- The Washington Times - Monday, January 27, 2003

TAMPA, Fla., Jan. 27 (UPI) — The celebration in Tampa began before the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 48-21 Super Bowl victory over the Oakland Raiders ended and will last a while.

Police were called to quell mild violence Sunday night and two arrests for disorderly conduct were reported. But police hope they won't be required in force Monday night when the team arrives at Tampa Raymond James Stadium and Tuesday fro the traditional celebratory parade.

The Tampa Bay disturbance was not as violent as the one in Oakland, where 23 people were arrested by hundreds of police in riot gear for trashing cars, burning and looting in the wake of the Raiders' loss.

A more good-natured crowd in Tampa spilled onto the streets around the stadium after linebacker Derrick Brooks intercepted a pass and returned it for the clinching touchdown late in the fourth quarter.

Fireworks exploded and people jumped on cars and a television truck. People fired guns into the air.

One man on a median at Dale Mabry Highway near the stadium waved a Bucs' flag with his shorts down around his ankles. He was one of several who chose to celebrate without clothes on.

There were a number of fights, and at least one motorist was pulled from his car. Interstate 275 near the stadium was closed briefly.

About an hour into the fray, Police marched shoulder to shoulder down Dale Mabry ordering motorists and fans to move along. Most of them did.

Police said fans were cutting off the street against city ordinances.

Celebrant Gloria DeJesus, 55, retorted: "We can thank our mayor for this. We have no place to go to celebrate. It's a shame."

The celebration was not confined to Dale Mabry. Fans tore down a goal post at an intra-mural field at the University of Tampa, streets were jammed at the Ybor City tourist and entertainment area.

Guns were fired into the air across the bay in St. Petersburg. Some fans jumped onto the hoods of cars.

"It's hard to believe that was the Bucs out there doing that," said Don Standifer, 38, of St. Petersburg, who was celebrating at a bar. "It's different to be on top looking down for a change. Now we can say finally we've been there, and we've done it. We've been to the big dance."

Police hoped to avoid a repeat at the celebration Monday night. Gates were to open at 7 p.m. and the team was scheduled to arrive at 9:30 p.m.

Fans were told not to bring anything that can be used as a weapon or thrown, including "Chucky dolls."

Buccaneer Coach John Gruden has been nicknamed "Chucky" because his facial expressions resemble those of the doll in the horror movies. "Chucky dolls" have been popular in Tampa since the coach was hired last year.




LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide