The National Football League has developed another “guideline” that strikes a blow to the NFL of my childhood. Today the league decided that “throwback” jerseys were fine, but “throwback” helmits are not. No longer will we see the great helmits of yesteryear adorned by today’s NFL players. Among the casualties are the white Dallas Cowboy’s helmit, the Patriots minuteman helmit, and perhaps, my favorite helmit of all time, the original Tampa Bay Buccaneer helmit bearing the image of a pirate who became affectionately known as “Buccaneer Bruce.”
On Sunday, October 10, 1976, the Tampa Bay Bucs, in their inaugural season, came to Riverfront Stadium to play the Cincinnati Bengals. I was there to watch my hometown Bengals take on the newest NFL team with the greatest nickname ever. I was the 14 year old boy seated on the 30 yard line screaming his lungs out for both teams. In a bittersweet victory, the Bengals won the game 21-0 behind the AFC’s leading passer Ken Anderson.
Somehow, those now hideous creamsickle uniforms were so cool then. They had that sort of World Football League flair that made them so much different from the mostly drab uni’s of the established NFL dinosaurs. And the best part of the entire uniform was the knife wielding swashbuckler on the helmit. And now, he walks the plank and goes to a watery grave forevermore. Or at least until the rules committee meets together again!
In the meantime, I will mourn the loss of another age old feature of the NFL. No more “stick-um,” no more fumbles when the running back bounces off the frozen ground, no more whiplashing, bone crushing hits on the unsuspecting quarterback, and now, no more “Buccaneer Bruce” either. So long old friend. You will be missed.
- New league policy forces Bucs to scrap Bucco Bruce throwbacks (profootballtalk.nbcsports.com)
- Bucs: NFL rule blocks throwback uniforms (TBO.com)
- Bucs scrap plan for Creamsicle throwback jerseys (cbssports.com)
The more things change, the more they stay the same. It doesn’t seem to matter that the Cincinnati Bengals have drastically improved on paper. On the field, it’s still looking like the 90’s.
The Bengals found a way to give a win away today at Chicago. Up late, and they turned the ball over in the red zone. Then the defense made a run to the hot dog stand and watched from there as Jay Cutler took his team the distance to score a touchdown. Who didn’t know that would happen? Exactly. Some things just never change.
On a good note, every team in the AFC North lost their opener as well. But don’t worry…the Bengals are good at erasing any optimism.