Tampa Bay Buccaneers superfan Jackie Riles, known as the franchise’s iconic “Pillow Lady,” died at the age of 82, the team announced Saturday.
Her death was due to natural causes, the team said.
Since the Bucs’ inception in 1976, Riles knitted more than 4,000 custom pillows for players, coaches, team staff members and media members, which earned her the nickname from former head coach John McKay, Pro Football Hall of Famer Lee Roy Selmon and Richard “Batman” Wood.
Before every home game, she’d wait with her husband, John, and later her son, Pat, outside the team entrance at Tampa Stadium and Raymond James Stadium, often with cookies, cupcakes and candy. Sporting her signature red crochet hat with “Bucs” on it and often equipped with signage, she had strong opinions about the team and wasn’t afraid to let them be known.
On Saturdays before away games, she’d do the same at the facility, waving as the team bus left the parking lot and headed to the airport.
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