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Tampa mayor makes playful push to rename city ‘Tompa Bay’ if Buccaneers win Super Bowl


TAMPA, Fla. — Tampa mayor and devoted sports fan Jane Castor appears willing to do just about anything to ensure a Super Bowl title in her city, jokingly telling ESPN that she will even rename it after Tom Brady if he and the Buccaneers win on Sunday.

“I told him, we are not discussing changing our city’s name until he brings home that Lombardi trophy. So Tom and I will have that discussion in due time,” Castor said. “Yes, we will talk about that, changing ‘Tampa,’ since we are becoming a title town, to ‘Tompa Bay.’ We’ll have those discussions.”

Brady’s Tampa welcoming began when he was unceremoniously booted from a public park during stay-at-home orders in April. That led Castor to write Brady an open letter with a lighthearted apology for the misunderstanding, in which she told him, “Tom, it’s Tampa Bay. Not Tampa Brady. You win us a Super Bowl and we’ll discuss Tampa Brady.”

Beyond the city “rename,” Castor did promise ways the city would honor Brady, saying, “without a doubt, we’ll have a Tom Brady Day.”

Castor also is open to the idea of Buccaneers inside linebacker Devin White — arguably their best performer in the postseason — riding his horse Dream inside Raymond James Stadium, something he has expressed a desire to do. He called riding his horse Daisy Mae around LSU’s Tiger Stadium “the best day of my life.”

“That definitely is an option,” Castor said. “But it’s only gonna happen one way, and that’s if I can ride out on a horse with Devin White. That we definitely can do. … I grew up with horses, so he and I can both ride out and hoist that Lombardi trophy on horseback together.”

The Tampa Sports Authority, which manages Raymond James Stadium, and the Buccaneers told ESPN that they would internally discuss the possibility of letting a horse in the stadium. But even if that doesn’t happen, Castor, the former Tampa chief of police, said she would be delighted to join White for a ride around town.

“Are you kidding me? We’ll have a mounted patrol parade,” Castor said. “I was just down by the [Tampa] Convention Center with our mounted patrol unit. Yeah, definitely. I just went horseback riding Sunday before last, so I know my way around a horse. And I’ll find my way around that Lombardi trophy!”

As far as putting on the Super Bowl, Castor has been pleased with the area’s compliance with her executive order for mask-wearing in certain outdoor areas, including the nearly 3-mile Riverwalk along the downtown Tampa waterfront. Tampa’s existing mandates did not require masks outdoors.

“Those areas were determined by the idea that there would be large crowds that wouldn’t be able to socially distance,” Castor said. “And so far, we have seen great adherence to that.”

She also echoed what Dr. Anthony Fauci said Wednesday, when he told people to avoid Super Bowl parties and “just lay low and cool it.”

“We’re joining that mantra as well. We’d like everyone to stay home and enjoy the Super Bowl excitement and the Buccaneers’ win in the safety of your own home,” Castor said. “But we also realize that individuals are going to be very excited and a lot of people are gonna come out. So we encourage the wearing of masks indoors and outdoors when you cannot socially distance.

“We want everybody to have a safe and healthy Super Bowl experience. Everybody who comes to visit the town, we want them to arrive healthy, we want them to leave healthy. The only people who are gonna be disappointed are the K.C. fans.”

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