TAMPA, Fla. – Big Nasty cannot tip his hand regarding the details. An honorable man, he will abide by the terms of his non-disclosure agreement in an honorable way. The best he can do is simply say, “Watch the Super Bowl.”
Keith Kunzig, better known as Big Nasty to thousands of Buccaneers fans, recently flew to Los Angeles, where he was cast for a “major promotion” scheduled to run during the Super Bowl between the Chiefs and Eagles.
“It is the biggest thing I have ever done, that’s for sure,” said the 55-year-old Seminole resident. “You are going to see Big Nasty like you have never seen Big Nasty. How’s that?”
We will be watching.
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Speaking of the Super Bowl, Kunzig and his wife Debbie will be at the game on February 12 in Glendale, Ariz. The Bucs’ chief operating officer, Brian Ford, presented him with two tickets, among other “retirement” gifts, during the team’s final regular season home game against Carolina.
“It’s like, come on, man, I could not have gone out any better,” he said. “How cool is to be recognized like that.”
Kunzig, whose trip to Arizona with Debbie is less than two weeks before the couple’s silver anniversary — “Holy crap, 25 years!” – on February 21, will still be cheering on his Bucs at Raymond James Stadium in 2023. The difference is that he will not spend an hour applying face paint, getting dressed up and being hounded every few feet for photos while attempting to walk from the parking lot to the stadium.
Oh, Kunzig will still be recognized. After all, it is not like he will be hiding in the pirate ship. Rather, he may simply pull a jersey over his head before making the drive across Tampa Bay to the stadium. Still a fan, for sure, but without the fanfare.
“It will be so nice to not put that crap on my face,” he said, laughing, at 35 years of super fan service that has him enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. “I would sweat like a dog in all that garb. I say that, but it isn’t over yet.”
No, it is not. Kunzig, who has been involved with so many wonderful charitable endeavors with the Bucs and other organizations over the years, has a couple of engagements booked in March, including a team cruise, that will have him in full Big Nasty mode.
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Come the 2023 season, though, he will be an average fan, if indeed that is possible. In addition to attending each home game, he and Debbie are thinking about traveling to games at Houston, Indianapolis, Minnesota, and San Francisco.
“It will be neat to go to the games and just chill,” said Kunzig, who did not miss a home game, went to a couple of road games, and even followed the Bucs to Munich this season while battling what at times was a debilitating back injury. “I can’t wait to just relax and watch a game. I am sure I will still be asked to have my photo taken, but not like what I have been used to. I am at the age now where I just want to watch.”
Kunzig watched a young fan cheer on the Bucs at a game this year. The boy may not be a future Big Nasty, though he may someday be among those at the front of the line when it comes to unwavering devotion to his favorite team. What made it neat, was the youth was the youngest of three generations of Bucs fans. The father and grandfather used to sit in the same section as Kunzig years ago.
“I heard the kid screaming, in a good way, while cheering on the Bucs,” he recalled. “I caught myself looking at him for a while and thinking, ‘How cool is that.’ I told the father that I remembered him when he was a kid attending games with his father and cheering like that. It gave me a feeling like, Bucs Nation, we are in good shape. We are going to be just fine.”
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