How the 1976 Bucs were put together
The line about over 140 players being involved in the expansion season has been well documented over the years. But just how did that number come about? And where did all these wannabe Buccaneers come from?
The first method of obtaining players was the expansion draft on April 2, 1976. The Bucs and Seahawks both acquired 39 players each. The Seahawks picked first in this draft and the Bucs first in the actual NFL draft.
The actual college draft at the end of April brought another 20 players with additional selections being granted to the two expansion teams in rounds 2 through 5.
Naturally the Bucs also scoured the list of undrafted free agents and former NFL/CFL players looking for a job and picked up another 56 players in that route. Trades brought a further seven players into camp.
The final method of player acquisition were waivers (11) as other teams reduced their rosters, and then free agents signed through the season (16).
How the 1976 Bucs were then cut down to size
And the Bucs had to be cut down to size. The actual playing roster limit during the season was 45 with two players named inactive each week.
Four players did not even attend training camp at all so were excused the lifelong association with the team, and another three were traded before training camp even opened in July 1976.
Anthony Davis had been part of the expansion draft but chose to play that year in the CFL, leaving 141 to actually wear the white and orange in some form once camp opened.
27 players were released during camp itself, another 28 were released during the six pre-season games, and a final 13 were released before the start of the regular season.
17 players were placed on Injured Reserve (more than the number of touchdowns scored by the team), and 12 were released during the 1976 season, leaving 44 on the roster when the final play took place against the New England Patiots.