TAMPA, Fla. - It was like Gasparilla, but this time, the pirates were the Buccaneers -- the actual Tampa Bay Buccaneers. As in, the Super Bowl champion Buccaneers.
The city of Tampa celebrated the Bucs' historic hometown Super Bowl win Wednesday with a rowdy boat parade through downtown. Hundreds of boats hit the water and thousands more fans watched from the shore for two hours as the flotilla sailed down the river, the Lombardi Trophy gleaming in the bright Florida sun and even going airborne for yet another Tom Brady completion.
The Bucs set sail from Armature Works around 1 p.m. before heading down the river, looping around Davis Islands and ending at Sparkman Wharf.
Head coach Bruce Arians and general manager Jason Licht led the way in a blue and white yacht adorned with Bucs flags. But much of the attention was on Tom Brady, who arrived in his own yacht, Viva a Vida, along with his kids.
The loudest boat may have been the one carrying the Bucs' receiving corps. Mike Evans, Scotty Miller, Chris Godwin, Rob Gronkowski, and others danced their way down the river.
At one point, Brady confidently hoisted the Lombardi Trophy -- the seventh he's won in his career -- and tossed it to another boat where the sure hands of tight end Cameron Brate snagged the prized piece of hardware.
Masks were required along the parade route -- per the city’s executive order that does not expire until Feb. 13 -- and fans were asked to spread out along the multi-mile route to maintain social distancing. In many places, though, fans appeared to be ignoring those orders.
The boat parade concluded at Sparkman Wharf with a private event for the team.
Head coach Bruce Arians said the Buccaneers could easily repeat as champions if the team stays intact. Brady already said he’ll be back.
"We have the best coaching staff in the NFL. And we damn sure have the best players in the NFL," Arians said. "We’re going to keep the band together."
"We just made history in all the world," said linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul. "This means so much to me, I’ll do it again. We’re gonna do it again."
Wide receiver Chris Godwin said the team came together at the right time. After a sluggish start, the Buccaneers reeled off eight straight wins to claim the championship.
"We fought all year. We stuck together. And now we’re world champions," Godwin said.
The team said it plans to have a much larger celebration later in the year and hopefully when the pandemic is under control.
BUCS PARADE PHOTOS:
Mike Evans celebrates with the Vince Lombardi Trophy. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Evans, Rob Gronkowski, Scotty Miller, and others celebrate a completed pass to another boat. (FOX 13 photo / Mark Wilson)
Head coach Bruce Arians celebrates during the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Super Bowl boat parade. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Head coach Bruce Arians takes it all in at the Super Bowl boat parade. (FOX 13 photo / Mark Wilson)
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.