In 1960 when the NFL awarded Boston a franchise team, an illustrator at the Boston Globe named Phil Bissell was asked to create the Boston Patriots’ logo. He only spent 45 minutes drawing Pat the Patriot, a Revolutionary War soldier who embodied the region’s patriotism, courage and readiness for battle against tyranny or on the gridiron. The iconic character represented the team from 1961 to 1992 when he was replaced by a logo referred to as the Flying Elvis.
According to legend, a pirate ship was struck by lightning during a storm, tossing the captain and crew overboard. The battered vessel washed ashore in Tampa Bay and was docked at Buccaneer Cove in Raymond James Stadium in June 2000. Not long after, the Clearwater Coast Guard rescued a bearded man from the Bay. He was identified as Captain Fear, the ship’s commander, and was reunited with his boat. He now serves as mascot for his new crew on the Buccaneers football team.
Hall of Fame – Or Wall of Shame?
The Patriots’ live mascot was unveiled at the 1995 Pro Bowl wearing an all-American red, white and blue uniform and rallying fans from a ho-hum franchise to six Super Bowl rings. Names like Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski joined the roster of Boston’s legendary heroes such as Samuel Adams, John Hancock and Paul Revere. All are lauded for their determination to succeed when the odds are against them.
Tampa welcomed the NFL’s Buccaneers in 1976, but the region had already spent centuries cavorting with swashbucklers. According to pirate lore, Henry Ross (friend of the infamous Jean Lafitte) buried a chest filled with gold on Ross Island, and French privateer Luis Aury captured Amelia Island in 1817 and set up a pirate town on Honeymoon Island. But of all the rogues who drifted into Tampa Bay, Tom Brady is the only one to win the Super Bowl for both teams.
The Playing Field
Ever since the Puritans settled here in 1630, Boston’s harbor has been the epicenter of commerce, trade and culture. On the waterfront, Pat the Patriot would recommend visiting attractions from his heyday — Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum and the USS Constitution Museum. Visitors also enjoy more modern displays at the Museum of Science, Institute of Contemporary Art, and New England Aquarium.
Gentle waves, barrier islands and secluded coves of Florida’s west coast have offered a balmy stomping ground for visitors ranging from pirates and anglers to industrial barons and tourists. Tampa’s entertainment and cultural scenes are world class, enticing your inner swashbuckler to explore seafaring attractions such as the American Victory Ship Mariners Museum, Florida Aquarium, and Tampa Museum of Art.
End Zone Celebrations
Boston is renowned for events from craft beer and ethnic food fests to sailing regattas and music festivals. But the event that inspires Pat to pull on his best three-corner hat is the annual Patriot’s Day Fest. Since 1894 on the third Monday in April, the region celebrates American Revolution highlights with parades, battle reenactments, Paul Revere’s midnight ride and the Boston Marathon as the grand finale.
Tampa’s most famous buccaneer is José Gaspar, a Spanish naval officer turned pirate who allegedly roamed these waters in the late 1700s and is celebrated in an annual festival. On Gasparilla Pirates Day (last Saturday in January since 1904), local scallywags rattle their cutlasses, board a pirate ship and invade the harbor, along with hundreds of smaller boats. Parades and late-night revelry accompany the festivities.