TAMPA — Everyone will have to wait a little longer to discover the color scheme, font and logo, but the Bucs are granting fans their biggest wish this side of winning: they will have new uniforms in 2020.
Not more tormenting teases. It’s real.
After dropping clues with posters and social media posts, the Bucs confirmed Monday that they will unveil the new design in April.
“We have heard the feedback from our fans loud and clear and have been working with the NFL and our league partners at Nike to usher in a new look as we enter the next decade of Buccaneers football," co-chairman Ed Glazer said in a statement Monday. “We look forward to revealing more details in the near future about our official unveiling event, which will take place later this spring.”
It will be the third major change in uniform design for the Bucs since their inception in 1976, when they debuted an orange and red scheme with a stiletto-chewing pirate logo on the helmet.
The Bucs’ first major change came in 1997, two years after the Glazer family purchased the team. The Bucs drastically changed the entire color scheme. They introduced pewter to the NFL and changed to a darker red as the primary color and a new logo featuring a skull and crossed swords over a wind-swept red battle flag. An alternate logo of a ships was adorned to the uniform sleeves.
It may have brought the Bucs some luck because the team’s 14-year playoff drought was broken that season.
The Bucs’ last change, in 2014, wasn’t as well received. The uniform’s shoulders featured a color bar and numbers that resembled an alarm clock with reflective trim. The Bucs also added an all-chrome face mask to their helmets.
The Bucs can only hope the better look will translate into better play. They own a 12-year playoff drought, the second-longest in the NFL only to the Cleveland Browns, who have not reached the postseason since 2002.
Some players may feign indifference, but don’t be taken in. Punter Bradley Pinion retweeted the Bucs’ announcement with three fire emojis.
You can hardly wait to see which players they will use as living, breathing mannequins during April’s live reveal.
Fans were also quick to hail the big news. International Bucs fan group @UkBucs tweeted two thumbs up and the message: “The fans associate those current uniforms with losing, time for a fresh set but not sure it will have the impact some expect!”
Timing is everything in the uniform business. April is also the month that the NFL typically reveals its regular-season schedule.
And don’t forget, the NFL draft from Las Vegas is April 23-25. Wouldn’t it be like a free national commercial for the Bucs’ first-round pick to don one of the new uniform designs?
Aside from what it looks like, there are several other questions the Bucs haven’t answered. The first is how long has the new uniform been in the works?
According to NFL bylaws, teams must give written notice of their plans to make changes in the uniform or helmet on or before March 1 of the year prior to the year it wishes to change. The only exception would be due to a change of ownership or franchise relocation.
That means the decision was made sometime last spring.
The league also prohibits any franchise from changing uniform designs more than once every five years.
The last redesign was never well received in or outside of Tampa Bay. Fox Sports ranked it No. 30 in the NFL, saying it was a “bastardized” merger of the original 1976 orange and white uniforms and the Super Bowl pewter and red version.
No matter what you thought of the pewter-colored sleeves on the white jerseys, fans universally disliked the alarm clock numbers.
A little more popular was the all-red color rush uniforms that were initially created for Thursday night football games beginning in 2015. The Bucs only wore that combination twice in 2019.
Something to watch for with the redesign is whether the Bucs will wear white helmets again. Not only would that be a change to the current uniforms, it would enable them to wear the creamsicle ones as well.
The Bucs used to wear the orange and white throwback uniforms once a year from 2009-12. But the league passed a new rule aimed at safety that does not allow for a player to wear a different helmet during the season.
If the Bucs decided to return to white helmets, they could simply peel off the new logo and replace it with Bucco Bruce while wearing the original 1976 version of the uniforms.
New uniforms mean a pretty big financial boost in new apparel sales.
Bucs fans asked for new uniforms and they will get them. Now if they were only as passionate about wins and losses.