Collecting Buccaneer games on DVD
So what do you do during the off-season? Or how about the evenings when there is nothing worth watching on TV and you need a quick Buccaneer fix?
For me, this means taking a scan along the racks of game DVDs I have of previous Buccaneer games and re-living footage from the past. And believe me, there is enough of a choice these days.
The Bucs have played 563 games in the regular and post-season and I now own 514 of them in their entirety on DVD. And I can throw in another five where I have highlights. So doing basic maths with the help of Carolina Panthers' owner Jerry Richardson who likes explaining such things, that just leaves 44 to go for the full set.
We all like collecting things. Football and baseball cards are always popular and I remember in 1989 going mad to try and complete the NFL Panini sticker set before Phil Carter of the Bucs UK. But this search for every game in Buccaneer history does seem to be one with no chance of completion.
Because there is nothing from the 1976 expansion season available anywhere. It appears as if CBS destroyed the master tapes from that season which bearing in mind the Bucs went 0-14, may well have been a mercy killing. So neither myself, nor my partner in crime in this DVD collection craze, Nick Houllis, have any full game from that season.
We did think we had come close to obtaining the Miami game from that year but it turned out to be a dead end, much also to the disappointment of many of the players from that year who I know, for whom I would have happily made a copy to remind them of their playing days in Tampa Bay.
There are other "Holy Grail" games that Nick and I are always on the look out for. The 1979 division-clincher over Kansas City and the season finale from 1984 against the Jets being but two. These are harder to obtain because the coverage would have come from the AFC affiliate in those seasons and not the regular coverage.
There are none I am now missing since the 1995 season and only six in all since the days of Leeman Bennett. Of course the further back you go, the less likely someone recorded the game on VHS and hence you have to hope a TV master broadcast from a network becomes available.
But I have been able to see so many great games from franchise history through the many sources I have utilised to build this collection. The Snow Bowl in Green Bay in 1995, the legendary appearance of Dave Warnke in the 1983 Detroit game, and the one appearance on special teams by Sky presenter Cecil Martin in 2003.
Pulling highlights from these games so I can add a video clip for every game screen is a long-time goal for mine for this site, but reliving some great and not-so-great games in franchise history is just a fetish that I will continue to indulge. Now where did I put that game with Vito McKeever making a tackle?
You've been great, enjoy Splodgnessabounds