Thousands Pack Ray-Jay To Greet Bucs

January 27 – Approximately 67,000 fans packed Raymond James Stadium to welcome home the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday night. Tampa Bay's home stadium, which seats just under 66,000 people, was host to what was arguably the biggest pep rally to ever take place in the city of Tampa. The city of Tampa will hold a parade for the Buccaneers in downtown Tampa on Tuesday afternoon. The parade, which will start on Bayshore Boulevard, will begin at 3:30 p.m.

They're back.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers departed San Diego, California -- the site of Super Bowl XXXVII – on Monday morning and returned to Tampa, Florida late Monday evening.

Approximately 67,000 fans filled Raymond James Stadium to welcome the Super Bowl champions home. The pep rally, which was free of charge, saw fans fill Ray-Jay past its 65,000-seat capacity.

Once the team's plane landed at Tampa International Airport, several buses carried the Tampa Bay Buccaneers over to Ray-Jay, where fans anxiously awaited the arrival of their favorite team.

At about 9:00 p.m., Tampa Bay owner Malcolm Glazer led the team onto the field inside Raymond James Stadium with the Lombardi Trophy raised over his head for the huge crowd to see. Glazer and the Bucs made their way over to a stage that had been set up for the celebration. Glazer, along with Bucs head coach Jon Gruden and several Bucs players, addressed the crowd and thanked the fans for their support. They also showed off the Super Bowl trophy they had earned when they downed the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII last Sunday, 48-21.

The players addressed the fans for about 25 minutes. After they left the stage, several players, general manager Rich McKay and the three Glazer sons -- Bryan, Ed and Joel -- took the trophy around the edge of the field so fans could touch it.

Two Bucs players did not attend Monday night's festivities at Ray-Jay. In fact, neither quarterback Brad Johnson nor wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson left California with the team on Monday.

Brad Johnson stayed in California in order to participate in a parade through Disneyworld. He then joined Keyshawn Johnson for an appearance on NBC's "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno."

Johnson and Johnson will take an overnight flight back to Tampa and they are both expected to arrive in time for the city of Tampa's Buccaneers Super Bowl Victory Parade, which will be held on Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. in downtown Tampa.

The parade will start at Lykes Gaslight Square on Bayshore Boulevard. It will cross the Hillsborough River over the Platt Street Bridge to Florida Avenue.

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All photos are courtesy of Pewter Report director of photography Cliff Welch unless otherwise noted.

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