It has been 16 years since the Buccaneers walked off the field in San Diego hoisting the Lombardi Trophy celebrating their first and only Super Bowl championship after beating the Oakland Raiders 48-21.

With the Super Bowl between the Rams and Patriots set for Sunday evening, we thought we would have some fun and remember where we were back in 2003.

Read our accounts and add yours in the comment section below.

Happy Super Bowl weekend!

PewterReport.com Editor Mark Cook
I was sitting in the same living room(my grandmother’s house, then later mine)where I saw my very first Bucs game in 1977, a win over the Saints, and where I saw the Bucs play their first playoff game in 1979 against the Eagles. Honestly, to me, it felt like the Bucs had already won the Super Bowl the previous week when they closed down the Vet, beating the Eagles in the NFC Championship game. Growing up following the Bucs, through the lean expansion years, to the miserable 1980’s, and much of the 1990’s, the thought they would ever even reach the Super Bowl was basically beyond my comprehension. When Ronde Barber picked off Donovan McNabb on that cold dreary day in Philadelphia, and returned it for a touchdown, all the suffering and misery, all the ridicule for wearing Bucco Bruce gear to school and all of the pain was erased. If you were a Bucs fan and that didn’t get you emotional, you probably need to check your pulse to see if you are alive.

That Super Bowl Sunday I avoided most of the pre-game shows. In fact, I went to church in the morning, then came home and went fishing at my uncle’s orange grove pond to pass the time. My folks came over around 6 p.m. that evening and we had a typical spread of chips, salsa, and drinks. Non-alcoholic of course. I am a Baptist and didn’t want to jinx the extra prayers I had said earlier that morning.

The Dixie Chicks sang the national anthem and before long the it was time for kickoff. Brad Johnson and the Bucs threw an interception early in the game and I was nervous. But from the first snap you could tell Warren Sapp, Derrick Brooks and the rest of the defense had come to play and weren’t leaving without a win. The game was never really in doubt for me for the most part, however after a long touchdown pass to Jerry Porter was upheld and a blocked punt went for a score in the second half I started to sweat a little. But it wasn’t long before the offense continued to eat clock behind the running of Michael Pittman and the effective passing by Johnson, and the Bucs defense rose to the occasion, particularly the secondary, with interception after interception.

I remember the post game ceremony, Malcolm Glazer accepting the Lombardi Trophy and the players with their young children parading around with their Super Bowl winning swag on. It was certainly one of those, “don’t wake me up from this dream” situations as I finally closed my eyes that night.

And it made all those nights of sleeping in orange and white footie pajamas, even in the summer time(we didn’t even have air conditioning growing up) worth it. It was a night I couldn’t have imagined ever happening, but somehow that one magical January night in San Diego, did in fact, take place.

PewterReport.com Bucs Beat Reporter Trevor Sikkema
I remember it like it was yesterday.

Actually, I don’t. I was 10 years old. But I do have some memory of what was going on and where we were thanks to faded memories and some stories told.

I was actually in Raiders country when the Bucs were crowned champions of the football world. My family is from Florida. We’ve lived in Florida for as long as I’ve been alive. Each year my family likes to go out west to see snow, go skiing and just enjoy the landscape of mountains along with weather we don’t get much back here in the Sunshine State. That year we were in Lake Tahoe, California, a place that has become my family’s go-to each year.

Lake Tahoe is a popular vacation sport for those in the San Francisco and Oakland area. Because of that my family was a band of Buccaneers that weren’t exactly welcome.

My dad’s side of the story is a lot better than mine. Due to me having to miss a week of

Bucs PR Fantasy Draft Brad Johnson
Former Bucs QB and Super Bowl Champion Brad Johnson

school to go on the trip, I was doing homework in front of the TV with my mom instead of watching the game with my dad down at a local clubhouse. I watched from the living room of our condo, and though my specific memories of that night are few, I can still picture the room, where I sat on the couch and where the television was.

For my dad, his story was a lot more interesting. On the night before the Super Bowl, my dad went down to one of the casinos on the Nevada/California border to place a bet on the Buccaneers winning it all. As you can imagine, the sports book there was filled with nothing but black and silver. My dad walked into the casino wearing his Buccaneers gear proudly and placed his bet through non-stop trash talk from those around him.

