in 1967 as a 45,000 seat facility for the University of
Tampa, in 1974 a major expansion was begun thanks to the
NFL awarding a franchise to the Tampa Bay region
beginning with its 1976 season. Over 27,000
additional seats were added to the facility, making it
one of the largest stadiums in the NFL when the
some other USFL facilities, Tampa Stadium was considered
state of the art when the Bandits arrived in 1983.
In 1984 the stadium had the distinction of hosting two
different professional championship games, hosting Super
Bowl XVIII in January followed by the 1984 USFL
Championship Game in July. The NFL would bring the
Super Bowl back to Tampa after its 1990 season, awarding
the city Super Bowl XXV.
The Bandits departed the scene after the 1985 season,
but the Buccaneers continued to play in the facility
through 1997, when new team owner Malcolm Glazer began a
new era for the Bucs - complete with a new stadium, new
helmets and new uniforms. In 1999, the stadium
which Chris Berman had dubbed "The Big
Sombrero" was brought down, converted into a
parking lot for the Buccaneers new stadium, which had
been built adjacent to Tampa Stadium.