The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were founded in 1974, and the story of how they got their nickname involves a legendary pirate.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers nickname history stretches back 47 years to when the team was first introduced into the NFL. Hugh Culverhouse, a tax lawyer and broker from Florida, received the Tampa Bay expansion franchise after some financial disputes within the league.
Tampa Bay’s uniforms and logo was designed by artist Lamar Sparkman, who included colors from Florida’s four major college teams: orange from the universities of Miami and Florida, and red from Florida State and the University of Tampa. Tampa also were one of the first to wear white home uniforms, a strategic move that forced their opponents to wear dark colors while playing in Tampa’s blisteringly hot weather.
How did the Tampa Bay Buccaneers get their nickname?
In 1975, a fan-led contest culminated in the team selecting “Buccaneers” as its nickname. The swashbuckling name was inspired by the legendary pirates who annually raided Florida’s coasts (including Tampa Bay) during the 17th century.
One infamous pirate in particular, a Spanish captain named Jose Gaspar – commonly known as Gasparilla – was said to have led the invasions and plunders of Florida’s western coast, but no reliable evidence suggests Gaspar ever existed. Still, the “Gasparilla Pirate Festival” has been held in Tampa every year since 1904 and draws almost half a million attendees.
Following a Jon Gruden-led Super Bowl victory in 2002, the Buccaneers most recently stunned the league by signing quarterback Tom Brady in free agency in 2020. Brady and the Bucs would win the franchise’s second Super Bowl championship the following year.