Are the Bucs at risk for flirting with orange?

by Gary Shelton on July 15, 2023

in general

Saturday, 4 a.m.

Eventually, polka dots are going to come back into fashion. You heard it here first.

So will bow ties, maybe even polka-dotted bow ties. And bell-bottoms. And mood rings. Eventually, everything recycles.

How else can you explain the renewed fascination with the Tampa Bay Bucs and their creamsicle jerseys? (Except for the jerseys the Bucs will try to sell.)

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I mean, weren’t the orange uniforms more or less beaten off of the Bucs? For 21 seasons, the creamsicle pirates flopped around the bottom of the NFL. In 21 seasons wearing the orange (and its complementary jerseys), the Bucs had 19 losing seasons. They went 0-26. 

Then they changed colors, and they started to win. In the 26 seasons since switching to red, the team has made 10 playoffs. It’s won two Super Bowls.

Ah, but people like a blast from the past, don’t they? I suspect if the old Bucs wore leather helmets, there would be a movement to wear leather helmets for a game. Maybe they could be painted orange.

So I get it. Things from yesterday are cool. Why, Lee Roy Selmon wore orange. Doug Williams wore orange. There for a short time, Derrick Brooks and Warren Sapp and John Lynch all wore orange. On the other hand, so did Vinny Testaverde and Steve Spurrier and Booker Reese. Bo Jackson refused to wear it (although he had worn orange and blue in college).

When the Bucs decided to change their colors, a long time ago, the players were ecstatic. Anything to signal a new day, they argued. And while they haven’t always been great, they’ve been good often enough.

The old Bucs’ great Hardy Nickerson used to tell a story. When players would go to the Pro Bowl, they would get team gear — caps, jerseys, sweatbands —  from the equipment manager to swap with other Pro Bowlers.

But when Nickerson would show up, he found that no one wanted to trade with him. “Nobody has anything that goes with orange,” Nickerson said.

So be warned. You are messing with bad juju when you bring out the orange again. Who know? You might be infected by a case of Lars Tate.

Oh, it’s possible to win in orange. They do it at Tennessee. They do it at Texas. Here, those jerseys went on some bad quarterbacks who were directed by some lousy coaches. Intellectually speaking, it has more to do with that than the color of the fabric.

Looking back, there was nothing wrong with the Bucs jerseys.

Except for the footprints all over them.

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