On the night of the Super Bowl, my dad walked to the local clubhouse of the condominium we were staying at to watch the game. From his account, the place was packed, and he was one of about three total people who were wearing red in Tampa’s favor. From what he says, it was a party for him and those three or four people. He said that with every score and every takeaway, he’d celebrate, and said that game and the trash talk wasn’t even as fun as it could have been in the heart of Raider country, as that game was Tampa’s all the way.

I wish I had a greater memory of that night myself, but it’s a cool story that I get to hear my dad tell every time it gets brought up. Hopefully my memories of the next one will be ones I can tell stories about myself forever.

We’ve told our story, now it is time to tell yours in the comment section below.

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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]

21 COMMENTS

  1. I guess SR doesn’t have a memory

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  2. In August of 2002, I had just returned from Kuwait after a 6-month deployment with the Army, where I was positioned with my unit on the border of Iraq doing military training exercises, preparing for whatever might come. We came back to Fort Benning, Georgia, knowing that we might be told to return in the coming months because of the imminent threat the Iraq regime posed. Shortly before the NFC Divisional Playoff game with the 49er’s I learned that, indeed, I would be returning to Kuwait for a deployment with an unknown return date. I was able to attend the NFC Divisional Playoff with my father when we walloped the 49er’s at RayJay, then I departed with my unit back to Kuwait a few days later.
    The Army had set it up so that the NFC Championship game was televised in our morale tent at Camp New York in the middle of the Kuwaiti desert. I will never forget that game. Two years earlier I had made the impromptu (some might say, rash) decision to travel by myself from Gainesville (where I was in school… Go Gators!) to Philadelphia in a rental car to watch the Bucs lose 21-3 to the Eagles at the Vet in the Wild card round. That was a really tough day for many reasons, none the least of which was the fact that the Eagles fans lived up to their reputation in terms of their treatment of me. To beat them two years later in the NFC Championship, and close the Vet… just an amazing, amazing feeling and memory. Run, Ronde, Run!
    The week of the super bowl, we learned that we would be doing a three-day training exercise in the Kuwaiti desert. No one even mentioned the Super Bowl and, frankly no one asked. There were real world concerns, and I was not going to be the one to ask that question. But inside, I was crushed. I had waited my whole life for this moment, but world events were keeping me from enjoying it. What’s more, my father had managed to get two tickets to the game, and he and his wife Diane, were going to be there (along with my Uncle Bob). The day of the game arrived, and I was miserable. But unbeknownst to any of us, my Commander had planned on having us back in time to see the game in the morale tent at Camp New York. We convoyed back from our training at about 3am Kuwait time, just in time for kickoff. I was one of 2-3 soldiers in Bucs gear, with a larger group supporting the Raiders. The rest is Buccaneer history.
    When the game ended, I went into our Command tent, and tried the same routine I had tried unsuccessfully multiple times before. That routine involved a field phone, which was this big green box, with a phone on the end, that required you to punch in about 30 numbers, just to get a normal dial tone, with the hopes that you might actually be able to connect to someone for a morale call in the States from the Kuwaiti desert. I tried, like I had tried many times before, to call my dad’s cell phone. This time it worked! And I was able to speak to my father from the desert in Kuwait on his cell phone in Qualcomm stadium while he was in his seat location after the game had ended. We were both in tears at what our Bucs had accomplished. Probably one of the 5 best memories of my life.
    I had had always told myself that if the Bucs ever made it to a Super Bowl, I would do whatever it took, and pay whatever it would cost, to go to the game. Well, they made it, and I couldn’t follow through with my plan because of circumstances that were out of my control. But I wouldn’t change a thing about how it played out either.

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    • Thank you for your Service!

      God Bless America!!

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  3. I grew up a military brat so my family was in Japan when the bucs won the Super Bowl. I was a freshmen in high school and being in Japan with the time zone difference,my father let me skip school that day cause when it’s morning in Japan it’s night in the U.S. I wish I could have been over here for the celebration though, but it’s all good..now I am back here in Tampa!

