TAMPA, Fla. — Their voices may be hoarse, but their spirits are sky-high. Bucs fans who were inside of Raymond James Stadium for the Super Bowl are soaking in the glory of being able to witness history.
It’s a moment Larry Gasparino has waited his whole life for — The Buccaneers clinching the Super Bowl and on home turf.
“My wife kept on telling me 'honey, take it easy you’re going to have a heart attack,'” he said with a laugh.
This year, the NFL honored Gasparino as the Bucs fan of the year, a sort of payback for years of loyalty even when rooting for the team came with a whole lot of heartbreak.
“I tell people it’s just like another child, another son. If he’s doing bad for years in school I don’t kick him out of the house. I keep on rooting him on and trying to get him to do better and we did it this time,” he elaborated.
Matt and Tim Selby were also in the stands for the big game. The dad and son were making good on a promise they made 18 years ago that if the Bucs ever made it back to the biggest game of the season, they would be there.
“It is the best feeling ever to go with your son,” Tim explained. “I even put a picture of my grandson in one of the seats so he got to go to his first Super Bowl and he’s only 6 months old.”
Matt Selby brought along a sign that read: “This one is for you, John Swan. #CancerSucks” honoring his friend John, who was a huge Bucs fan and died at just 30 years old from colon cancer.
“I wanted to bring him along to the game. I know he’s up in a better place with a better seat than we ever had but it was nice to pay him a tribute that way. I can’t imagine what the party was like in Heaven,” Matt Selby said with a smile.
For David Otterness, he says it’s hard to even put into words how magical it was to be in the stands to watch Tom Brady proudly hoisting the Lombardi trophy.
“It was just an accumulation of things. Mostly shock that I’m actually here and I’m witnessing this,” he said.
His family has been season ticket holders since 1976.
“This just kind of caps all the investments we’ve had as a family with this team for many years,” Otterness explained.
Even though they were surrounded by cardboard cutouts, and in a year unlike any other, for Bucs fans, the game will go down in history as a moment they’ll forever cherish.
The pressure is now on for the Bucs to run it back next season and fans tell ABC Action News they’ll hold them to it.