Shutdown Corner - NFL

The Bucs discontinued this glorious creation in 1996, but it feels like it's been ten lifetimes since I've seen it. Not a day goes by that I don't wake up and miss that swashbuckling son of a gun winking at me like I just brought him breakfast in bed.

Bucco Bruce was the name of the fellow who adorned the Bucs helmets for the first twenty years of the franchise's existence. Most believe that he was a fictional character, designed to illustrate a style, virility, and daring befitting a warrior in the National Football League.

But I don't think that's true. Because a couple of years ago, I was at a party in Key West, and there was an orange man there named Bruce who had a knife in his mouth and a feather in his hat, and he made a margarita in my mouth. And then someone tackled him, and he dropped the bottle of tequila, and sobbed on my shoulder for a couple of hours. I was sure it was him, and I will never forget the tickle of that feather.

Bruce's party habits aside, though, it truly was a distinctive and attractive helmet. The orange/red color scheme is one that's rarely used, and probably for good reason, but I really think those old Bucs pulled it off. It was a unique, classy, bold look. The orange facemask and the triple stripe down the middle really tied it together.

When a team has a look that distinctive, that unique, and that immediately recognizable as their own, I firmly believe that they should hold on to it. The Bucs helmets today ... they're fine, but they're not special. When they gave up Bruce, they gave up something special.

It's a shame that the Buccaneers spent those 20 years being consistently awful, because that's pretty much cemented the fact that Bucco Bruce will never be making a comeback. Someday, when I have more money than Malcolm Glazer, I'm buying the Bucs, and I'm resurrecting Bucco Bruce. And then it's party time.

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