Tampa Bay Buccaneers Uniform Jersy History
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were awarded the NFL’s 27th franchise on April 24, 1974. On Oct. 30, 1974,
The franchise’s first season was in 1976, The 1976 road uniform, worn by the likes of QB Steve Spurrier, running back Ed Williams, and tight end Bob Moore, is quite unique! This was the only year in the franchise’s history where the team had orange jersey numbers with red trim.
If you look very closely at the Buccaneer logo on the helmet, you will see a splash of white underneath the chin, presumably the Buccaneer’s neckline or shirt collar. By the early 90’s, this design element would be changed to the same Florida orange color as the face. A small but perceptible change that causes football historians a bit of joy when they discover differences in uniforms.
Compare the 1977 road white jersey to the 1976 version, and you’ll notice the team has reversed the color scheme – now making the numbers red, and the surrounding trim orange. The belt has also been changed from a reddish / orange color to white.
The 1979 home orange uniform, worn by the likes of QB Doug Williams, and young, talented running back Ricky Bell, showcases a rich, orange jersey – complete with white numbers and a white pant / belt ensemble.
The orange home jersey, as worn by running back James Wilder, QB Doug Williams, and tight end Jimmie Giles, showcases a very unusual ‘mesh’ design! Look closely at the body of the ’88 home jersey and you’ll notice the spacing is much wider than on the shoulders and the sleeves, suggesting the fact that it was made of two quite different materials. This happens quite routinely nowadays, but it was quite ground breaking at the time. Another interesting tidbit is that the numbers and red trim are not sewn-on to the shirt, they’re rubberized and “melted” onto the jersey.
The uniform is shown with a Florida Orange towel, complete with a red Buccaneer, hanging on the front of the pants. This type of towel was used by wide out Kevin House and other members of the receiving core – to keep their hands dry. You will discover several Buccaneers players utilizing this towel.
The 1985 uniform, as worn by James Wilder, QB Steve DeBerg and kicker Donald Igwebuike, has some distinct, interesting features to it.
First, the shoulders are a solid, non-mesh material, and thus made of a different material than the body. The body is a ‘mesh’ fabric, with wide gaps, presumably to keep the athletes cool in the Florida heat.
On the left shoulder is a patch celebrating the team’s 10th anniversary. The top portion of the patch (white) is the Buccaneer (in red). The lower half of the patch (red) consists of a giant ‘10’ and the phrase ‘years’ – all in white. The numbers and trim on the jersey are still rubberized, and are red in color – complete with the traditional Florida Orange trim.
Like many other NFL teams located in subtropical climates, the Buccaneers traditionally wear their white road jerseys at home during the first half of the season – forcing opponents to wear their darker colors during the hot summers and autumns in Tampa. Additionally, the visitors' bench of Raymond James Stadium is located on the east side of the stadium, which is in direct sunlight for games that kick off at 1:00 p.m. Eastern games. The west sideline is in the shade. In 1989, the Buccaneers started to wear white at home to accommodate Vinny Testaverde's color blindness.
Vinny Testaverde had bad performances in the darker (orange) uniforms and persuaded head coach Ray Perkins to change the team's home uniform to white. In certain years such as 1989–1991, and in 1996 — the last year of the original uniforms, the Bucs generally wore white at home for the entire season including preseason. Since the new uniforms were adopted, the Bucs wear the red jerseys for the last few home games, and for nearly all night home games. In the preseason, the Bucs may or may not wear white for their home games. The Bucs have worn their red jerseys for all home postseason games except for a January 6, 2008 playoff match against the New York Giants, where the Bucs wore white instead, as the temperature that day was unseasonably high.
The 1992 uniform shown here showcases several new features – both the shirt collar and pants have been converted from white to orange. Also, the size of the mesh holes, so large in the early 80’s, have been decreased so as not to be quite so noticeable as to make the jersey almost transparent. And if you look very closely at the helmet, you might notice that the logo has been altered slightly right below the Buccaneer’s chin, the neckline or shirt collar is no longer white, it has become orange. A small change yes, but a change nonetheless that someone took pains to implement.
One other note about the uniform: If you look closely at almost all NFL uniforms worn from 1991 on, you’ll note a small NFL shield patch on the jersey’s neckline. Most NFL uniforms added the NFL logo patch to the neck, and to the upper left thigh of the pants, beginning in 1991. The only major exception to this practice was in 1994 when the teams wore their throwback uniforms – in most of these cases the teams did not wear the NFL shield patch.
If you look very carefully at the 1993 road white uniform, you might just see it. There, just on top of the orange & red stripe pattern on the right sleeve is some writing. If you saw a profile of the right arm, you’d be able to read the tribute paid by the Buccaneers to the only owner the team had known - long-time owner Hugh Culverhouse – who passed away prior to the 1993 season. It simply reads: ‘Mr. C’.
