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(Editor’s note: ESPN’s Bob McClellan grew up in Central Florida and his father bought six season tickets to the Buccaneers in 1976. His brother has kept four to this day).
This is the tenth time I’ve seen quarterback Tom Brady at the Super Bowl, but it’s the first time I’ve cheered for him.
I’m probably not the only Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan on this boat. It’s nothing personal. The New England Patriots have been favored time and time again, and I’m not one to exaggerate.
But in March 2020, after 20 seasons in New England under Bill Belichick, Brady went from someone else to my Tommy.
I was overjoyed and sent the message to my brother Bill, who took over our family’s season tickets to the Bucs in 2003 after my father passed away.
Wrong!!! Film not specified.Billy (center) and Connor McClellan (right), with HOF fan “Big Nasty,” are part of a long family history of participation in the Bucs’ games. Courtesy of Bill McClellan.
Here we are at the end of ten months and the sign of life has already paid off. The Bucs will be the first team to play at home in the Super Bowl. It’s like having a lottery ticket that has all the numbers, and now you’re just waiting for Powerball to see how many vacation homes in remote locations you can afford.
My family history, my career, many of the best moments of my life are tied to the Buccaneers franchise. I think there are a few things you should know about why Brady’s performance is so important to me. Why I yelled, screamed and cheated at Brady and coach Bruce Arians during the NFC championship game against the Green Bay Packers when I was home alone in Franklin, Tennessee.
How Arians built a relationship with the QBs.
What Brady’s jerseys meant to him.
White David became the best LB duo. The
secret weapon of Winfield Jr. His father
. How Brady bonded with his teammates
. Ronald Jones believes in himself again.
My dad bought six season tickets to the Bucks’ inaugural season. With six tickets, he figured one for him and his friend, one for Bill and his friend, and one for me and my friend. We crammed ourselves into Dad’s van, Mom packed some food for the back door, and we drove the 80 miles from my hometown of Ocala, Florida to Tampa. We left at 10 a.m. for the 1 p.m. game, so we had plenty of time to park, eat, and walk to the stadium.
We also had excellent seats. Originally, six down the aisle, six rows up, near the goal line in the west stand. I was just a kid, but what fun it was back then. Lee Roy Selmon, Richard “Batman” Wood, Mark Cotney, Doug Williams, Ricky Bell, Jimmy Giles. Some names will seem familiar to you even if you are not a Bucks fan, others will only be familiar to those who know the Bucks. Yes, I was there when the Bucs won a home game for the first time (too bad it was the 28th game, but what the heck!) Yes, I was there when the Bucs played the Los Angeles Rams at home in the 1979 NFC Championship game.
In 1977, when I was 12, I wrote a letter to the team asking to interview coach John McKay. I was young and stupid. I didn’t even have a return address. But a year later, the team contacted the sports editor of a newspaper in Ocala and invited me to come to practice and sit down with McKay. Imagine that. Williams missed practice with a broken and twisted jaw; the team’s public relations manager asked me to interview him while we watched practice. McKay took me to his office after practice, just him and me. He sat at the biggest desk I had ever seen, lit the greasiest cigar I had ever seen and answered all my questions. The Ocala Star-Spangled Banner questioned me with my first line.
Wrong: the movie, not specified.Bob McClellan’s name? Interview with John McKay, coach of the Bucks, on December 24, 1978 in the Ocala Star-Banner. Courtesy of the Ocala Star-Banner.
It’s been 43 years and countless articles, and I’ve been a professional sportswriter for over 30 years. Bill, a lawyer in Orlando, has two sons (Billy, 28, and Connor, 25), just like my parents. And he started taking them to games when they were kids, just like my dad. Over the years, the courts have gotten better. After I left Florida in 2000 to work for a newspaper in Nashville, Tennessee, my father and Bill reduced the number of tickets to four. Seats four rows up, always down the aisle, around the 25-yard line, same grandstand on the west side.
My father died six weeks before the Buccaneers won their first Super Bowl after the 2002 season; in fact, Bill learned of his transfer while traveling with Connor to the Bucs-Falcons game in December 2002. They were to meet my father and nephew at the game.
On Tuesday, Bill learned by email from the Buccaneers that because of his position as a season ticket holder and the fact that he chose to participate in this VIDOC-affected season (he ended up getting tickets to three games), he is in the lottery for two Super Bowl tickets at face value. The email does not mention that this is a weighted lottery; I would hope that someone with at least four tickets in 45 years would have a better chance than someone with, say, two tickets in two years. The email states that he will be told on Monday if he wins the lottery, and then he has 24 hours to buy them.
Bill is now 58, and he has always been a quiet guy unless you know him well. Even those who know him well don’t know because he hasn’t announced it: he beat cancer this year. Almost certainly through an early diagnosis.
He went to watch the game with Billy (the Bucs beat the Packers on Billy’s 28th birthday). Connor moved to Nashville, and I approached him on Sunday night to come to my house for the game. He said he was at the game, and then we talked briefly about his grandfather and the last time the Bucs played the Super Bowl.
“I don’t know if it really happened, but I remember when we got the call about Grandpa, we turned around and went home,” Connor told me. “I swear, I was watching the game on TV and I saw a shot of our four empty seats.
I’m a bit of a snoop. I’m glad I didn’t lose another family member this year before the Bucks Super Bowl.
Get it, Tom.
Frequently asked questions
What did Tom Brady have to do with the Buccaneers of Tampa Bay?
Schefter said Friday that the two-year deal is worth $50 million, with a full guarantee and an additional $9 million in incentives. Schefter also pointed out that the agreement contains a clause preventing Tampa Bay from acquiring the franchise after the deal expires. Tom E.
How much money will Tom Brady make with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers?
Current contract Tom Brady has signed a 2-year contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that guarantees $50,000,000 and includes an average annual salary of $25,000,000.
Why did Tom Brady trade with the Pirates?
Well, it certainly didn’t hurt that Tom went to Tampa, you know, and the opportunity to go to Tampa was there,” he said. … “I love the weather, but the main reason I came to Tampa to play is because my mother lives two hours away. “She can come to all the games, all eight home games.”
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