In 2009 I produced a story on the British Buccaneers Fan Club. They began in the early 80’s, and by the time I went over to England to direct a feature on them they’d become one of the UK’s biggest NFL fan clubs. Remarkable, since the Buccaneers were, to put it kindly, awful for most of the 80’s and early 90’s.
The Buccaneers were playing the Patriots in London that year, and the UK fan clubs of each team decided to compete in a touch football game the day before kickoff at Wembley Stadium. I contacted the Buccaneers, and asked if perhaps they could spare a few special guests to stop by. They delivered well beyond my expectations.
Instead of former special teamers or third stringers, the Bucs sent an entourage that included former Pro Bowl linebacker Shelton Quarles, running back Mike Alstott, and most of the Tampa Bay cheerleading squad. The UK Bucs fans yelled and cheered. And then Lee Roy Selmon appeared.
A crowd that had been borderline hysterical came to a hush. Selmon seemed almost embarrassed by the reception. He immediately started shaking hands, and more than that, actually talking to the fans. Not just a few words, but actual conversations. It was remarkable to see. Everything you’d ever heard about Lee Roy Selmon — his kindness, his humility, the power of his presence — was on display that rainy day in Richmond Park, London. It touched all the Buccaneers fans in attendance, in particular the President of the Bucs UK fan club, Paul Stewart.
Editor’s Note: Our condolences to the friends and family of Lee Roy Selmon, who died this week at the age of 56. In 1976, Selmon was the first draft pick in Tampa Bay franchise history. Ron Wolf was the Bucs’ General Manager who selected him, and the man who presented Selmon when our Blue Ribbon Panel voted him to the Top 100 Players in NFL History (video below, produced by Nick Mascolo). The article’s author, Adam Ryan, has produced of 17 Buccaneers team highlight films.