In 1994, the NFL helped celebrate its 75th anniversary with the introduction of ‘throwback’ jerseys – which every team wore at least once over the course of the season, sometimes numerous times.
The Bucs’ 1994 orange throwback home jersey, as worn by QB Trent Dilfer and linebacker Hardy Nickerson, was a tribute to the 1977 home uniform worn by Tampa Bay’s first generation of stars such as Lee Roy Selmon, running back Ricky Bell, QB Gary Huff and wide receiver Morris Owens. If you look closely, you’ll see the diamond-shaped NFL patch commemorating the 75th anniversary on the upper left chest.
One other note about the uniform: If you look closely at almost all NFL uniforms worn from 1991 on, you’ll note a small NFL shield patch on the jersey’s neckline. Most NFL uniforms added the NFL logo patch to the neck, and to the upper left thigh of the pants, beginning in 1991. The only major exception to this practice was in 1994 when the teams wore their throwback uniforms – in these instances, most teams did not wear the NFL shield patch. The Buccaneers however, did, and thus you can see the small NFL shield patch on the neck and upper left thigh of the pants of their orange throwback uniform.
Notice also that the front of the pants no longer ‘lace up’ - the laces have been replaced by a zipper.
The franchise radically alters the look of the team uniform – and even changes the traditional ‘Buccaneer’ logo! In place of the knife-chomping swashbuckler is a giant skull & crossbones flag – wrapped triumphantly around a giant sword. The team’s jerseys are now white (road) with red numbers and black trim, and red (home) with white numbers & black trim.
You have to look very closely, but the red numbers on this 1997 road jersey have a thin, orange piping inside the outer black border. This thin orange stripe is repeated on the side of the pants. Note also that just below the NFL shield on the neck of the jersey is the word ‘Buccaneers’ in what is known as a ‘secondary logotype’. The addition of a secondary team logo just below the V-neck is now used by quite a few NFL teams, and was relatively new in 1997.
This uniform shows the pewter pants. It’s interesting to note that the Buccaneers had the option of wearing these pants or their white ones with the road white jersey – note also the fact that the Buccaneers’ pants have converted back to a ‘laced’ front.
Finally, note how the uniform numbers normally found on the sleeves of Bucs jerseys have been moved onto the shoulders, and in their former place is the team’s new secondary mark – a pirate ship!
The Buccaneers' 1997 uniform change prompted a 2003 lawsuit by the Raiders, who claimed that the NFL and the Buccaneers had infringed upon key trademark elements of the Raiders' brand, including the Raiders' pirate logo. In the same suit, the Raiders challenged the Carolina Panthers' color scheme, which included silver and black. The Raiders wanted the courts to bar the Buccaneers and Panthers from wearing their uniforms while playing in California. However, since the lawsuit was filed in a California state court, the lawsuit was tossed out because only federal courts have jurisdiction on intellectual property issues.
The 1998 home red uniform, as worn by the lethal backfield combination of Mike Alstott & Warrick Dunn, showcases virtually all of the new elements explained earlier in the 1997 road white uniform.
Look closely at the sleeves, and you’ll notice one simple, black stripe. Look even closer at the chest numbers – and you’ll see the same thin orange outline around the white number. It’s interesting to note that the Buccaneers had the option of wearing these pants or their white ones with the home red jersey
This 2000 road uniform, as worn by newcomer Keyshawn Johnson, defensive tackle Warren Sapp and safety John Lynch, is very similar to the 1997 design.
The Bucs were the home team in Super Bowl XXXVII and chose to wear their red home jerseys. The 2002 version of their home uniform features dark pewter pants to match the helmet. On the side of the pants are a series of orange, red and black stripes running down to the knee. The dark red jersey has large white numerals with orange and black trim on the front and back. On the shoulders are “TV” numbers and on the sleeve is the team logo, a pirate ship with a scull & cross bones.
You may notice that the 2002 Buccaneers jersey features a Super Bowl patch. The practice of both Super Bowl teams wearing a Super Bowl patch begin with Super Bowl XXV in January 1991 when the Buffalo Bills and the New York Giants each wore a "Super Bowl 25th Anniversary" patch on their jerseys. Another seven years would pass before a specific Super Bowl patch would next appear, this time in Super Bowl XXXII in January 1998 when the Broncos played the Packers. Every year since then the Super Bowl combatants have both worn an official Super Bowl patch during the Super Bowl. (Some keen observers may suggest that a "Super Bowl patch" was worn in Super Bowl X in January 1976 when the Steelers faced the Cowboys, but in that case the patch worn by both teams commemorated America's bicentennial, not the game itself.
