2003 Football Playoffs 2003 Football Playoffs


Bucs fans rejoice in teams' first championship

Posted: Sunday January 26, 2003 10:51 PM
Updated: Monday January 27, 2003 12:18 AM
  Bucs fans Bucs fans celebrate a touchdown in the third quarter while watching the game at Fergs Sports bar. AP

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- With one victory, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers said goodbye to Creamsicle orange jerseys, their winking pirate logo and a long tradition of losing.

No longer will fans leave tickets on car windshields instead of going to Buccaneers games, not now that Tampa Bay is the Super Bowl champion.

Long-suffering fans hugged and high-fived as the clock ticked town Sunday to the Bucs' 48-21 win over the Oakland Raiders, the first Super Bowl triumph in the team's 26-year history.

"It was due," said Kim Long, a season-ticket holder. "It was our time."

Gone are the years of double-digit losses. For Bucs fans, 27 years of frustration bubbled to the surface.

"Finally it's recognition," said Jen Hibener, who became a Bucs fan in the early '80s when her father bought the old orange team jerseys for her and her sister. "We still have our orange clothes. Finally we get to wear red and go to the Super Bowl."

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At halftime, the Bucs were up 20-3 and elated fans were already starting to celebrate.

"We want it more than anyone in the NFL does," said Jennifer Farrell, a lifelong Tampa resident. "I've been to the little games, I've been to the big games, and here we are at the biggest game."

The Bucs faithful braved teeth-chattering temperatures Friday at rallies downtown and at a Tampa barbecue restaurant owned by Lee Roy Selmon, the only Bucs player in the NFL Hall of Fame.

A celebration was planned at the stadium Monday night when the team returns from San Diego. Gates open at 5 p.m., and the team is expected to arrive at about 7:30 p.m.

Victory parade plans were also in the works.

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