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  4. I will add that the following year for a preseason game the bucs and the jets faced off in Tokyo, I got to go to the game and got to meet a lot of the players..barber was super nice and signed my fathers hat along with a couple of other bucs..Chris Simms wouldn’t sign or talk to any fans after the game..so when he snubbed all of us my fathers friend who was an Oklahoma state fan yelled “Texas sucks! Okalahoma state all the way!” Which was petty funny..Jon Gruden was hyped and even jumped on the bus we were on at one point cheering and jumping around which was cool too. Got to celebrate with them a little bit after all.

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  5. I wish I had a better memory of the game and that season in general. I was 13, admittedly had just kind of gotten into the NFL and hopped on the Bucs bandwagon. I mean, I was in Saskatchewan, Canada so there weren’t any figurative wagons around me but I watched the game in my basement with my dad and as excited as I was… it didn’t mean as much to me as it did most of you. The Bucs were so good that winning the game was almost a foregone conclusion to 13 year old me and being a new fan, I didn’t have much invested. 17 years later, with not much to cheer about over that time, the next one will be much more special!

    I do remember every week at school, in computer class, I would visit the Bucs website to watch the animated hype video for that week’s game. I can’t remember if it was all animation or combined with clips but man were those awesome. As far as I remember, they were so well done.

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  6. At the start of the 2002 season, I had a feeling that the Bucs’ Defense, with a bit of Gruden Offense, could actually get to the Super Bowl. Of course, I often had illogical hope. I said, “This is the year” every year.

    That November, my wife broke her ankle and was still in a walking boot. When Ronde made “The Pick” I screamed, “Pack it up, we’re going to the Super Bowl!” There was no way I was missing it.

    That year the game was the following Sunday instead of the two week break. We had to scramble to get game tickets and make travel arrangements. Even though I have three season ticket accounts, I didn’t get picked in the ticket lottery. Fortunately, a co-worker did so I bought his two tickets. I acquired another two from a business associate who owned a luxury suite and had tickets. My wife, oldest daughter (34) and son (15) and I were off to San Diego!

    We showed up at the stadium early as usual. Being a smart ass, I spent the time chiding the Raiders fans who thought the game was in the bag. I went to school with “The Tuzz” and had a good time chatting with a guy wearing his throw-back jersey. I even got my picture taken with the guy and his son who wear the spiked shoulder pads. Wife and daughter got the good seats while my son and I sat up high with the Bucs’ season ticket group. Even then, Raiders fans were all around us. They were miserable.

    The tone of the game was set when Simeon Rice sacked Rich Gannon. Only a bad call when Joey Porter caught the ball out of bounds, but was granted a TD and the blocked punt made the game close until “The Dagger” when #55 took it to the house. I remember leaping to my feet and the blood rushing to my head and having to sit back down. At that point Raiders fans conceded defeat and headed for the exits in shock.

    After the post game ceremonies, my family and I were walking toward the stairs to take us to the trams. An attendant noticed my wife hobbling in her walking boot and escorted us to an elevator that put us ahead of the departing crowd and smack into a tram crammed full of the heard of dejected Raider fans who left early. There we were; an island of red in the Black Sea of gloom.

    Being a smart ass, I just couldn’t resist taking one last shot. “I don’t think you Raider fans are as bad as your mean and nasty reputation. It’s all BS. I think you all are pretty nice.” If looks could kill I would be dead right now.

    When we were leaving San Diego Airport for L.A. we got to meet Kurt Warner who was gracious enough to take photos and give us an autograph. He even had has own Sharpie.

    They kept putting out more and more Super Bowl memorabilia and I kept buying it. By the time we got back to Tampa, the celebrations were already over. That was the only bad part of experiencing the one and only Super Bowl live. The memory was worth every penny.

    Like the roller coaster ride in Kennywood Park when I was a kid, “Let’s do that again!”

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    • the super bowl ticket and a pics of the scoreboard are my prized possessions !

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  7. I was at the game watching the bucs win …I kept taking pictures of the scoreboard hoping the bucs could hold the lead. The defense was kicking butt !!!

