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Bucs uniform redesign: Let’s be more like ... the Bengals?

Cincinnati’s costumes are often derided, but there’s something about them that we find inspiring. It’s better to dare to be bold than to settle for ordinary.
When the Bucs unveiled new uniforms in 2014, they introduced a helmet that featured a larger red battle flag. The reaction was mixed, with some saying that the flag was too big. We say it could be even bigger.
When the Bucs unveiled new uniforms in 2014, they introduced a helmet that featured a larger red battle flag. The reaction was mixed, with some saying that the flag was too big. We say it could be even bigger. [ PHELAN M. EBENHACK | Associated Press ]
Published Dec. 21, 2019

The holiday season is a time for reflection, for thinking about what truly matters. Like fixing the Buccaneers’ hideous uniforms. Today, Tampa Bay Times page designer Lisa Merklin makes her pitch.

Miss our previous mockups? Find them here, here and here.

Want to get involved? Go to tampabay.com/fixthebucsunis and download the uniform template. Share your design on Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag #FixTheBucsUnis, or email it to fixthebucsunis@tampabay.com. Soon, we’ll publish a selection of your redesigns at tampabay.com and in the Times.

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When I moved to St. Petersburg from southeastern Virginia about a year ago, I was curious about how Tampa Bay sports fans felt about their teams. Bucs fans are often frustrated but ultimately hopeful that something better is around the corner.

Give the fans what they want.

The Bucs need uniforms that make them look, if not play, like they mean business, so I sought to design a game-day aesthetic that intimidates opponents, just like the buccaneers who terrorized 17th-century Spanish sailors in the Caribbean.

First, a confession: I think the Bengals’ uniforms look sharp. And an even bigger confession: I took my inspiration from the team’s signature stripes.

To me, it’s worse to have a forgettable uniform than an ugly one. The Bengals’ uniforms might be close to universally reviled, but at least they’re instantly recognizable. They get people talking. My Bucs uniform design might just do that.

The home uniform unapologetically embraces the Bucs' trademark pewter.
The home uniform unapologetically embraces the Bucs' trademark pewter. [ LISA MERKLIN | Times ]
The flag design along the side panels of the uniform would be controversial, but maybe in time it could be as iconic as the Bengals' stripes.
The flag design along the side panels of the uniform would be controversial, but maybe in time it could be as iconic as the Bengals' stripes. [ LISA MERKLIN | Times ]

Instead of incorporating stripes, I drew the raw edge of the tattered flag in the Bucs logo down the sides of the uniform. It evokes toughness.

For a sleek look, I simplified the color palette (goodbye, orange!) and continued the ripped pattern down through the mid-thigh. The socks and helmet provide another pop of color, along with coordinating gloves and shoes.

I enlarged the logo on the helmet and, rather than having one image on each side, centered it on the back of the helmet. When the Bucs run the ball, I want the opposing team to see the skull leering at them — just as the Jolly Roger would wave before a pirate attack.

Contact Lisa Merklin at lmerklin@tampabay.com.