How did the Tampa Bay Buccaneers get their name? Origin and meaning
True history or myth: Florida’s western coast was believed to be commonly raided during the 18th and 19th centuries, inspiring the Buccaneer nickname.
Tampa Bay is a region located on Florida’s western shore of the Gulf of Mexico that consists of several large cities: Tampa, Clearwater, Bradenton, Largo, St. Petersburg, Dunedin, Pinellas Park and Tarpon Springs.
In the early 19th century, it was believed that this portion of Florida coined as “Tampa Bay” was commonly invaded by a Spanish pirate named Jose Gaspar, or “Gasparilla,” which the city considered as the legendary pirate who supposedly terrorized the coastal waters of western Florida in the late 18th and 19th century.
So why the Buccaneers?
In 1975, when the city of Tampa was welcoming the new N.F.L. franchise, team owner Hugh F. Culverhouse held a “name-the-team” contest. Out of 400 original submissions, Culverhouse and local sportswriters decided to go with the name that resembled the long history of the Gasparilla invasion, the “buccaneers”.
Today, and for the past few decades, there is an annual festival that takes place in January bringing people from all over the country and beyond, celebrating the “Gasparilla Pirate” featuring a huge parade, festivities and much more.
So technically, both a true story and a myth resulted in the Buccaneers’ pirate-inspired label and mascot.