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  8. I was 19 and I was watching us win the Super Bowl with a bunch of friends who are also Bucs fans. It was such an awesome moment!!

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  9. was working, but I was watching it on a big screen TV

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  10. Was living in the Ukraine I believe it was early in the morning a bar with a lot of Americans went to opened up for the game I remember walking outside it was like 30 degrees below zero it was a very nice 4 to 5 hours break from life in the Ukraine

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  11. My friend fortunately had a big screen tv that was HD with 5.1 surround, not common at the time. I felt like I was at the game. I did watch the pregames and they were all over the Raiders. No one gave us a chance to win in my opinion. I was so confident that we were going to win and you could see it with the players. Like the NFC Championship game, a little adversity with the pick on the first series but we were in the driver’s seat the rest of the way. My bro-in law was in Vegas so he put down a bet for me. I didn’t even think to do points or anything , juat a straight up win I was so confident. I became a Bucs fan at the end of the 95 season and it was so sweet having them win and rather handily too. Another good thing that has gone by the wayside is that was the last SB with no week between the Championship weekend and the Super Bowl. Great for not having too much garbage and fake hype beforehand. I miss that!

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  12. I was in Basic Training at Fort Jackson, someone smuggled a radio in and we got to listen to bits and pieces of the game.

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  13. On my couch. Lol. Good times. Have the DVD of course. Went to all home games including playoffs that year. Went to Super Bowl at Ray Jay the year Dilfer beat the Giants. Ouch. Only Super Bowl I’ve gone too. Lol.

    Played golf with Gruden and lot players couple years after the Super Bowl won in Tournament in North Florida. Got some cool photos and signed balls etc. I was paired with Center John Wade. Wade was cool. Not good golfer but he could drink some beer! Was down to earth guy said wife was teacher local I think.

    After Bucs won NFC championship super bowl year I was able to take photos with my kids holding the NFC glass trophy. Church I went to at time had member on Bucs staff and he brought it in one Sunday was really cool. I’ll have look back and see if can remember who was. He was in charge of sucurity for Bucs if I remember correctly not sure

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  14. I was attending USF at the time and still lived at Home so I was at my parents house… I remember my Dad telling me so many stories growing up of the hardship of the Bucs. I was born in ‘81 so most of the memories I have growing up were listening to the games on the radio while helping my parents in the yard…

    My first Bucs game that I went to was against the Packers where we were leading by 1 with the clock ticking down… I was only 5 or 6 and I barely knew what was going on except a bunch of Green, Orange and White running around on a cold, cloudy day… I remember everyone in the Stadium, including Family and Friends that we went with counting down “5… 4… 3… 2… 1… Ya-“ Wait just a minute, Green Bay called a time out and kicked a long field goal to win the game… Which is why the joke between my Dad and I is that when it comes to a Bucs Win, the game isn’t really over until they’ve all gone to the lockeroom, changed and left the building where they can’t be called back to the field 😂 My Dad never missed a Bucs game in one way or another and had developed and u healthy scepticism of putting hope into the Bucs at any time that unfortunately lives to this day… But my dad was at my Middle School the day a first or second year Derrick Brooks has come to speak and from that moment on “My Man Derrick Brooks” was my Dads favorite player and he was hyped for the Super Bowl… And Despite my Lifelong experience with the Bucs being embarrassed and a joke, I have always been the Optimist when it comes to them… “All we need is a QB… This is the season right here… We can score 3 touchdowns and a field goal with 3 minutes left 😂” But we both knew the Bucs were gonna take it all that day…

    I have a touch of OCD, and superstition when it comes to sports ever since I was a kid playing Baseball so I remember like it was yesterday sitting in the same exact spot on my parents couch in the best seat in the House not getting up for bathroom breaks or half time or anything, sitting in that same spot for every play, every timeout, every turnover and pick six until it was over and I cried… It was the most unbelievable moment and an experience that was worth 16 years of trying to find that magic again… Having a Super Bowl Win is the best possible thing that can happen to a team, especially when there are still teams out there that haven’t won one and even more that haven’t won one since we have…

    I can only hope that one day my Son and Daughter get a chance to experience that like I did and not have their main memory of Bucs games being my Wife telling them not to mind all of the Cuss Words flying out of my mouth when we watch them on TV…

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  15. In my friends apartment in West Palm Beach, watching with friends… I started my playoff beard the day that the regular season ended and I felt like Billy Gibbons from ZZ top, when all was said and done. The most interesting part of the whole run for me was the Eagles game… As Ronde was running back that 92 year interception, the first thing I thought was “We’re going to the Superbowl and we are going to win… Period.”

