- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
TAMPA ― The official explanation for the penalty was taunting, but safety Antoine Winfield Jr. happily paid the fine.
With about four minutes remaining in Super Bowl 55 and the Bucs leading Kansas City 31-9, Tampa Bay’s rookie safety broke up a desperate pass to Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill.
Then he bent down and made a peace sign, drawing a flag.
Winfield was just mimicking the gesture Hill made to the Bucs secondary when he caught 13 passes for 269 yards and three TDs in a 27-24 win in November in Tampa.
Winfield’s gesture became a meme and has been commemorated on T-shirts.
“That was more of a spur-of-the-moment thing,” Winfield said. “It was just in the moment. Situational. You probably won’t see that any more.”
However, Winfield can’t go anywhere without seeing it. Fans raise two fingers every time they bump into the second-year pro from Minnesota.
“I see it everywhere. ... The grocery store. Gas station,” Winfield said. “Just pretty much everywhere.”
What motivated Winfield to raise the peace sign was having to watch Hill burn the Bucs secondary over and over again on TV highlights the week leading up to Super Bowl 55.
“I mean, they’re a great offense,” Winfield said. “For me, I feel like I was just tired of seeing the highlights from the first game. I mean, we’d seen that the whole week leading up to the Super Bowl, so it was kind of in the back of my head. Especially coming out to practice, that was always something that would give me that little extra motivation.
“When that moment came up, it just so happened to be the perfect timing, so I just ended up doing it.”
The gesture cost Winfield $7,815 but was worth every penny.
• • •
Sign up for the Bucs RedZone newsletter to get updates and analysis on the latest team and NFL news from Bucs beat writer Joey Knight.