BUCCANEERS KIDS ZONE AT RAYMOND JAMES STADIUM: Youth fans are encouraged to check out the Buccaneers Kids Zone at Raymond James Stadium this Sunday, prior to kickoff. Set up adjacent to Tampa Bay Boulevard, immediately south of Raymond James Stadium, the Kids Zone will include inflatable football activities, interactive PLAY 60 drills, and visits by Captain Fear (10:30 – 11:30 a.m.) and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Cheerleaders (11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.) for children to enjoy free of charge. New this season in the Kids Zone, Buccaneers Football Development staff members Darrell Taylor and Chris Leak will provide football instruction for kids (11:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m.) to help encourage activity for at least 60 minutes a day. The Kids Zone will be open from 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., in Lot 6D (Tampa Bay Boulevard between Gates C and D), prior to kickoff.
2015 BUCCANEERS HIGH SCHOOL COACH OF THE YEAR: At the conclusion of team warm-ups, the Buccaneers will recognize the 11 Buccaneers High School Coach of the Week honorees for the 2015 season, followed by the announcement of the 2015 Buccaneers Coach of the Year. The Coach of the Year, selected out of the 11 Coach of the Week winners and determined by fan voting, will receive a personalized Buccaneers jersey and, on top of the initial $1,000 Coach of the Week donation, an additional $1,000 donation towards that school’s football program.
HONORARY FLAG RUNNER: For team introductions, D.J. Williams – son of Buccaneers Legend and Sunday’s Ring of Honor inductee Doug Williams – will carry the Buccaneers flag and lead the team out of the tunnel.
HONORARY GUESTS OF THE GAME (COIN TOSS): Prior to kickoff, the Buccaneers will welcome Doug Williams and family to midfield as the team’s Honorary Guests of the Game. The family will stand alongside the Buccaneers captains at the 50-yard line for the coin toss.
HERO OF THE GAME: Before kickoff, the Buccaneers will continue a tradition with the team’s military Hero of the Game. At every Buccaneers home game, a selected military member will be stationed on the Pirate Ship in Buccaneer Cove to ready the team for action. On Sunday, the Buccaneers will honor U.S. Army Lieutenant Ruth Heckinger. Lieutenant Heckinger served her country in World War II, helping rescue wounded servicemen and pilots as an Army nurse. She served in China, Burma and India on missions to support the Flying Tigers, the first American Volunteer Group of the Chinese Air Force.
SALUTE TO SERVICE SUITE: At every Buccaneers home game, the team honors a distinguished group of military members with an exclusive gameday experience in the Salute to Service Suite. During a break in play, fans are encouraged to direct their attention to the pirate ship and join players and coaches in thanking local servicemen and servicewomen for their sacrifices, including:
- From the Air Force, Airman First Class Edward Santiago and Technical Sergeant Latonya Mathis;
- From the Army, Captain Claudio Rodriguez and Specialist Reginald Moore;
- From the Coast Guard, Seaman Michael Clark;
- From the Marines, Gunnery Sergeant David Lopez;
- From the Navy, Lieutenant Sean Grube and Senior Chief Petty Officer Walter Eisenmann
Williams joined the Buccaneers as the team’s first-round draft choice (No. 17 overall) in the 1978 NFL Draft out of Grambling State. He immediately took over the starting quarterback position of a team that had won two games combined in its first two NFL seasons. In only his second season, he engineered one of the most unforeseen success stories of the era when he led the Buccaneers to the 1979 NFC Central Division crown and a berth in the NFC Championship Game.
Williams also took the Buccaneers to a division title in 1981 and led his team to a record above .500 in three of his final four seasons (1979, 1981-82) as Tampa Bay’s quarterback. In that four-year stretch from 1979-82, Williams started all of the team’s 57 regular season games and three playoff contests. Among his peers during that span, Williams ranked seventh in passing yards (11,369), 10th in touchdown passes (66), and seventh in lowest interception rate (3.8 percent). He also topped all quarterbacks during that period with 856 rushing yards and tied for the most rushing touchdowns with 12. Williams later played in the USFL (1984-85) before joining the Washington Redskins in 1987, where he won Super Bowl XXII Most Valuable Player honors after leading them to a victory over Denver. Following his playing career, Williams entered the coaching profession and went on to serve two stints as head coach of his college alma mater (1998-2003, 2011-13), winning four conference championships. Williams also has served as a personnel executive in NFL front offices, first with Tampa Bay from 2004-2010 and with Washington since 2014.
BUCCANEERS ACADEMY GAMEDAY FOR KIDS GUESTS: For each Buccaneers home game, the Bucs Care Foundation hosts 100 “Gameday for Kids” from the Buccaneers Academy program to promote academic achievement and positive behavior in children. Selected groups receive game tickets, t-shirts, food vouchers and Buccaneers flags by achieving goals set by their teachers. On Sunday, the Buccaneers will welcome students from Booker T. Washington Elementary, Lockhart Elementary, and Sheehy Elementary. More than 15,000 youth and community members representing over 100 organizations from Tampa Bay have been rewarded through the annual program.
About the Bucs Care Foundation
The Bucs Care Foundation is dedicated to making a difference in the Tampa Bay area through programming that will inspire, equip and celebrate the “Champion” in each of us. Tampa Bay Buccaneers players, coaches, cheerleaders, alumni, and staff have an active role in community improvement through a variety of youth health and education initiatives, family outreach, and military support. Innovative partnerships between the Bucs Care Foundation and local nonprofit organizations provide assistance to thousands of Central Florida residents each year. To learn more, visit www.buccaneers.com/community.
Public Relations Manager
Director of Community Relations
813.870.2700 ext. 3813