One final uniform note: If you look closely, you’ll notice an “NFL Equipment” patch on the jersey’s neckline and on the upper left thigh of the pants. This style NFL equipment patch, which is a bit bigger than the size of a golf ball, was added to all NFL team uniforms in 2002 The “NFL Equipment” patch replaced the previous “NFL shield” patch (which was the size of an average postage stamp) that had been worn on uniforms in the same two places (below the “V” of the neckline and on the upper left thigh) almost without exception since the 1991 season. Also shown is the Superbowl white hand towel with logo.
In 2003, the Buccaneers introduced a practice jersey that featured orange piping. In 2004, a pewter practice jersey was used, with numerals in the Totally Gothic font.
You can see the addition of the Game patch for the International Tokyo, Japan game played on August 2, 2003.
If you look closely, you’ll notice an “Buccaneers 30th Season” patch - 1976 - 2005. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers unveiled a commemorative patch that the team will wear on its jerseys during the 2005 campaign in recognition of the organization’s 30th season celebration. The oval (white/red) patch features a “30 Seasons” banner, along with the current Buccaneers logo flanked by the years of the franchise’s inaugural and current seasons on a white backdrop with black outlines. The design also incorporates “Bay Orange” and white, and pewter highlights as a tribute to the team’s original color scheme and uniforms that were worn from 1976-present.
The NFL honored the late Gene Upshaw with his initials and his uniform number stenciled on the field for all 16 games this opening weekend.
The league had announced that all NFL players would wear a patch all season with the initials "GU" and the number 63, his former uniform number to honor the Hall of Fame guard and longtime union leader, who passed in 2008.
It originally announced they also would be stenciled on the field for the season opener at Giants Stadium between the Redskins and Giants and for the Denver-Oakland game at Oakland, where Upshaw played his entire 15 seasons.
With three lack luster seasons, another one of the things that have disappointed fans had been the disappearance of the “Throwback” game.
Usually associated with a Ring of Honor induction ceremony, the game was very popular with us buccaneers fans
The Buccaneers changed uniforms just prior to the 1997 season, switching from the creamsicle orange color scheme with the winking Bucco Bruce on a white helmet, to the very popular pewter and red combination that sported a menacing pirate and flag on a pewter-based helmet.
The Buccaneers dusted off the old orange and white uniforms for the first time in 2009 in a game against their old NFC Central rival Green Bay Packers, and did so every year until 2013 when an NFL rule preventing players from wearing different helmets once the season begins. The measure was adopted as part of safety measure that was recommended by the NFL’s Head, Neck and Spine Committee and the Player Safety Advisory Panel.
Look closely at the jerseys left chest, and you’ll notice the International Series patch worn for th game played in London England.
You can see the addition of the September 11th Tribute Game patch (located on the left chest of the white jersey) and the International Series Game Patch for the game played at Wembley Stadium in London England (located on the left chest of the red jersey) .
The Bucs revert to using red as their primary jersey color with black accents. The official NFL logo is placed right underneath the V-neck of each player’s jersey. A pewter becomes the main color on the team’s helmet and pants. The uniform also features the "Hall of Fame" Fifty Years celebration patch worn on the jerseys left chest.
Nike unveiled the team's new NFL Nike Elite 51 Uniform design for the 2014 season. The uniform is a completely integrated system of dress with a new design that honors the Buccaneers' rich tradition while boldly bringing the team into the future through a modern industrial design aesthetic.
In collaboration with the Buccaneers and the NFL, Nike designers incorporated many of the unique historical aspects of the Tampa Bay area by showcasing the city's roots, vibrant culture and spirited fanbase. The new uniform features a refreshed color scheme honoring the franchise's past and present, while confidently positioning the team for the future.
"Today marks the culmination of more than two years of research and planning to bring the Tampa Bay Buccaneers into a new and exciting era of our history," said Buccaneers co-chairman Edward Glazer. "We worked closely with our partners at Nike to design a uniform that would set the standard for both design and functionality. The result is a sleek, modern design that honors our championship past while also establishing a new, bolder identity moving forward."
The base uniform color has been energized with richer pewter, juxtaposed with a brighter, more vibrant shade of "Buccaneer Red". In homage to the Buccaneers' early uniforms, the look also features "Bay Orange" as a new primary trim color and accent on both the jersey and the pants. Tampa Bay also becomes the first NFL franchise to incorporate a revolutionary reflective chrome border around the numbers on the front, back and shoulders. The chrome border incorporates a technologically advanced reflective coating that adds a new dimension, increased readability and a unique glow to the numbers.
