On Sept. 5, 1981, two days after I was born, my father held me in his arms in the hospital as we watched our first Bucs game together. While the Bucs won that game, beating the Vikings 21-13, it was one of our few victories for many, many years. When I was two years old, my father took me to my first Bucs game at the old Tampa Stadium, and by the time I was four, I went regularly and rarely missed a home game until I left for Williams.
In total, I’ve been fortunate to attend around 140 Bucs games so far in my life. However, most of these games were losses â€“ big losses, as the Bucs suffered through a horrible drought of 14 consecutive losing seasons. But even during the worst of times, my father and I held out hope that someday the Bucs would make it to the Big Game. Therefore, I gladly travelled 11,000 miles this past weekend to join my father, uncle and aunt in San Diego for Super Bowl XXXVII, the greatest single-day annual sporting event in the world.
When my Record editors heard that I was going to the game, they asked me to keep a journal of what I saw, felt and experienced during this incredible weekend.
12:27 p.m. â€“ Walking down the streets of San Diego’s Gaslight District, I ran into fellow Tampa-native and Eph alum, Stokely Weinberg ’02. He’s definitely excited, too!
2:27 p.m. â€“ After lunch, we ran into Bryan and Joel Glazer, two of the three sons that run the Bucs for their father, owner Malcolm Glazer. Like every other fan, they are on the street buying souvenirs from the Super Bowl. They are really excited. My Dad gave Bryan a “victory cigar” to give to his father for after tomorrow’s game.
7:16 p.m. â€“ A friend says that many of the Raider fans look and act like “ex-con’s.” In comparison, to the nice, spirited Green Bay, Minnesota, Chicago and Detroit fans we are used to, many Oakland fans are obnoxious and mean.
9:10 p.m. â€“ By now, we have heard “[A word that rhymes with ‘duck’] the Bucs,” “Tampa Gay” and “[A word that rhymes with ‘duck’]aneers.”
11:07a.m. â€“ I put on my red #47 John Lynch Bucs jersey. I get goose-bumps and hug my father. I’ve been waiting 21 years for this day.
The reason I wear John Lynch’s jersey is because he is my favorite player, since I like to think that we are fairly similar. We are smart, successful beach guys who play (hit) hard but are really nice and are often the humble leaders of their teams.Â And John Lynch does a TON for the community, which I kind of like to think I do, too, in some way.
11:43 a.m. â€“ Just under four hours before kickoff, we leave for Qualcomm Stadium.
12:57 p.m. â€“ We arrive at the stadium after taking over an hour to travel the seven miles on the San Diego Tram system.
1:22 p.m. â€“ After three tight security checkpoints â€“ a pat down, article examination and metal detector, we finally make it into the stadium ground!
1:35 p.m. â€“ Styx is on stage outside playing “Come Sail Away.” We’re pumped!!
2:15 p.m. â€“ Continuing a Drew Newman tradition, I eat my game day hot dog â€“ mustard down one side and ketchup up the other. It is horrible! But I still eat it.
2:35 p.m. â€“ An hour before kickoff, fireworks explode and the show begins! Santana starts his set with “Black Magic Woman” and “Oye Como Va” before he teams up with Michelle Branch.
2:52 p.m. â€“ The Jumbotron welcomes the Bucs fans with a great graphic video of our pirate ship battling and sinking the Raiders!
2:57 p.m. â€“ Back on stage, Styx plays the Queen classics “We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champions.” Everyone in the stadium sings.
3:05 p.m. â€“ Arnold Schwar- zenegger appears on the screen dressed as the Terminator to introduce the stars of each team.
3:10 p.m. â€“ Color guards representing every era in our military history â€“ from colonial to present â€“ march on the field.
3:12 p.m. â€“ Celine Dion, a Canadian, sings “God Bless America” followed by a great rendition of the national anthem by the Dixie Chicks and an F-18 formation flyover of the stadium.
3:25 p.m. â€“ When we win the coin toss, our whole section starts screaming “Let’s Go Bucs!!”
3:50 p.m. â€“ After a scary, scary interception and score, we tie the game at 3-3. [Warren] Sapp and [Simeon] Rice do the “Big Daddy” dance!
4:07 p.m. â€“ My aunt points out that Missy Elliot just walked right in front of us.
