History and Traditions of the Dolphins and Buccaneers
By Space Coast Daily // November 13, 2023
The Miami Dolphins and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the two oldest NFL franchises in the Sunshine State. So, it should come as no surprise that these teams and their fans have their own unique cultures and traditions.
Both teams have multiple Super Bowl wins and have played major roles in the history of the NFL.
Understanding the history of these teams can give you a better appreciation for their places in the league. It may even help you when you are placing bets that top real money online gambling sites. After all, as the saying goes, history repeats itself.
Continue reading to learn more about the Dolphins and Buccaneers. I will discuss the history of both NFL teams and the unique traditions of each.
A Brief History of the Miami Dolphins
Despite being established in 1966, the Dolphins are still one of the youngest NFL franchises. Only eight current NFL teams are younger than Miami. Still, the Dolphins hold the record as the oldest franchise in the Sunshine State.
Miami was able to find success early in its existence in the NFL. The Dolphins appeared in three straight Super Bowls. They lost to the Cowboys in Super Bowl 6, but then went on to win Super Bowls 7 and 8.
The win in Super Bowl 7 also capped off a perfect season for the ‘Fins. They became the first and only team to go undefeated and win the Super Bowl in the same season.
A big part of the Dolphins’ success was due to their head coach, Don Shula. The legendary head coach was with the team from 1970 to 1995. Shula currently holds the all-time wins record for an NFL head coach at 328 wins.
A Look at Miami’s Fan Culture
The Dolphins have only made two Super Bowl appearances since their back-to-back championships. Miami appeared in Super Bowls 17 and 19, losing both.
Despite the lack of success over the last 40 years, Dolphins fans remain some of the most-spirited NFL fans. Some of the traditions that fans have created or embraced over the years include:
- The Miami Dolphins Fight Song
- Fins Up salute
- Distributing meals on Thanksgiving
The team plays the fight song after every TD for home games. You will also see many fans in the crowd perform the Fins Up salute while attending games in Miami.
Who Are the Dolphins’ Biggest Rivals?
Miami has played in the AFC for its entire existence and has five conference championships. The Dolphins are currently in the AFC East division and have a healthy rivalry with the other teams in the division.
Buffalo and New York have become bigger rivals in recent years. However, the New England Patriots have been the biggest rival for all teams in the AFC East since the turn of the century.
There is no love lost between any of the teams in the division, though. Miami fans are sure to give their divisional opponents hell during their yearly trips to South Beach.
Miami has other historical rivals outside of its division, too. The battle with the Steelers in the 1970s usually determined the AFC representative in the Super Bowl. Pittsburgh and Miami appeared in seven Big Games during the decade, winning six combined titles.
Miami Hall of Famers
The Dolphins immediate success in the league made them one of the premiere franchises of the 1970s. Even though they have failed to recapture the Lombardi since then, plenty of Miami players have made an impact on the NFL.
There are currently 18 players and coaches for the Dolphins in the Hall of Fame. Some of the most notable members include:
- QB Dan Marino
- HC Don Shula
- DE Jason Taylor
- LB Zach Thomas
- FB Larry Csonka
The weather and favorable tax laws have made Miami a destination for older players and coaches, too. Jimmy Johnson, Cris Carter, and many others made stops in South Beach before ending their Hall of Fame careers.
A Brief History of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Franchise
Like the Dolphins, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers also established themselves in Florida. However, the Bucs were not established until 1974, and they lacked the early success of Miami.
Tampa Bay played its first season in 1976 as part of the new expansion plan. The Buccaneers’ first win would not come until the end of the 1977 season. Tampa’s 26-game losing streak is still the longest in NFL history.
The Buccaneers slowly but surely got better, eventually leading to a playoff appearance in the 1979 season.
It would not be until the 2002 season that the Buccaneers won their first championship, though. The team traded for then-Raiders’ head coach Jon Gruden. Under Gruden, the Buccaneers won Super Bowl 37 in dominant fashion.