Custom name and number fonts feature beveled edges inspired by historical Buccaneer blade carvings, echoing the modern industrial design inspiration. The team's white jerseys sport pewter sleeves and shoulders with red numbers, while the red jerseys also feature pewter sleeves and shoulders but with white numbers on the body and red numbers on the shoulders-- adding an extra element of energy to the evolved Buccaneer identity.
The Buccaneers's secondary logo, a powerful wooden ship fueled by wind-filled sails, is similarly refined to convey the Bucs' relentless energy. The redesigned wooden ship is positioned on the right shoulder and the abbreviated "BUCS" moniker on the left. The enhanced flag is proudly displayed on both the right and left hip of the pant.
The team's transformation is exemplified in the Bucs new helmet, featuring a reinvigorated logotype and highlighted by an updated, more menacing Jolly Roger. Unique to the Buccaneers, the helmet also features a hand-painted pewter speed line overlaid with a larger flag logo designed to accentuate the revolutionized, confident spirit of the franchise.
NIKE ELITE 51 UNIFORM
Designed and engineered from the inside out, the NFL Nike Elite 51 Uniform focuses on creating a system where the baselayer, padding, jersey and pant work in concert. Lightweight padding is also integrated directly into the crucial "hit zones" in the baselayer. New innovations include integrated Flywire technology in the neckline to reduce weight and provide lockdown fit over pads, increased sleeve articulation for better range of motion, and all-over four-way stretch fabrication to provide a streamlined shrink-wrap fit. The on-field uniform collection features two jerseys, two pants, 3 sock options, and one helmet.
The 2015 road jersey opts for white shirts with red lettering outlined by black and orange trim. The collar is divided into two sections: white and pewter. The Bucs use white as the lone color on the pants, which evolves the simpler look. The Buccaneers will debute the new Color Rush jerseys for the Thursday Night Football matchup with the St. Louis Rams. One final uniform note: If you look closely, you’ll notice an “Buccaneers 40th Season” patch - 1976 - 2015. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers unveiled a commemorative patch that the team will wear on its jerseys during the 2015 campaign in recognition of the organization’s 40th season celebration. The hexagonal patch features a “40 Seasons” banner, along with the current Buccaneers logo flanked by the years of the franchise’s inaugural and current seasons on a pewter backdrop with red outlines. The design also incorporates “Bay Orange” and white, as a tribute to the team’s original color scheme and uniforms that were worn from 1976-1996.
Designed to unite Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans, the Buccaneers Color Rush campaign will showcase the spirited fan base and city through color on the national Thursday Night Football platform.
Nike incorporated many of the aspects unique to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in its new take on the uniforms, combining the current design with a fresh perspective that highlights the club's vibrant Buccaneer Red from head to toe. The jersey numbers are fashioned in sleek pewter and continue to feature the team's signature reflective chrome border.
The Bucs have updated the popular Color Rush jerseys they debuted in their Thursday Night Football matchup with the St. Louis Rams in 2015 and introduced a new 2016 version. The new look boasts an uninterrupted flow of Bucs red color throughout the jersey and new stitching designed for a style and performance. The Bucs will showcase the new 2016 Color Rush uniforms when they host the Atlanta Falcons November 3rd during a nationally-televised Thursday Night Football matchup.
Participating teams will take the field wearing special Color Rush uniforms exclusively on Thursday Night Football in 2016, the fastest growing night of NFL football.
Following the uniform change in 1997, the Buccaneers did not wear the old uniform, even during popular league-sponsored "throwback" weekends. The old uniforms were mostly eschewed by the club, and the sale of team merchandise in the old color scheme was scuttled for several years. In 2008, the team revealed that they would be wearing orange throwback uniforms for at least one game in the 2009 season. Their use was in conjunction with the creation of a Buccaneers Ring of Honor, coinciding with the 30th anniversary of the 1979 division championship team.
Throwback merchandise went on sale in the summer of 2009, and referred to the orange color, not as "Florida Orange," but as "Orange Glaze." Considerable research was done using photographs and old uniforms to match the original color schemes. The dagger-biting pirate was given a cleaned-up look, and the orange, red and white uniforms debuted against the Green Bay Packers (Tampa Bay's former division rival) on November 8, 2009. Raymond James Stadium was also transformed via orange banners and classic field logos and fonts back to the classic Tampa Stadium look of the late 1970s. The Buccaneers won their first throwback game (their first victory of 2009) behind rookie quarterback Josh Freeman's first-career NFL start. The throwback game was to become an annual tradition, but has been on hiatus since 2013 due to league-wide restrictions suggesting players wear the same helmet throughout the season for safety reasons.