TAMPA - In 2009, when the Buccaneers announced the first-ever throwback game, fans and players embraced the idea of the past meeting the present. Rookie quarterback Josh Freeman led the team and their retro uniforms to their first win after starting the season 0-7.
But this year's throwback uniform game, scheduled for September 29th against the Arizona Cardinals, will have the Bucs playing in their present day pewter and red.
"Disappointed I would say. I look forward to seeing that uniform at least once a year, if not more," said Bucs fan Chuck Stanbro.
It all centers around the helmet. According to a Buccaneers news release, a new league policy restricting the use of alternate helmets as well as guidelines that require players to use the same helmet for all games during the season forced the team to pull the plug on the old Bucco Bruce style uniforms. The recently issued league guidelines are a result of recommendations made by a players' safety committee and the NFL's Head, Neck and Spine Committee.
"More safety is better and we play under the NFL so whatever rules they give us we're going to try to play by them," said Bucs wide receiver Mike Williams.
Many fans are left with more questions than answers.
"Why? Why now? Why don't they say this before the season starts? Why are they saying this now when everybody already has the throwback date set?" asked Karen Chastain of Tampa.
But even without the creamsicle uniforms, not everyone feels a sense of loss.
"Kind of late for the fans that got the orange; but you know, it's all a matter of personal preference. I like the newer uniforms myself better," one fan said.