4:12 p.m. â€“ End of 1st Quarter:
Drew’s Voice: 80 percent
Drew’s Energy: 150 percent
Drew’s Excitement: 1,000 percent
4:27 p.m. â€“ Safety Dexter Jackson makes his second interception â€“ AHHHHHH!!!
4:37 p.m. â€“ Mike Alstott scores. Everyone screams and we’re filmed by a crazy Hispanic TV network. Score: 13-3.
Drew’s Voice: 70 percent
Drew’s Energy: 225 percent
Drew’s Excitement: 2,000 percent
4:51 p.m. â€“ Bucs score again! But, I miss it as I am in the bathroom so I celebrate with random Bucs fans!
5:05 p.m. â€“ End of half and the field is transformed instantly into a big stage. My aunt remarks that this game is like a home game because “every time you look around, you see someone else you know.”
5:12 p.m. â€“ Lights go out again and Shania Twain belts out “Feels Like a Woman,” followed by No Doubt singing “I’m Just a Girl” and Sting’s “Message in a Bottle.” The atmosphere is electrifying!
5:33 p.m. â€“ Second half begins. The people sitting behind us unroll an eight foot sign that says “ABC â€“ Always Believe in Chucky!” Chances of getting on world wide television improve 1,000 percent!
5:44 p.m. â€“ Keyshawn [Johnson] makes a great touchdown catch. President Schapiro must be happy! [Editor’s Note: Keenan McCardell actually hauled in the catch, but Keyshawn did provide a crucial 10-yard grab on the drive.]
5:52 p.m. â€“ Bucs score again!
Drew’s Voice: 45 percent
Drew’s Energy: 435 percent
Drew’s Excitement: 5,000 percent
5:56 p.m. â€“ Raiders fans in front of us start to leave as the “Na na na na, na na na na, hey hey hey, goodbye” cheers start!
6:02 p.m. â€“ The feeling is euphoric!!
6:07 p.m. â€“ We all get on the giant Jumbotron screen in the stadium with our ABC sign. We all wonder, did we just get on worldwide television!?
6:20 p.m. â€“ End of 3rd quarter. A sign goes up saying “It’s a Raider Assassination.” Some Bucs fan yells, “I am going to flip my rental car,” while another screams, “You can have my beer, but you can’t take my championship!!”
6:48 p.m. â€“ My uncle goes to the bathroom and the Raiders score. He’s banned from the bathroom.
7:05 p.m. â€“ Two minutes to go â€“ WE ARE ECSTATIC!!!
Drew’s Voice: 15 percent
Drew’s Energy: 500 percent
Drew’s Excitement: 10,000 percent
7:07 p.m. â€“ Brooks runs back an interception for a touchdown!!! Everyone starts chanting the United Way commercial: “Who’s your favorite player? Mister Derrick Brooks!” My voice is shot â€“ completely gone by now.
7:08 p.m. â€“ Keyshawn jumps into the stands a few rows below us to greet his family. Cameras are everywhere. The atmosphere is explosive!!
7:15 p.m. â€“ WE WON!!! WE WON!!! It’s mass pandemonium in these Bucs stands. Everyone is hugging, kissing, high fiving and congratulating everyone else!! It is unreal!!
7:20 p.m. â€“ Stages rush out on the field as Bon Jovi plays “It’s My Life.” Everyone sings and screams!!
7:30 p.m. â€“ Paul Tagliabue is booed as he’s introduced but the boos are quickly changed into cheers as the Bucs accept the Vince Lombardi trophy. The whole Bucs stands have turned into a wild party zone. Everyone is going crazy!!
8:05 p.m. â€“ Everyone is still celebrating and we congratulate Mrs. Ronde Barber and Mrs. John Lynch as they leave the stands to find their husbands.
8:23 p.m. â€“ As everyone exits the stadium, people seem to be either in shock or exhausted or both! Cheers break out everywhere for the Bucs as the celebration continues! We are all simply amazed. What a game! What a night! What a team!
One final interesting point is that Jon Gruden is the son of my second grade teacher, Kathy Gruden. One day when I was in her class, Mrs. Gruden’s two sons, Jay and Jon, came to our class to visit. However, everyone immediately swarmed around Jay and asked for his autograph. Why? Jay Gruden at the time was the starting quarterback for our Arena Bowl champion, the Tampa Bay Storm. No one knew who this other guy, Jon Gruden, was; so we ignored him. If I only knew what Jon Gruden would do for us, our team and Tampa, I would have kissed his feet. Go BUCS!!