Former coach McKay honored as 'a man's man'
The banner was unfurled along the upper-deck fašade at Raymond James Stadium, revealing a name in simple block lettering.
As he stood near midfield, watching his late father's formal induction into the Bucs' Ring of Honor on Sunday, Rich McKay got emotional when he saw the name unveiled.
John McKay, the first Bucs' coach who weathered an 0-and-26 start to guide the franchise's first three playoff teams, joined Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive end Lee Roy Selmon, who became the Ring of Honor's first inductee last season.
"It was good, it was great,'' said Rich McKay, the Atlanta Falcons' president and former Bucs' general manager, whose father died on June 10, 2001, at age 77. "It's always good to remember your parents. I'm no different than anyone else. But to do it this way, to bring our family together and relive all the memories, it was wonderful.''
On the sideline, John McKay was known for wearing a specially designed floppy white golf hat with an orange band. The Bucs distributed replicas of McKay's hat to fans at Sunday's Bucs-Falcons game.
"It was so cool to see all the fans wearing that hat,'' Rich McKay said. "My father would've liked that.
"He came to a situation that was tougher than tough. He had escape hatches he could've taken and comfortably done something else in the game of football, but he was going to finish the task. I thought that was an important lesson.''
And that lesson was understood by John McKay's players. "Coach McKay was a man's man,'' said Selmon, who was present, along with 23 other members of the franchise's inaugural 1976 team. "He built it the right way and he enjoyed the reward of seeing the job get done. I'm glad to see him honored and now I'm looking forward to seeing who goes up there next.''