Tampa fell back into irrelevance fairly quickly, only making two playoff appearances in the next 17 seasons. Prior to the 2020 season, QB Tom Brady joined the Buccaneers and led them to their second Super Bowl win. The Bucs became the first team to win their Super Bowl on their home field, and Brady won his record seventh championship as a player.
A Closer Look at Tampa Bay’s Football Fan Culture
Tampa Bay holds the unique distinction of being undefeated in multiple Super Bowl appearances. The only other team that can say the same is the Baltimore Ravens, who were also an expansion team.
The Bucs and their fans have fully embraced the pirate theme. Captain Fear, the team’s mascot, is a pirate and the team’s stadium has its own pirate ship. There are even cannons that the team fires after every Bucs’ TD.
Other Buccaneers team and fan traditions include:
- Buccaneers’ fight song: “Hey! Hey! Tampa Bay!”
- Creamsicle jerseys
- Bucs Beach
The Creamsicle jerseys epitomized Tampa’s early struggles in the NFL. Now, the jerseys are a popular throwback option that are always a hit with fans and pundits.
Who Are the Buccaneers’ Biggest Rivals?
Tampa Bay joined the NFL as an AFC team but switched to the NFC after just one season. The Bucs were put into the NFC Central and won the division three times. After another realignment, the Buccaneers were moved to the NFC South division in 2001.
Since the turn of the century, the Buccaneers have built a healthy rivalry with the other teams in the NFC South. They have won the division a total of five times. Their current division rivals include:
- New Orleans Saints
- Carolina Panthers
- Atlanta Falcons
While they are all rivals, the Saints have arguably been the Bucs’ biggest in-division adversary. Outside of the division, the Buccaneers’ biggest rivals have arguably been the Raiders. Tampa traded for Jon Gruden, the Raiders’ coach, and then beat the Raiders in the Super Bowl the following year.
Tampa Bay Hall of Famers
The Buccaneers start off slow, but they have still won two Super Bowls in their time in the NFL. Throughout the nearly 50-year history of the team, 11 players and coaches earned Hall of Fame status. Some of the notable names include:
- HC Tony Dungy
- LB Derrick Brooks
- FS John Lynch
- DT Warren Sapp
- S Rondé Barber
Most of the team’s Hall of Fame selections were from the 2002 Bucs team that won the Super Bowl. Tony Dungy, who later won a Lombardi with the Colts, is credited with building the ‘02 team before Gruden’s arrival.
Common Fan Traditions of the Dolphins and Buccaneers
These Florida teams play in different conferences, so there is not much of a rivalry between them. However, there are many commonalities between these teams from the Sunshine State. Some of the biggest include their tailgating traditions, fan club experiences, and their commitment to their teams.
Dolphins and Buccaneers Tailgating Traditions
Tailgating is a large part of the in-person NFL game experience. Miami and Tampa Bay have great weather, so fans can easily tailgate throughout the season.
Some of the common themes at these tailgates include:
- Fans in costumes
- Fresh BBQ
- Cards, dominoes, and other games
If you want the full experience, then you need to get the game early. Both teams offer unique tailgating experiences that you will not find anywhere else. For instance, it is not uncommon for people to roast whole pigs at Dolphin tailgates.
Miami and Tampa Bay Fan Experiences
The teams themselves also offer unique experiences for their fans. Miami and Tampa Bay both have unique stadiums that offer tons of other things to do while you wait for the game to start.
For instance, fans of the Buccaneers can access the on-site beach while they wait for kick off to approach. There are great hospitality packages available as well, which make it easy to have a memorable experience.
Commitment Through Tough Times
A final thread that connects the Dolphins and Buccaneers fan bases is their loyalty. Both teams have been through more than their fair share of tough times. However, despite dozens and dozens of losing seasons, the fans of these Florida teams have remained loyal.
Do the Dolphins of Buccaneers Have Better Traditions?
Miami and Tampa Bay are two of the three Florida-based franchises in the NFL. Both teams have multiple Super Bowl wins and loyal fan bases. Check out the list above to learn more about the cultures and traditions of the Dolphins and Buccaneers.