The history of Buccaneer throwbacks
OK pop quiz - who did the Bucs play in their first-ever throwback game?
The Green Bay Packers in November 2009 I hear many of you say. "Wrong answer Hans, do you want to go for double jepoardy where the scores can really mount?"
That was the first official throwback game that coincided with the late Lee Roy Selmon being the inaugural member of the Ring of Honor at Raymond James Stadium but more of that later.
Because the first actual one was 15 years before in September 1994. The NFL was celebrating its 75th anniversary, or about 10 years before John Madden first went "boom thwack" on commentary and for two straight weeks, every NFL team wore a uniform from its history.
Each team had one home game in Weeks 3 and 4 to give fans a chance to celebrate the event / buy more merchandise (delete where you think appropriate). For the Bucs, it was a home game with the New Orleans Saints and then a road game with the Packers.
The Bucs chose to wear their original all-white uniforms from the 1977 season and proceeded to bring back many memories of that offensively-challenged squad by losing 7-9 to the Saints (Seth McClung blew the save) and then 30-3 to the Packers. This was the first sighting of Green Bay's hideous 1920 uniforms that were designed by an ancestor of New Kids on the Block.
Many NFL teams saw the throwback idea as a way to really embrace their histories (definitely sell more merchandise, no option here), but the Bucs resisted all calls to bring back their orange jerseys for many years, publicly supported by yours truly I have to admit.
Then in 2009 came Lee Roy Selmon day in Tampa. No.63 saw his name on the stadium wall, many former team-mates were there on the sidelines and the Bucs came out in orange once more for the first time since the 1996 road game in Arizona. The Bucs were 0-7 and still looking for Raheem's first win as a head coach.
And I was there on the Pirate Ship, watching it all unfold in glorious orange technicolour with Nick Houllis correlating every current Buccaneer to one who wore the same number back in the late 70s. And what a great day it was with the Bucs beating Green Bay 38-28 for Josh Freeman's first win in his first start.
Subsequent throwback games have seen a narrow loss to Atlanta in 2010 and one of the submission defeats at the end of last season to the Panthers. The Bucs are actually 47-66-1 in regular season games wearing orange jerseys and 1-2 in the current incarnation.
But one interesting sidebar to bear in mind when listening to the commentary is if an ill-informed journalist makes reference to the orange reminding him of the expansion 1976 season. "Wrong again Hans". The Bucs NEVER wore orange jerseys for any of their regular season games in their first season and only did so in their home pre-season opener with Miami.
You've been great, enjoy Roberta Flack and Peabo Bryson.