When Tampa Bay Buccaneer fans walk into Raymond James Stadium next Sunday, they'll see their team wear the same uniforms. They'll still be wearing the pewter gray helmets and the red jerseys next Sunday against Washington instead of the popsicle orange jerseys and helmets.
The team had planned on wearing the throwback jerseys and were all set to get Bucco Bruce, the swashbuckling mascot out of retirement for that one contest.
The National Football League, ruling like a nun with a ruler at a Catholic girls school, said no. The team was going to break out the uniforms against Arizona next week but the plans for the retro uniforms being brought out of the mothballs are shelved.
The reason? The league cited safety concerns over the helmets and the recommendation came from the league's Head, Neck and Spine Committee as well as the Player Safety Advisory Panel. Once helmets are properly fitted for each player at the
beginning of the season, the league does not want them changed.
Since Bucs players have already been fitted for their current pewter-colored helmets, those old-school jerseys will have to stay in the closet.
Bucs Chief Operating Officer Brian Ford posted on the team's website, “While we regret that our players will not be able to don the ‘Bucco Bruce’ helmet and traditional orange, red and white uniforms, there simply was no acceptable way to meet the requirements of the new policy while staying true to the spirit of our throwback theme. We will continue to explore options with the league office for bringing back this fan favorite in future seasons.”
Recently, the Chicago Bears wore alternate uniforms against Minnesota and the helmets did meet the league's critera but did not have the orange "C" on the sides. Other teams have worn alternate uniforms in the past (New England, Atlanta, Washington, Buffalo and Dallas) have donned alternate uniforms and the fate of those could be in jeopardy if the league has its way.
So Bucco Bruce will have to sit on the sidelines while the NFL plays the role of party pooper.
Don't expect the Buccaneers to send out any Christmas cards to Roger Gooddel this year.