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Itchalot

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: October 27, 2007, 11:30:54 PM

Woo hoo!  We're better than Jacksonville!  But as much as I like the Bucs and most of the fans, I wouldn't put us in the upper echelon of fandom. 

A lot of Bucs fans couldn't name ten players on the team counting Alstott.   They go to the game to give the kids a treat and to show they are community minded.  Having season tickets is somewhat of a status symbol that says Tampa Bay is your home town! And its a lot of fun tailgating and cheering for the home team and trying to catch some beads.   But on the average Bucs fans aren't really knowledgable about whats going on on the field and they don't particularly want to be. 

I guess it depends on your definition of a good fan is.   I guess some might think that getting into the details of the game is not particulary what makes a good fan. Thats just a matter of opinion one way or the other.  But I think in your original NFL cities your fan base is more serious about knowing what is really going on with the team and the game. 


sammy8887

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#1 : October 26, 2007, 12:01:02 PM

Some love for Tampa fans...plus 5 things you didn't know about Tampa...kinda cool for someone from out-of-state.


No matter who wins Sunday's game, Tampa Bay has better fans than Jacksonville does.

I could end the column now, but there's a group demanding to know where I get off making such a ridiculous statement. So to loyal Jaguars fans, I'm not talking about you.

All 14,095 of you.

That's a slight understatement. There are a few thousand more, but not nearly enough for Jacksonville to avoid hanging its head when compared to Tampa Bay.

And no, we're not just trying to pick on little old J-ville.

We've heard (and told) the unfortunate jokes about how coroners can't identify dead Jags fans because none have dental records. We want the world to know that Jacksonville fans have as many teeth as Bucs fans. And please note: Tampa Bay has more Waffle Houses than Jacksonville.

In this cross-state war, Orlando is Switzerland. But any neutral observer would look at these teams and say, "Thank God Hugh Culverhouse didn't own the Jags."

If he had, the franchise would long ago have moved to a more NFL-mad town. Like Buenos Aires or Minsk.

The true measure of fandom is not how it supports a winner. It's how it supports a loser. No franchise has produced a bigger bunch of losers than Tampa Bay.

The Bucs lost their first 26 games. They had 12 straight seasons of double-digit losses.

As dreary as things were, people still showed up. The average attendance in 1995 was 59,193.

Half that many actually showed up for some games and Tampa Bay was ripped for not supporting its team. I always thought that was nonsense.

It was as if the Bucs had bombarded fans with decades of Chernobyl-like radiation, but they just would not be killed. If the Jags had 10 straight dreadful seasons, there wouldn't be enough tarp in China to cover all the empty seats.

The worst thing that happened to Jacksonville was early success. Fans got so spoiled the city now has a hard time even supporting a winner.

Yes, there are extenuating circumstances. A Florida Times-Union poll a couple of years ago asked people why they weren't buying tickets like they used to. It got the usual list -- too hot, bad ownership, dull product, too expensive, lack of population.

Almost all the excuses had some merit -- both in Tampa Bay and Jacksonville.

You think it's hot in Jacksonville? Try sitting in the upper sun deck of Raymond James Stadium in September.

You think Wayne Weaver is a money-grubber? Culverhouse was so cheap players had to pay for sodas out of a machine at One Buc Place.

You think Tom Coughlin and Jack Del Rio are hard to embrace? Try Ray Perkins, Leeman Bennett and the other gents who roamed the sideline before Tony Dungy came along.

You think it was disheartening to lose Keenan McCardell? Try losing Steve Young.

You think teal is a silly color? Try creamsickle orange.

As for Jacksonville being too blue-collar to buy tickets, Tampa isn't exactly Silicon Valley. The 2006 per-capita income in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties is about $26,400. That's roughly $2,000 more than Duval County.

Yes, there are about 1.1 million more people in the two main counties the Bucs draw from. But Duval's population was enough to fully support the Jags 10 years ago. Now the team goes begging for sellouts.

The Jags covered almost 9,713 seats to make it easier. They've still had to black out two games this year. The opener was almost not on local TV, which shows you how excited fans were about this season.

The absolute pits came three Decembers ago when Houston came to town. The Jags were going for a playoff-clinching and the stands were half-full.

Or were they half-empty?

However you look at it that never would have happened in Tampa Bay.

Being neutral in this battle, we wish only the best for both locales and their fine citizens. So we can't help but worry about our club to the north.

We know if the Bucs are truly awful again, there will be plenty of witnesses.

If the Jags ever sink, they'll go down alone.



http://www.orlandosentinel.com/sports/football/orl-whitley2607oct26,0,1590346.column?page=1


http://www.orlandosentinel.com/sports/football/orl-bucsjags2607oct26,0,6939012.story

Biggs3535

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#2 : October 26, 2007, 12:04:50 PM

I had no idea it was that bad in Jacksonville.  Sad.



