The Buccaneers have always held a close affiliation with Macdill Airforce Base, and this year it appears to be no different. I know that one of my favorite things about gameday is the flyby that occurs right after the national anthem. The base is only about 15 miles south of the stadium for those of you not familiar with the Tampa area. Each game those personell that were involved in the flyby get a standing ovation at some point during the game after they announced, a bigger ovation than any play during the game or during any player introduction.
The Bucs visited Macdill this morning and held their pregame walkthrough on the base with military personell and their families in attendance.
“I think it’s good for the base and the community because the Bucs organization is so supportive of the military folks,” Chief Master Sergeant Derrick Crowley said. “It’s a great thing.
Added Gruden: “It’s obviously a great thrill of ours to be around the men and women that are really great leaders. It’s stimulating, and it’s awesome. We made some friends and reunited with some others. It’s important, and we appreciate our armed services and the people here at MacDill.
“A lot of our players, this is their third time here, but for some it’s new. Let’s keep things in perspective – football is exciting and fun, but this is reality. These people here have made tremendous sacrifices. They work their life to protect us and lead us. It’s great to be around them and show them that we care. I just think it’s good education for all of us and keeps things in perspective.”
“I just want to thank you guys for coming out here, the players and the Bucs organization, because what you’re doing here means a lot to all the people out here,” he told the players. “I was just talking to a couple guys that are deployed in Iraq yesterday and they received some Bucs gear in the theater. That meant a lot to them because that’s their tie. They’re gone for a long time, and football is one of those things that’s American and having those little tokens given to them brings back the tie that there’s still America back here.
“They appreciate your support in theater, they appreciate what you do for us here because you allow us to come out here and go to your games and be part of the community, so we just want to thank you and the players and Bucs organization for all you do. We hope you guys have a great season.”