Those loyal Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans who planned to dust off their vintage Vinny Testaverde “creamsicle” jerseys on September 29 are going to be disappointed.
The Buccaneers planned to wear their orange throwback uniforms against the Arizona Cardinals that day, but “Bucco Bruce” has been shelved because of the NFL’s safety concerns. Once helmets are properly fitted for each player at the beginning of the season, the league does not want them changed. This recommendation recently came from the NFL’s Head, Neck and Spine Committee as well as the Player Safety Advisory Panel.
Since Bucs players have already been fitted for their pewter-colored helmets, those old-school Errict Rhett jerseys will have to stay in the closet.
“While we regret that our players will not 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,” Buccaneers Chief Operating Officer Brian Ford said on the team’s website. “We will continue to explore options with the league office for bringing back this fan favorite in future seasons.”
TBO.com notes that even though the Chicago Bears wore alternate uniforms this past Sunday, the “C” decal removal was the only alteration to the helmet. The Buffalo Bills wore throwback uniforms, but simply used the 1960-style “buffalo” decal on their white helmets. Since Tampa Bay changed their colors, players would have to change helmets, which the league will not allow.
One wonders if this is also the end of "Pat Patriot." The Patriots have taken to wearing the old-school look with the iconic logo for throwback games, but "Pat Patriot" is depicted on a white helmet, and the Patriots normally wear silver. As the Uni Watch blog points out, Atlanta, Washington and Dallas might also be affected by this.
While forbidding a team to change helmets midseason may seem extreme – it should be possible to wear "two" safe helmets in one year, right? – the NFL recently reached a $765 million concussion lawsuit settlement. Commissioner Roger Goodell is not going to risk any future litigation by allowing teams to switch helmets for a one-day event, even if there was a chance to celebrate former Bucs owner Hugh Culverhouse, who cared more about making money than winning.
Okay, Bucs fans. Hall of Famer Lee Roy Selmon once wore those orange and white uniforms, so we will leave that 0-14 season in 1976 alone.
While Tampa Bay was forced to scratch their throwback uniforms, the Bucs will still have a Hispanic Heritage celebration against Arizona.
But who wants to party without "Bucco Bruce"?