The Tampa Bay Buccaneers annual throwback game, scheduled to take place Sept. 29 against the Arizona Cardinals has been canceled. The game will still take place, of course, but there will be no creamsicle-colored jerseys and white pants due to new league rules regarding player safety.
The change was made as a result of a new league policy restricting the use of alternate player helmets. The policy, which was implemented based on the strong recommendation of both the NFL’s Head, Neck and Spine Committee and Player Safety Advisory Panel, requires players to wear the same helmet for all games during the season.
So rather than the players wearing their current Pewter helmets with Florida orange and white in what would be the ultimate fashion blunder, the team has opted to eliminate the throwback attire altogether. The Bucs still plan to honor Hispanic heritage for that game, as previously scheduled.
“We are excited to celebrate and honor the Hispanic heritage that has had such a profound impact on our community,” said Buccaneers Chief Operating Officer Brian Ford.
“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. We will continue to explore options with the league office for bringing back this fan favorite in future seasons.”
The new rule impacts all 32 teams in the league and the manner in which teams have gone about complying with it vary.
The Buffalo Bills and the Chicago Bears have already played in throwback uniforms this season and were able to do so by modifying the decals on their regular helmets.
A solution? Why not have the Bucs wear their old alternate black jerseys? Newly-enshrined Hall of Famer and soon-to-be-inducted Ring of Honor member, Warren Sapp, wore black, and it would essentially go with the team’s trademark pewter helmets.
This was to be the fifth year the Bucs donned throwback jerseys. The team’s first-ever throwback game came on Nov. 2009 against the Green Bay Packers.
Hall of Famer Lee Roy Selmon was inducted into the Buccaneers Ring of Honor and rookie Josh Freeman’s made his first NFL start. The Bucs won in come-from-behind fashion, 38-28, after starting the season 0-7.
The Bucs continued the throwback tradition but haven’t had the same luck since, going 0-3 in the last three seasons. The team will still hold its Ring of Honor ceremony, as scheduled, on Nov. 11.