Tampa Bay Won't Wear "Bucco Bruce" Helmets Because Of...Player Safety?

The Bucs were planning to break out the creamsicle throwbacks on Sept. 29th, complete with the winking pirate helmet logo. No more. According to the team, they can't make it work because of new NFL helmet regulations supposedly meant to increase safety.

The problem is this: Bucco Bruce belongs on a white helmet, and only a white helmet. But the Buccaneers wear pewter-colored helmets, and the NFL's rule, put in place this season, requires teams to use the same helmets for every game. If they can't wear the white helmets, with Bruce winking coyly, it's not a real throwback night.

COO Brian Ford:

"While we regret that our players will not be able to don the ‘Bucco Bruce’ helmet and traditional orange, red and white uniforms, there simply was no acceptable way to meet the requirements of the new policy while staying true to the spirit of our throwback theme. We will continue to explore options with the league office for bringing back this fan favorite in future seasons."

There's a kernel of logic behind the league's rule, recommended by its Head, Neck, and Spine Committee. Anecdotally, improperly fitted helmets increase the risk of injury, (and practically, they reduce the manufacturer's liability). Once a player has one that fits, experts recommend sticking with it. But these are NFL players, with NFL training staffs; presumably they can make sure the white helmets (which would be exactly the same make and model, just with a different paint job) fit everyone.

Thankfully, Hispanic heritage night is still on for the 29th. ¡Bruce libre! ¡Viva los Bucaneros!