Along with a turnaround season on the field, the Bucs are making their presence felt in the community as well. 

As part of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Bucs For A Better Day initiative, the defensive line surprised 60 underserved families (more than 150 Bay Area children and parents) during its fifth annual “D-Line Delivers Christmas” event. Families, selected through United Way Suncoast, arrived at the facility under the impression they were going to be given a tour of One Buc Place.

Once gathered inside the auditorium, they were instead surprised with gifts ranging from toys, to gift cards for Chevron and Publix.

Photo by: Mark Cook/PR

Photo by: Mark Cook/PR

Gerald McCoy, selected to his fifth Pro Bowl Tuesday night, kicked off the event and was joined by fellow defensive linemen and coach Jay Hayes to play the role of Santa Claus, handing out gifts to a joyful crowd. The event then moved outside to the practice field for the final surprise: bicycles and helmets for every child, and a $425 shopping spree for every family.

In total, the Bucs defensive line and coaches donated more than $40,000 for the holiday surprise, according to the team’s official website. The event benefited the most children and families in its five-year history.

“It’s incredible,” McCoy said, via “It’s exciting (for the families) just to come and see the state-of-the-art facilities like the Buccaneers’ practice facility, but then to find out you’re getting gifts, too – it never gets old. You never get used to seeing it. You see parents crying, you see some kids crying. Everything you set out to do, you’re seeing it become a reality. There’s no better feeling than that.”

As written on the team’s website, “The effort was yet another example of Bucs For A Better Day – the team’s far-reaching commitment to making Tampa Bay better today and for generations to come.”

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About the Author: Zach Shapiro

Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders. Contact him at: [email protected]
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5 years ago

Non football fans, who sometimes bemoan our sports teams, sure must see the good the players, many who remain here after retirement, bring to our community. Always proud of the vast majority of the “good guys” who donate their limited time, which to me is a greater sacrifice than their monetary contributions.