About the author

Mark Cook

Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at [email protected]

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  1. 1


    I loved Coach McKay ans his quick wit. I think he should be in the HOF.
    A few years ago, my wife go me this book “McKay Men – 1979 Tampa Bay Buccaneers – The Story of Worst to First” by Denis Crawford. A good read for any Bucs fan.

  2. 2


    Those were great days and I really appreciate your reliving the moments with us. From what I can tell you and I are about the same age. I was a year out of high school when the Bucs got the Franchise. I remember going to many games where if you showed up after the first quarter it was already too late. I went to the NFC championship game and I remember sitting in line at Maas Brothers to get the tickets. I made my way down to the bottom of the stadium and yelled Ricky Bell’s name and managed to get him to turn around on the sideline. It was a different era when the Uniforms made you wince but at least for a moment it felt like the Bucs were a great team. So many characters. The Selmon brothers, Cecil Johnson, Batman wood, Doug WIlliams, Ricky Bell, Jerry Eckwood, Jimmy Dubose, Mark Carrier, Jimmy Giles. I am getting old just thinking about it.

    1. 2.1

      Mark Cook

      Remember when the Bucs had their own band? Frisbee dogs at halftime, and those spray painted signs hanging on the walls of the stadium?

  3. 3

    Charlie C

    Great article! I remember being at my aunt’s house listening on the radio to the Bucs games in 79. I would almost stand on my toes the entire time trying to will the Bucs to win. Then, during the 15 years of terrible teams, being at a game where the Bucs were up on the LA Rams 28-3 at halftime. Of course the Rams came back and won the game, but suffering as a Bucs fan was a right of passage at that time.

    Fortunately, I was also there to witness the Bucs super bowl victory in person, my sweetest memory as a Bucs fan. Here’s hoping the upward trend continues and the Bucs make another playoff and super bowl run before the end of this decade!

  4. 4


    Yes, those were the days!! We had season tickets and I, along with my sister, mom and dad, went to every single home game. We tail-gated before and after the game almost every single time. My dad never wanted to miss a game. We made up a menu at each game and displayed it for all to see as they walked towards the stadium. My dad made sure we parked right on the aisle so everybody could see our menu. Grilled Wisconsin Cheddar Cheese sandwich vs. Green Bay. Breakfast loaf stuffed with scrambled Falcon eggs, Grilled Buffalo Steaks, etc. We had a blast!! We would NEVER leave before the final play of the game, my dad said that it “wouldn’t be right to not support them until the end.” We saw a lot of crazy things in those final minutes, good and bad, that a lot of other fans missed by leaving early. Also, I will never forget all of the people who called me a band-wagon fan when we finally started winning more games and making the playoffs. I would strongly reply, NO WAY DUDE, I have supported this team my whole life, good and bad. I had all of that creamsicle color stuff all over my car, magnets, stickers, signs, you name it. Sorry for the long post, but this story brought back a lot of memories for me too. Thanks.
    You missed my favorite quote from Mr. McKay. When a reporter asked what he thought of his teams’ execution that day, he replied, ” I’m all for it!!”

    1. 4.1


      I can remember some great tailgates too. I use to bring stone crabs. With a key lime mustard sauce. Chicken Sate, Chicken wings, and plenty of cold beer. I was a bit of a beer snob.

  5. 5


    Lots of partying back then before the games for this now old Buccaneer Fan. Go Bucs!

  6. 6


    Beautiful piece, Mark… I take pride in everything the Bucs have done, good or bad… It’s always great to hear the different perspectives and odd tidbits of long time fans. Keep up the great work, sir!

  7. 7


    Loved the piece, Mark.
    Made me remember the Bucs first win over the Saints and how absolutely ecstatic it made me feel as I watched the game unfold on a black and white TV.
    Then, as I watched in attendance from my $5 end zone seat a week later, the Bucs beat the Cardinals at home 17-7. It felt like the team had just made the playoffs.
    McKay was one of a kind and there have been very few coaches like him before or since.
    My favorite McKay story was told by I believe, Kevin House.
    House recounted during a preseason game in his first season he short armed a pass over the middle and after the play returned to the sidelines hoping no one had noticed his lack of intestinal fortitude.
    McKay looked at House and simply said, “young man. those are grown men playing that game out there.”
    That was all that was said but House knew what he meant.
    Man up if you hope to stay in this league and on this team.

