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A look back at how the Tampa Bay Buccaneers got their name

The name almost belonged to an area university mascot before it became the NFL team's moniker.

TAMPA, Fla — As the saying goes: 'What's in a name?' And for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it's a mixture of fan votes and area history.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers came to life in 1974 when the team was awarded the NFL's 27th franchise. It was not until two years later, in 1976, that the Bucs saw their first kickoff under coach John McKay. 

At the time, the team wore an orange, red and white color scheme to mimic the feel of the Sunshine State. The team's logo was also different than the one fans know today. A winking pirate with a sword in his mouth used to grace the team's helmets and merchandise during the Bucs' early years.

But how did the team get its name? Well, it actually was the result of a contest that asked fans to decide what the team representing their hometown should be called. Given the Tampa Bay area's history with conquistadors, pirates and shipwrecks, the name was fitting. 

But, it could have been off the table for the NFL team when, more than a decade earlier, the University of South Florida nearly claimed it for its mascot.

According to the university, in 1962, a vote led to the Buccaneer winning a mascot election until push back began to surface. USF says students took issue with the name and how the contest was run. That led to the circulation of a petition.

"A petition was formulated and collected more signatures than the actual number of votes in the original election," the university wrote.

A run-off election was held between the Buccaneer and the Golden Brahman, and the rest is history. 

While the look, leadership and players have changed over the years, there is one constant for Bucs fans: Every Sunday during football season, they gear-up to cheer on their Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

And Feb. 7 will be no different. You can catch the big game at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 7 as CBS broadcasts the game, which you can watch locally on 10 Tampa Bay.

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