John Galt?

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#3 : October 26, 2007, 12:35:36 PM

The Las Vegas Jaguars isn't that far a stretch.


PewterReportHM

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#4 : October 26, 2007, 12:44:08 PM

No.  Still kind of a "tallest midget" argument though.  When the Bucs were truly bad, at least half the fans in the stands were there to see the opponent and root for them (that's what having 1.1mm more people in your environs does for you).

Last season there were plenty of empty seats for home games at RJS, and the distressing habit of seeing people leaving in the third quarter is still much in evidence.

Towns like Green Bay, Washington and Pittsburgh among others, don't have this problem.

Perhaps the best beacon for future success is the Patriots.  They couldn't give away tickets for most of their existence, but since Bill Parcells came in 1993 every game has sold out.  This is even more impressive when you consider that the Pats are still a distant second to the Red Sox on the local popularity chart.

The Bucs are certainly doing better than the Jags or the Fins in Florida, but they have a ways to go to get into the top quartile of the NFL.

LA Jaguars anyone?

HM

John Galt?

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#5 : October 26, 2007, 12:52:40 PM

Quote from: PewterReportHM
When the Bucs were truly bad, at least half the fans in the stands were there to see the opponent and root for them (that's what having 1.1mm more people in your environs does for you).

Also, having a top rate Airport helps.  There are lots of flights from Chicago/Detroit etc. to Tampa.  Getting from Indy or Nashville to Jacksonville requires sitting in back of a crop duster for the last leg.


mjs020294

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#6 : October 26, 2007, 12:55:19 PM

The Las Vegas Jaguars isn't that far a stretch.

Vegas would become very appealing with a NFL franchise.     ;D




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#7 : October 26, 2007, 01:10:38 PM

Jacksonville isn't a football town, it will always be considered an expansion team...   the same goes for the Devil Rays, who will never have respect as a Major League baseball team...   Dolphins and Tampa...  clearly football towns...   its a shame too because the Jacksonville stadium is nicer than Ray J...  at least the club area is....  the Tampa club area is beyond ridiculous with crowds and the noise level in there..  I cant fathom why there are so many people there, when the club seats are full of people...  and a single ticket is $350 EVERY GAME, even pre season..  its a rip off

Fresh

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#8 : October 26, 2007, 02:46:46 PM

The Las Vegas Jaguars isn't that far a stretch.

Vegas would become very appealing with a NFL franchise.  ;D
Well if I could game day passes before the game started and met all the cheerleaders, I'd book tickets every week. ;D


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I'm a playa from way back and playa's gotta play. I'm straight pimpin'. Southside OG's keep it real. Represent the third coast.

bradentonian

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#9 : October 26, 2007, 02:51:10 PM

Jax is on the short list of the teams being considered for relocation


Simms2Clayton05

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#10 : October 26, 2007, 02:52:25 PM

Ya I heard the fans dont care too much about their team there. If they are thinking about moving a team why dont they move them if the fans dont give a rats about their team?



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#11 : October 26, 2007, 03:02:35 PM

Tampa is rich in baseball history and culture. Tampa is also a hotbed for high school, and little league talent.


If you build it, they will come. Just look at USF this year. They draw on average 30,000 and all of a sudden that number jumps to 60,000 without a problem

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#12 : October 26, 2007, 03:17:08 PM

J-ville isn't a good market for the NFL, but it draws equal to and is smaller than both Arizona and Buffalo.  There is also more licensed sales for Jags than Cardinals.

J-ville is a football town...a COLLEGE football town.  They just need to figure out how to tap in to that for the NFL team.

Draft all players from UF, FSU, UGA, and Alabama maybe?

Bucfanut

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#13 : October 26, 2007, 03:22:45 PM

He cites the Bucs attendance in 1995 at 59,000 or so, but the thing is; 1995, in relative terms, was a good year for us...it was the "5 dash 2" start, that ended up 7 dash 9. But it was the 1st time since 82 that the Bucs were in a playoff chase in December; so using that season as the point of reference isn't really fair. Also, I don't know if Jags fans root against their team to lose so the coach will be fired, like many of our fans do.

John Galt?

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#14 : October 26, 2007, 03:38:58 PM

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Yes, there are about 1.1 million more people in the two main counties the Bucs draw from.

That's quite a lot.  Factor in Sarasota/Bradenton only an hour away and thats quite a difference in population.  Also, Tampa is only 90 minutes from Orlando and Jax is almost a 3 hr drive from Orlando.

Add in no major airport, very few hotels, it's just too small a city for a NFL team. 

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