CLEVELAND, Ohio (WFLA) – Larry Gasparino, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers “Fan of the Year” this past season, is a firm believer in the theory “practice makes perfect.” He has actually implemented that theory into his routine ahead of his appearance at the podium in Cleveland, Ohio.
Yes, Gasparino is a part of the 2021 NFL Draft. He will announce the Buccaneers’ fourth-round pick on Saturday.
“I am practicing and getting in front of a mirror and practicing what I am going to be saying because I want to make sure,” said Gasparino. “I am the only one who gets to say this, ‘The Super Bowl LV Champion Buccaneers select…'”
Gasparino admitted he feels extremely nervous about the pending announcement.
“I am nervous talking to you!” he exclaimed. “Can you imagine going up there and knowing there is an ESPN camera, an NFL Network camera, an ABC camera on me? Oh my gosh! My stomach is going to be goosebumps. It is going to be butterflies!”
His commitment to those conversations with the mirror seems to be appropriate under the current circumstances.
“I want to get it right. I do not want to slip up because even some of the college players, they got really weird names,” said Gasparino.
He has been practicing the pronunciations too.
Gasparino, who lives in New Port Richey, and his son, Michael, who lives in West Palm Beach, flew into Cleveland separately on Thursday.
The NFL is treating them to a memorable experience.
“The Bucs have paid for everything,” he said. “They put me in a five-star hotel and I get a VIP badge and I am going to be the guest of the NFL so I will be in the front seating section of the first round and the second round. They have activities all weekend and then Saturday, I get to go on the stage.”
According to Gasparino, the Buccaneers organization asked him to be their representative about two weeks ago. His wife, Paula, received the original invitation in her inbox.
“I was stunned,” said Gasparino. “I was like, ‘Oh my gosh! How exciting!’ and ‘I am honored. I am so privileged.’ Hall of Fame guys get to do this like Derrick Brooks.”
Gasparino said he had strict instructions from the Buccaneers to represent them well.
“I said, ‘You do not have to worry about that!’ so I am all ready,” he said. “I have my Super Bowl patch on my new Buccaneers “Fan of the Year” jersey.”
Gasparino and his son, who begged his mother to allow him to take her place, have been enjoying themselves despite the chilly Cleveland weather.
“I called my friends in Texas and I called my friends in New York telling everybody, ‘You got to watch! You got to watch!'” he said. “They are so proud of me. They are saying, ‘Larry, you deserve this. You earned this. You have been such a loyal Buccaneers fan.'”
They are correct. His passion for the team resulted in the Buccaneers “Fan of the Year” title and now, the Buccaneers NFL Draft representative.
“They think, all of these years, I have been so obsessed and a nutcase and now, it is like they are almost saying, ‘It has paid off,'” said Gasparino, “and I am like, ‘Really? It does not really because this is me.’ This is who I am. I am ‘Thee Buccaholic.’ I am the ‘Fan of the Year’ and ever since it first started, this has been so thrilling!”