy had a knife between his teeth, for crying out loud) that graced the Buccaneers old orange, red and white helmets. Bruce was dumped in 1997 for the more intimidating and sophisticated skull and crossbones.
THE BIG SOMBRERO: Officially known as Tampa Stadium (and later, Houlihan's Stadium), it was originally built in 1967 for University of Tampa football games and dreams of something bigger. ESPN's Chris Berman started the nickname, and the stadium was torn down in 1998 to make room for a much-needed parking lot to the glitzier Raymond James Stadium.
THE YUCKANEERS: It's often shortened to Yucks. The name seemed fitting when the Bucs consistently posted a losing record. The term still creeps up from time to time when the Bucs goof.
CREAMSICLE: A orange sherbet and vanilla frozen treat on a stick. Also, a description of the old Buccaneers' uniform colors. Hey, orange was a hot color in 1976!
SWASH-BUCLERS: The old Buccaneers orange-clad, puffy-sleeved cheerleading squad, which was reincarnated as the red-clad, puffy-sleeved "Tampa Bay Buccaneers Cheerleaders."
REPUS BOWL: A 1983 game between the Houston Oilers and the Bucs, who were the worst teams in the NFL at the time with 1-11 records. Hint: "Repus" is "super" spelled backward.
The NFL pays for up to 150 rings at $5,000 per ring (plus adjustments for increases in gold and diamonds) for the winners. It also pays for 125 pieces of jewelry for the losing team, which may not cost more than one-half the price set for the Super Bowl ring.
That's a lot of money. What about the trophy?
The Lombardi Trophy is made by Tiffany & Co. in New York and costs $12,000.