Tampa Bay Buccaneers Mascot: What Is It and Why Did They Choose It?

Captain Fear

What is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers mascot and why did they choose it? As their name implies, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers chose a mascot that’s a pirate. Captain Fear is his name. (Though, he looks to be more fun than scary.)

Back in 1975, the Buccaneers held a contest for their fans to vote on names for the team. 

Local sportswriters and the Bucs’ owner, Hugh F. Culverhouse, provided a list of over 400 names for fans to vote on. The winner was the Buccaneers.

Coast Guard with Captain Fear
Aircrews from the Coast Guard Air Station of Clearwater, Florida with Buccaneers’ mascot Captain Fear. Photo: Petty Officer 3rd Class Ashley Johnson.

The name is a tribute to the swashbuckling pirates who marauded off the Gulf coast of Florida from the 16th to 18th centuries. 

Pirates didn’t have an easy life but they were scrappy, aggressive, and intent on winning the spoils of the day.

One of the original “buccaneers” – Edward Teach, otherwise known as Blackbeard. Ca. 1724. Engraved by Benjamin Cole (1695–1766).

Sports fans also say the rough waters off Florida’s coast resemble the rough and tumble nature of their beloved team.1

At first, the Bucs had a mascot named Skully that looked like the iconic skull on a pirate’s flag.2 Eventually, the skull morphed into a full-blown pirate whom they named Captain Fear.

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