    1. 7.1


      I was there too Dr.D. The framed commemorative poster from that first home win against the Cardinals is hanging on the wall behind me, as are many Buccaneer memories in my Bucs Room. I even have my aluminum bench seats on the patio.

      I take pride in never missing a game and never missing a play until this past season. The Denver game (which might as well have been played in Denver) had the lightning delay. After standing in the concession area for over an hour listening to “let’s go Broncos” with only a handful of Bucs fans remaining, my wife and I went home and watched the rest of the debacle on TV. I still regret leaving before the end.

      My favorite McKay comment came when he told someone (probably Andy Hardy) they “didn’t know a football from a watermelon”. The next day someone dropped off a watermelon at Bucs Place. McKay quipped, “Next time I’ll say they don’t know a football from a Mercedes”.

      1. 7.1.1


        I was there to meet the bus after our first win and on the field after our first home game win. Go Bucs



          Me too. I was the guy in the orange shirt.

  8. 8

    pancake block

    Coach….talk about the teams execution…….(coach) I’m all for it
    We didn’t tackle well today but we made up for it by not blocking. (Coach)

  9. 9


    The old sombrero, the old school jumbo tron with those horrible graphics lol, the bad buc, and the sound of the pointer sisters “I’m so excited” after a win playing on the loud speakers…..man, those were the days. I beleive that is Wayne Fontes standing next to John in that article picture…..Go Bucs!

    1. 9.1


      “Here come the vacuums!”

      1. 9.1.1

        Mark Cook

        Lol totally forgot about that one!

  10. 10


    Damn…..the Andy Hardy and channel 44 references makes me want to tune in again and watch Ted Webb and Sports Rap!

  11. 11


    Great story. I’m 49 so I can relate to lot of it. My dad passed away 5 years ago and some great memories with him at the old stadium and at R.J. I moved to Florida as a kid from Chicago suburbs in 1982. Become Bucs fan shortly after.

    1. 11.1


      Pretty cool Fredster, I also moved here from Chicago as a boy. My dad used to take me to some of the Bear, Blackhawk, Bull and Cubs games when I was young. But when we moved down here in 1976, he became a fan of all the local teams instead. I actually was a Dolphin fan in Chicago, but became a Bucs fan right away and I’ve never looked back. Go Bucs ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

  12. 12


    Well penned love letter. The piece is sure to invoke great memories for all of us fans who were around in the beginning.

  13. 13


    Great memories and great thread.. Loved those Mckay quotes. Still remember Hardy trying to spar with McKay when he actually realized John’s sarcasm that wasn’t real kind to Andy. Didn’t go well for Hardy.

  14. 14


    fredster, you became a Bucs fan after moving here from Chicago. God love you.
    I used to sit next to some knot head from Chicago who has lived here for over 20 years and he still wears his Chicago gear when Chicago plays here.
    Thank god the Bucs raised their prices and I moved to cheaper seats so I don’t have to sit next to him anymore.

  15. 15

    Buc 1976

    My son and I were at the Cardinals game what a good time we had, you would have thought we won the Super Bowl!

  16. 16


    As a kid growing up in Valrico in the late 70’s-early 80’s I can relate to all of these things and they bring back memories. Thanks Mark. One of my favorite things as a kid were the packs of NFL pencils which I would beg my mom to get before every school year. The kids at school were always borrowing and then not returning them, so I always took out the Bucs pencil and kept it in my room at home.

    The Bucs really need to put James Wilder in the Ring of Honor. He WAS the mid-80’s Bucs.

    1. 16.1

      Rusty Rhino

      “The Bucs really need to put James Wilder in the Ring of Honor. He WAS the mid-80’s Bucs.”
      Right On! A-Bomb James Wilder For the Ring of Honor! This year! Not next year or in future years! 2017 James Wilder in the Ring of Honor!

      We moved to St.Pete in September of 1975 from St. Louis I was 9 then. I was a instant Buccaneer fan! We had been to several cardinal games at Bush Stadium when we lived in St. Louis with my mom and dad. When we moved to St. Pete we became Buccaneer fans from then on. We were also at the first home win against the cardinals. I also can almost remember that whole day. Dad has been gone now for 4 years. Not a day goes by when I do not think back to watching Bucs football every time I walk into the yard and look at the Buccaneer banner him and mom bought for me flapping in the wind. Thanks Mark for bringing back a BIG SMILE to my face as well.

  17. 17


    Hey, hey Tampa Bay! The Bucs know how to shine! Those were the days!

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