The Bucs announced Tuesday that they won't take the field this season in their popular throwback orange jerseys as scheduled on Sept. 29 against Arizona, citing a new NFL safety guideline requiring teams use the same helmets in all games.
"While we regret that our players won't be able to don the 'Bucco Bruce' helmet and traditional orange, red and white uniforms, there simply was no acceptable way to meet the requirements of the new policy while staying true to the spirit of our throwback theme," said Brian Ford, the Bucs' chief operating officer in a statement released by the team. "We will continue to explore options with the league office for bringing back this fan favorite in future seasons."
The Bucs have had throwback games in each of the last four seasons, and the tradition has been popular with fans, bringing the team's early years together with its pewter-and-red present. The first game in 2009 drew an announced crowd of 62,994 and saw the first career start for quarterback Josh Freeman, who led the team to a win against the Packers. The first three throwback games coincided with the team's "Ring of Honor" ceremony, but that was a separate game last season and will be again this fall.
According to the Bucs, the NFL's policy "restricts the use of alternate player helmets." The guideline "requires players to use the same helmet for all games" and was implemented "based on the strong recommendation by the NFL's Head, Neck and Spine Committee, as well as the Player Safety Advisory Panel." The team will still hold a scheduled "Hispanic Heritage" celebration during the Bucs-Cardinals game as part of the league's Hispanic Heritage Month activities.