USF Athletic Director Lee Roy Selmon laughed when asked if he had the urge to lace up for the Super Bowl.
“Not with my knees,” Selmon said, chuckling. “Those days for me are over.”
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ win was redemption for a man who was a part of the worst first two seasons in NFL history.
“(Going 0-26) was a part of history,” Selmon said. “This win brings you back to a lot of historic moments that happened. It makes you think of a lot of firsts, and this win is truly a first.”
The Bucs’ 27-10 NFC Championship win against the Philadelphia Eagles clinched their first Super Bowl berth in the franchise’s 26-year history. Selmon was proud to see his team finally make it after being eliminated by the Eagles the last two seasons.
“This is very exciting,” Selmon said. “They worked hard this year and in winning the NFC Championship. That’s the dream of all players and coaches, to go to the Super Bowl. Both the defensive and offensive units played very well, and they showed why they deserved to be playing in the Super Bowl.”
Selmon was the first player chosen by the expansion Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1976 and didn’t disappoint. The six-time Pro Bowler and seven-time All-Pro defensive end led the Bucs to the playoffs three times and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1995. The Bucs playing in the Super Bowl is a historic moment for the franchise and community, Selmon said.
“It’s good seeing them in the Super Bowl,” he said. “It’s going to be interesting to see how the community responds.”
As for attending the game Sunday in San Diego, Selmon is playing it by ear.
“I’m just waiting and seeing right now,” Selmon said. “I have no definitive plans, and I’m going to see how my work schedule comes out.”
The Bucs winning the NFC Championship and enjoying their winningest season in franchise history may bring benefits for USF, as well, Selmon said.
“This is going to bring good exposure of USF and Tampa Bay to the world,” Selmon said. “This game will bring excitement and some intangible benefits.”
Selmon said that Bucs players such as Warren Sapp, John Lynch and Derrick Brooks, who are enjoying Hall of Fame-caliber careers, might become the next Buccaneers to join him in the Hall of Fame if the lead the Bucs to an NFL title Sunday against the Oakland Raiders.
“That whole group has played very well, and when their eligibility comes up, they might have a chance to be inducted into the Hall of Fame,” Selmon said.
Along with an estimated 1 billion viewers worldwide watching the Super Bowl, Selmon and the Tampa community will eagerly watch and hope for their first championship ever.
Selmon’s prediction for the game?
“They say defensive units make the difference, and Tampa Bay has the No. 1 defense in the league this year,” Selmon said.
“I’m predicting the Bucs to win by 10.”