Top Ten Tuesday: Best “Pirate” Teams in Sports


Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Pewter Plank is bringing you a new feature this week called “Top Ten Tuesday,” where we feature a list of 10 things, sometimes football related, sometimes Tampa Bay related, and sometimes complete nonsense. It’s a chance to have some fun with the offseason and pass the time until the Buccaneers kick off once again.  Let us know what topics you want to see us cover, and we’ll work them in as the offseason wears on.

For the first edition of Top Ten Tuesday, we take a look at the 10 best teams in sports named after pirates. Any team that has its name based on seafaring scalawags is under consideration. We’ll count down from 10 to 1:

10. Bristol Rovers F.C.

A member of the 4th tier of English soccer, Bristol Rovers are nicknamed the Pirates, and their logo features a pirate doing the “Captain Morgan” pose atop a football.They’ve never joined the top league in England, but they’ve been around forever, and the pirate is a key part of their image. And we had to start somewhere.

9. Portland Pirates

The minor league affiliate of the Phoenix Coyotes is a former Calder Cup (AHL’s championship) winner. The Pirates logo is a bearded and eye-patched swashbuckler with a hockey stick and a stereotypical hat. And the Pirates are the former team of long-time NHL mainstay Olaf “Ollie the Goalie” Kolzig. He would go on to set numerous Capitals’ franchise records.

8. East Tennessee State University

The Buccaneers are a member of the Atlantic Sun conference, and have a handful of NCAA appearances under their belt. They’ve made one Sweet 16, which isn’t a bad deal for a mid-major. And they play at the historic “ETSU/Mountain States Health Alliance Athletic Center,” which is obviously a perk. But they’re best known for allowing a thunderous dunk from Liberty University basketball legend Tim Scarborough.

Mandatory Credit: Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

7. East Carolina Pirates

PeeDee the pirate is the face of ECU athletics, and his programs haven’t seen much success. However, the Pirate baseball team has become a very strong program, and the football team competes from time to time. Plus, ECU gave us Chris Johnson, which was nice of them.

6. Seton Hall Pirates

Seton Hall’s basketball team has seen its winning days come and go. The Big East program has an NIT championship and a Final Four appearance, but neither has come since the 90’s started. Nets coach P. J. Carlesimo did get his start there, so at least they have that going for them.

5. Orlando Pirates

One of the best teams in the South African Premier League, these Pirates have won their league 4 times since 2000, and have finished 3rd or better 9 times since they started in the league in 1996. They’ve also won the African equivalent of the Champions League that you likely see on Fox Soccer as you skip through sports channels.

4. Mount Union Purple Raiders

This NCAA Division III football program is no joke, and have 11 national titles to their name. Pierre Garçon and Cecil Shorts both hail from Mt. Union, and were both a part of the recent success of the Purple Raiders. They won it all in 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2008, and 2012.

3. Oakland Raiders

The Raiders have some of the best professional history on this list, but they’ve become a laughing stock as of late. The leadership of Al Davis went from “Just win” to “Just draft the fastest guy,” and the cupboard quickly went bare. The Raiders would have been higher if they hadn’t ruined their legacy lately.

2. Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pirates also have some good history marred by an ugly present. The former home of some of the best major leaguers of all time is now struggling to get a winning record. I give them the edge over the Raiders, as they seem to have the better chance of returning to glory soon.

1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The 2002-2003 NFL champions top this list because, frankly, there’s not a ton of great competition. The Raiders had their chance in Super Bowl XXXVII, and couldn’t claim the top seafarer crown. The Buccaneers have had a handful of winning seasons in recent years, and look to be trending upward once again. Plus, they’re the youngest team to win a Super Bowl, which seems like a very pirate thing to do. Ignore the old guard, storm in, and do as you like. I just wish the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were more dreaded on the NFL seas. We may see the perception change over the next couple of seasons, and the Buccaneers would lock down their status at the top of this list with another plundering of the Lombardi Trophy.