Pirates are usually either loved or hated, but they're rarely portrayed as honorable heroes - except for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, of course. The boys in the red and black have fought valiantly for the honor and prestige of their community, and so far they have done quite well, despite the hardships, heartbreak and the hellish gauntlet that was their winless first season in 1976. The team always brings in the crowd, even if that does make it harder to find Bucs parking.
The stadium features a 103-foot pirate ship that blasts rubber footballs for each point the Bucs score. The venue also sports two 92-foot Daktronics HD video displays and trilon billboards. When the stadium opened for business in 1998, the stadium's seats were colored red, but over time they began to fade until around 2003, when they were completely pink. After a settlement with the seating company, all the seats were replaced by 2006. While you won't have to worry about the color of your seat, you still have to worry about Raymond James Stadium parking. If you don't plan ahead, you might not have a Bucs parking spot until "Yo Ho Ho" blasts out of the sound system. If you are a wise seafarer, you should book a Bucs parking spot with ParkWhiz before the game, so you won't have to walk the plank.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers came into existence in 1976, and have been with Tampa Bay since the beginning. Their first season and a good chunk of their second season were difficult, but the Bucs made the NFL playoffs by 1979,. They went to the playoffs six more times until finally winning the Super Bowl in 2002. In Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, they defeated the Oakland Raiders, 48-21.
Before finally parking at Raymond James Stadium, the Bucs were based in Tampa Stadium. In 1995, Malcolm Glazer purchased the team for $192 million, and rapidly started work to improve the team, including a ballot initiative for the arena that is now known as Raymond James. The team also got to the NFL playoffs in 2005 and 2007, and keep fighting to this day. They may not be swashbucklers, but the Bucs do know how to gain a captive audience, which is good for them but bad for people needing to find Bucs parking in the Sargasso Sea that is the parking lot. If you plan ahead and book a Raymond James parking spot beforehand using ParkWhiz, you won't have to get shanghaied for being late to the game.
Raymond James Stadium is also home to the annual Outback Bowl, which happens every year on January 1st, except when the first is on a Sunday, in which case January 2nd is used. The bowl first came into being as the Hall of Fame Classic, a bowl game from 1977 to 1985 which was based at Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama. After being renamed the Hall of Fame Bowl from 1986-1995, the naming rights were purchased by Outback Steakhouse. The conferences tied into the bowl are the Big Ten and the Southeastern Conference.
The stadium additionally hosts the annual Gasparilla Bowl, which occurs right before or after Christmas Day. The tie-in conferences for this bowl game are the American Athletic Conference, the Atlantic Coast Conference and Conference USA, with alternate tie-ins being the Sun Belt and Mid-American conferences. The event was first held in 2008 as the magicJack Bowl, then followed by the Beef O’Brady’s Bowl and Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl. The event was renamed to the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl in 2017 in reference to the pirate Jose Gaspar.
ParkWhiz is as easy as a treasure map that leads to a chest of doubloons, and just as fun. All you have to do is find the Bucs or USF Bulls game that you want to see and book your Bucs parking spot. When you bring your ParkWhiz parking pass with you to the game, you can sit back and let the Bucs put the opposing team in a lifeboat.
Photo by Marc Averette (Averette) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons