Blast from the Past- “Batman”

Published by Kevin Sloan on

Hey! Hey! Tampa Bay! The 2019 NFL season has officially come and gone. This blast from the past segment is a special one for those OG Bucs fans in Mr. Richard “Batman” Wood, one of the most feared linebackers in the history of the Buccaneers.

Richard Wood was born on May 31st, 1953 in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Growing up, he went to Thomas Jefferson High School. After High School, he headed out west to California and attended the University of Southern California, which he was a three-time All-American during the 1974-1975 season.

Due to his lightning speed, stamina, and hard-hitting tackles, he helped lead the Trojans to two National Championships. After his junior year, he declared for the NFL Draft and was selected by the New York Jets in the third round of the 1975 NFL Draft. He had a hard time adjusting his game to the professional side in his rookie campaign and he found it challenging to adapt to the locker room in New York.

After the season, he was traded to the newest team in the NFL in 1976, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This also brought on a reunion with his old coach at USC, John McKay. Wood became a key player and helped build one of the league’s best defensive units.

After six seasons and 88 consecutive games, he was replaced as a starter by Scot Brantley in 1982. He stayed with the Bucs for three more seasons until his contract was not renewed, and he joined the USFL league and its new expansion team in Jacksonville.

Wood was known as Batman during his playing career with “band of black” that was painted on his nose, eyes and wore a Batman arm and elbow pads to help give him the advantage to intimidate his opponents. Thank you “Batman” Wood for all of the memories and passion for this game that we all love.

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