Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Ask Ron Jaworski and the 1979 Eagles if Bucs fan will show up and support their hometown team. Tell the 2002 San Francisco 49ers who were trounced 31-6 in the playoffs at Raymond James Stadium that Tampa Bay fans can’t make it so loud you can’t understand what the person sitting to either of side of you is saying when the Bucs defense was on the field.
Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter knows all of this, and wants it to be the way it was when there was a several thousand fan season ticket waiting list in the 90’s, or the way the 72,000-filled-to-capacity original Tampa Stadium used to shake when Lee Roy Selmon took down another quarterback in the late 70’s and early 80’s.
Koetter also knows what the current state of the Bucs is, and the lack of a home field advantage, admitting on Thursday it was up to him and his team to change that. When asked about if the team had an actual home field advantage, Koetter thought for a few seconds before carefully wording his answer.
“Every place is different Every place you play on the road is different, as far as how hard it is to play there and how hard it is to hear there,” Koetter said. “We’re not fooling anybody that some teams travel a lot better than others. Players notice, coaches notice. That’s the truth. And I’m 1,000 percent aware that the more you win, the better it gets.
“But with that said, do we have a home field advantage? That’s our job to create it.”
When you’ve only won three home games since the start of the 2014 season, and with just one winning season since 2008, it is hard to ask fans to continue to come out in droves, as Koetter understands. However, it is frustrating to look out and see more fans jerseys in the stands than home town ones.
“Go take a picture of any of them. Denver, Chicago, Giants. Take a picture, see what you get. We’ve got to take care of the stuff on the field, but some places are harder to play than others.
“When you can’t hear, it’s rough. When you have to do everything silent cadence, everything hand signals, you can’t hear yourself think. Compared to if you’ve got to go to silent cadence in your own stadium.”
Photo by Cliff Welch/PR
The Buccaneers have three straight home games coming up, starting with the Raiders on Sunday, which will give fans and the team itself a lot of answers on the direction of this season. If the Bucs can manage to win two of the three – or even all three – the opposing fans who sit and cheer inside Raymond James Stadium will become less and less moving forward.
Bucs fans want to believe, show up and support their team and Koetter appreciates the ones who are there week in and week out, and said the team feels their energy.
“Oh yeah. The fans that are there, absolutely.”
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
This is going to be a tough game. The key is putting pressure on Carr; I hope there is a plan as this is the best QB so far we have gone against. Go Bucs!
I was shocked to see so many Cowboys fans in our section in the end zone when we made our annual trip down last year. Yes, it was sweet walking back to the car with the ‘W’, but really annoying during the entire game…
See Y’all this Sunday -Let’s get that Home Field Advantage going again !!
I’ll bring beer down for the tailgate ( though I will be drinking Local beers!)
I was at the Cowboys game too it was ridiculous how many Cowboys fans there were i was surrounded by them
We come over from Germany just for those 2 games this week to show our support.
Lets kick some a** and lets get loud!
This is one of my pet peeves. Having never missed a “home” game in 40+ years I feel I am as qualified as anyone to sound off on the subject.
Back in the beginning, area football fans were reluctant to adopt “our” team. Many stuck with their old team and a lot continued their loyalty to the Dolphins who were at the top of the league. Everyone knows the 0-26 start that made it all the more difficult to create a true fan base. Then in 1978 the team started 4-4 before a rash of injuries set the team back. The defense was already outstanding. The “worst to first” 1979 season (poster behind me as I type this) brought out the fans and the old stadium was a “sea of orange”. The excitement was relatively short-lived.
As the disarray became the norm with the losses mounting during the 80’s and 90’s any gains made in the fan loyalty department quickly disappeared. The stadium became a vacation destination for opposing fans seeking to enjoy an easy victory before heading to the beach and a great way for transplants to dig up their old team’s gear and shove it in the faces of their neighbors. I used to just wish we weren’t the worst team. There was certainly no “home field advantage” when the stadium was taken over by the enemy. I had dinner with then coach Same Wyche. I had one request….”Get us back our stadium”. In a way he did by bringing us John Lynch, Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks the foundation on which Dungy’s team was built.
Amazingly, we got the new stadium as many could see the team on the rise. For the first time the stadium was filled with season ticket holding Bucs fans. Finally a home field advantage. Packer, Bears, Vikings and other team’s fans complained that tickets were no longer available to them. The Bucs were on top of the NFL world. But unfortunately the run was over and for many reasons. The team began to decline just when the 10 year season ticket commitment expired. At that point the games were always on TV so fans didn’t renew. The playoff game against the Giants had almost as many NY fans as Bucs fans. How was that possible? Because the season ticket holders didn’t even buy their seats for the play-off game. I guess to save $ for Christmas.
That was the beginning of the apathy as the team reverted back to the pre-Dungy “Yucks”. With Ticketmaster, Stub-Hub and Craig’s List, it became far easier for season pass members to sell their great seats. The thinking became,”Why go see the Bucs lose surrounded by enemy fans when you can recoup your money and watch it on TV? ” The “in-stadium experience” was not much fun. Folks who would never miss a game opted to avoid the disappointment and sold their tickets.
Sitting in the stands I usually get a bit of sunburn on my face. It is often more like a permanent state of embarrassment. I have 2 club seats (48 yard line) and 4 lower bowl seats (35 yard line). I would never sell the extra ones to anyone but a Bucs fan.
It’s no mystery what needs to happen. One need only look to 1997 and the excitement generated that lasted a decade. Dirk has it right. “Change the culture.” Win some home games once in a while. Do that and the fans will be back with flags waving.
Sorry for the ramble.
Still waiting for the Coke you promised Dr. D.
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You know how to fix it? Quit sucking here and win at home. The Rams and Broncos game both sucked big time! Especially the Rams game. Anyways I’ll be there yelling and losing my voice so I’ll do my part. Lol.
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