Seems Like Old Times

November 7th, 2009

By Bob Fox

[Regular listeners to WDAE-AM 620 will know the calm, quiet yet informed tones of “Green Bay Bob,” the Tampa Bay area’s No. 1 source of Wisconsin sports. Naturally, given his on-air moniker, Bob is an avowed Cheesehead, bleeding green and cheddar. Bob takes a look back at the history of the rivalry between the Bucs and Packers.]

I’m sure you all remember the “Bay of Pigs” era between the Green Bay Packers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It all started about 20 years ago.
In the late 1980s, when ESPN was doing its “NFL Primetime” show, Chris Berman and the late Pete Axthelm borrowed the phrase “The Bay of Pigs” when talking about matchups between the Packers and Bucs.
Like the botched “Bay of Pigs” invasion of Cuba in April 1961, the Packers and Bucs in the late 1980s were woeful. It started for the Packers in 1986, when coach Forrest Gregg gutted the team to add youth to the roster. The Packers suffered seasons of 4-12, 5-9-1 and 4-12 from 1986 through 1988, when Lindy Infante took over as coach.

The Bucs will host the 4-3 Packers this upcoming Sunday and wear their throwback Creamsicle uniforms that will also have the infamous “Bucco Bruce” helmet.  This time the game will be held at Raymond James Stadium, as opposed to the “Big Sombrero,” also known as Tampa Stadium, where the Bucs played from 1976-1997.
The Packers used to call the old stadium “Lambeau South” as legions of Packer fans would be at the game and the Packers usually won the contest.  The Packers were 11-7-1 at the “Sombrero.”,
Things have changed at the “Ray Jay.”  The Packers have won only one game since 1998 at the new digs for the Bucs and are overall 1-6 at the venue.

Besides the throwback uniforms on display for the Bucs on Sunday, the team is also honoring Hall of Fame defensive end Lee Roy Selmon and making him the first inductee into the team’s Ring of Honor.  It is a well deserved honor.
Ironically, the man who drafted Selmon was none other than Ron Wolf, the man that helped to transform the Packers in the Holmgren era, when he was GM with the Packers from 1991-2000.  Wolf started his NFL career in the front office of the Oakland Raiders from 1963-1975, then joined the Bucs in their infancy in 1976.
Wolf drafted players such as Selmon, quarterback Doug Williams, running back Ricky Bell and others that would get the Bucs to the NFC championship game in 1979.  Wolf wasn’t around though to see that, as he resigned for “personal reasons” in 1978 (some say he had issues working with owner Hugh Culverhouse) and re-joined the Raiders until he came to Green Bay.
Wolf lives in the Green Bay area, after making the Annapolis area his home for many years.  Wolf’s son Eliot, is now the Assistant Director of Pro Personnel for the Packers.

Sunday’s game should see a full house at the Ray Jay, which has been somewhat rare in 2009, even though all games have been classified as “sellouts”.  But there have been plenty of open seats.

With the proper induction of Selmon to the Bucs’ Ring of Honor, the throwback jerseys and another large expectation of Green Bay fans, Sunday’s game should be a near-packed house.
Yes…as I will gaze onto the field Sunday, it will seem like old times.  Going back to an era that was bleak for both franchises.  The Bucs are trying not to copy their 1976 counterparts and go winless for a season.  The Packers are trying to bounce back from maybe the most painful regular season loss in franchise history.
Yes…it will be a game between two Bays, and both are trying to get away from the trough.

4 Responses to “Seems Like Old Times”

  1. Grundle Says:

    Nice write up Joe. I remeber those games at the Big Sombrero as a kid, it was one of the games my dad always made a point to take me to each year.

  2. BigMacAttack Says:

    I hope tomorrow isn’t a complete disaster.

  3. Ackall Says:

    Going to be way too many Green Bay Bobs and their obese wives waddling around RJS tomorrow, with turkey legs in one hand and beers in the other. The Glazers will clean up.

  4. Joe Says:


    This is not Joe’s write up, It is Bob Fox’s.