The Tampa Bay Buccaneers jersey and uniform as a whole looks dramatically different from when the team entered the league as a member of the AFC West in 1976. As the story goes, original owner Hugh Culverhouse initially picked the color green to go with the expansion franchise’s white, orange, and red look. However, the green resembled that of the Miami Dolphins, so another shade of Florida orange, nicknamed ‘creamsicle,’ was introduced.
As a result, the Buccaneers’ helmet and jerseys became one of the most infamous of all-time, as were the first uniforms.
From 1976 to 1996, the Bucs’ jerseys consisted of an orange base, white numbering, red trim, TV numbers of the same color and trim on the sleeves, and stripes at the base including of a red-white-red pattern.
The road look was an exact inverse of the home, with orange numbers, red outlines, and a red-orange-red sleeve stripe pattern.
In 1977, the Bucs tweaked their white jerseys to where the numbering was red with orange outlines.
These jerseys remained largely unchanged over the next two decades, despite the ridicule they were subject to.
In 1997, the Bucs finally dropped their infamous creamsicle uniforms for something more intimidating. The home jerseys included a darker shade of red. Black was added to the base of the sleeves and collar. The white numbers included orange and black outlines, and TV numbers were moved to the shoulders. Also, an alternate logo featuring a black pirate ship with the Jolly Roger helmet logo appeared on the sleeves.
The road whites also featured the black collar and sleeves stripe. The black pirate ship logo also appeared at the sleeves, and the numbers were red with orange and black trim.
Pewter was also added to the color scheme but only appeared on the helmets and pants. It’s also good to note that orange did remain in the color scheme, but as an accent.
Fondness eventually grew for the team’s old jerseys and uniforms, despite efforts made to completely erase them from the Bucs’ past. In 2009, they redebuted the look as an alternate to be worn one to two times per year. On such weekends, the Bucs even painted end zones and the midfield logo in the old color scheme. This alternate lasted until 2012 the year before the NFL banned the use of multiple helmets during the season.
The Bucs scrapped the Super Bowl-winning look in 2014 and opted for something new. While the color scheme remained, an arena-football like jersey debuted.
The home look included red with a strange numbering scheme, which critics referred to as “1980s digital alarm clock numbers.” The white numbers contained a faint, orange outline along with black. The numbers also have divides which supposedly glow when hit by a certain angle of light. The pewter shoulder panels separated themselves from red with a thin, orange diagonal line. The wordmark ‘BUCS’ appeared on one sleeve while the pirate ship logo appeared on the opposite side. The TV numbers are red with an orange outline.
The white jerseys included red numbering, the same glow phenomena on the numbers, black and orange trim, pewter shoulder panels, red TV numbers with orange outlines, the ‘BUCS’ wordmark on one side of the sleeves and the ship logo on the opposite side. The creamsicle line splits the white from the pewter at the shoulder.
In 2015, the Bucs debuted their Color Rush look. Pewter numbers, white outlines, and the glow phenomena all return to the red jerseys. There are no shoulder panels or strange divides. The TV numbers are pewter as well.
The Bucs had a great look between 1997 and 2013. Then they had to mess it up. I’ve honestly never seen such a degradation of a uniform at any time in NFL history, and there have been some pretty bad jerseys, such as the 2002-2011 Seattle Seahawks, the 2002-2010 Buffalo Bills, and the 2013-2017 Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Bucs have arguably the worst jerseys in the NFL and overall one of the worst, if not the worst uniforms. These need to be scrapped, as the Bucs have become the butt of jokes everywhere once again. As for me, the old Bucco Bruce era creamsicles looked okay. The 1997-2013 look was a ringer. The 2014-present design is just horrific.
Related Article: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Helmet History
1997-2013 Road Jersey