© St. Petersburg Times, published January 26, 2003
It is great to finally see a Buccaneers quarterback in the Super Bowl who is currently playing for the Buccaneers! Go Brad! Go Bucs!
-- Judy Howell, Pinellas Park
One score and seven years ago, a football team was brought forth to this area. Conceived in revelry and dedicated to the position of one day winning the Super Bowl. That team meets the Raiders today, testing whether it, or any team, so received and dedicated can endure.
All its fans will meet today in various places, hoping and praying that the team can prevail. All true Bucs fans will meet today to pay tribute to those brave warriors who lay it all on the line. Dressed in their red and pewter, they will do their best to pull their team through.
Abraham Lincoln may have said it better, but he never attended a Bucs game.
-- Weldon Comerford, Seminole
The Buccaneers are a group of individuals whose only competition lies within. Their fulfillment comes from putting it all on the line. Their minds see all possibilities, anything they can imagine and more. They are driven by their souls, unbounded by space and time. They have no limits.
Their passion is invincible, indestructible. It never dies. Therefore, they are immortal while their skills are always evolving. They are free to react spontaneously to any obstacles before them. No complicated challenges exist in their quest. Only pure simplicity in the new realms that have yet to be explored for the Buccaneers.
I have been a fan from Day 1 and always will be no matter what you all face. ThreePeat, you all have what it takes. So remember, it's not all about the money next year. Myself and Tampa Bay love you guys.
-- Glenn Martyn, Gibbs High 1988/UCF 1993
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers finally have made it to the big dance. The town has been entranced and overcome with team spirit. While few "experts" picked the Bucs to conquer the mighty Eagles at the Vet, this town was with them win or lose.
But they won and are preparing for the game many of us in Tampa have been waiting our entire lives to see. I remember when we had our first Monday night game in what seemed like an eternity.
The town was buzzing, and I felt vindicated for cheering on the likes of Errict Rhett and Steve DeBerg.
When the team started winning, losing felt even worse. In 1995, when the team started 5-2, the playoffs appeared to be not only in reach, but a certainty.
After a monumental collapse, a new era was ushered in.
New owners and a new coach began to turn things around. The Bucs suddenly shifted from lovable losers to lovable losers who can win. We got to the playoffs in 1997, and the words "Super Bowl" were occasionally whispered after we beat Detroit. Then the magic died. Brett Favre got the best of us.
The next year, there were no playoffs. Arizona took our seat at the big boy's table. Then came 1999, the year. Shaun King, a hometown rookie, led us to not only an 11-5 record but to a dramatic comeback in the divisional playoffs and to the NFC Championship Game in St. Louis. The defense was stiff. Bert Emanuel's hands were soft, but we lost all the same.
After two more years of playoff letdowns, a coaching changed seemed inevitable. While Tony Dungy's defense was stingy, the offense's most consistent play remained the punt.
Enter Jon Gruden. His journey with the Buccaneers wasn't a year of triumph. It was a sweeping epic of nearly three decades. We weren't supposed to beat the Eagles. We aren't supposed to beat the Raiders. But like our players have done for 27 years, they're going to give it their best shot.
This town is riding the shoulders of our representatives in San Diego. We aren't saying, "Just win baby!" That would be too much to ask. Play your hearts out, Bucs. You have an entire city behind you. But if in the end, the Raiders have more points on the scoreboard, hold your heads up. Being there is enough.
-- Mark Ingram, Tampa