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  16. I was 19 years old and went over to my Uncle’s place to watch the game with family. I sat there listening to my uncle explain to me how Gannon was gonna carve us up and questioning “why are you a Bucs fan?”

    Truth be told, I grew up in a household where my dad was a big time Jets fan…still is to this day. As a young boy playing Madden, I was looking for a team to use OTHER THAN the Jets. That’s when I came across a team with a red and black uniform (my favorite colors) and started using them in-game. Through Madden, I became familiar with the Bucs players and began watching the real life games, instantly becoming a fan of Sapp, Brooks, Lynch, Barber, and especially Monte Kiffin.

    Through all the ups and downs, I’ve never swayed and now groom my kids to avoid the typical bandwagon fandom that plagues our state (Hawaii has no pro teams so there is a lot of that here.) They are not big football fans yet, and I honestly get frustrated when they are questioning the rules and nuances of the game mid-game. But at 7 and 12 I can’t really expect them to understand fully yet, for now I just enjoy the fact that when Dad puts on his Alexander or Winston jersey, they rush to their closets to get their David and McCoy jerseys to match.

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  17. I started following the bucs about the age of 10 or so. I like the bucs because my older brother was a bucs fan. His said he was a bucs fan because all his friends were dolphin fans and he didnt want to jump on the bandwagon. I was 13 when the bucs made that amazing super bowl run. I lived in Florida for the majority of my childhood but I was living in New England at the time. I remember it all like it was yesterday. Going into the Eagles game nobody gave the bucs a chance because of the cold and Tampa struggled in the cold. When Ronde made that pick it was incredible. jumping and screaming so happy to say my bucs were going to the super bowl. I watched the super bowl with a few Patriots fans and none of them wanted to see the bucs win, which is a big part of the reason I hate the Patriots to this day. It was the leagues best offense against the best defense so at at early age I learned defense wins championships! I watched in in my living room with my family and so happy that they won I didnt want the night to end. After years and years of bad bucs teams I cant wait til we make the playoffs again.

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  18. I was at home for half the game, and rescuing my sister-in-law from a woman’s shelter the other half. I wanted to beat the living crap out of my soon-to-be ex-brother-in-law as much for making me miss half the game as well as for chasing my sister-in-law out of her house.

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  19. As a former resident of Tampa, I lived through the inaugural early years of Buccaneer history going to many games in the Big Sombrero. In the late 70’s I moved to Phoenix to be there for mom and dad as his health was declining. After he had successful heart surgery and regained his health, I later accepted a business promotion and moved to California in the mid-80’s and have been here ever since. Fast forward to the incredible 2002 Buccaneer season…

    Though I was living only 60 miles away from Qualcomm Stadium where the Super Bowl was played and could have gone to the game, I instead watched the game sitting on the side of my dad’s hospital bed in the intensive care ward of an Orange County hospital. The nurses and doctors let me drape a giant Buccaneers flag over the glass wall looking in to the room and I decorated the room with Buccaneer gear and memorabilia.

    Though the game was less than an hour away, and we each had giant rear projection TVs in our own homes (mom & dad had also moved to CA a few years earlier), we watched the last Super Bowl game we would ever see together on a 13″ TV screen hanging on the hospital room wall.

    My dad passed a few months after that game. Regardless of how close the game may have been or small the TV set was, the memories I have of watching and cheering on the Bucs with him, as well as the many nurses and doctors who would stop in and cheering with us, was something I will cherish for the rest of my life. Thanks Bucs for that life-long memory!

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