The city of Tampa is all in with the Lightning and its football coach is no exception.

Speaking on the field after the first day of OTA practice Tuesday, Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter shifted away from football momentarily to give his local hockey team a shout out before Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals tonight. The Bolts are looking to close out a six-game series at home against the Penguins and head back to the Stanley Cup Finals for a second straight year.

Photo by: Daisey Charlotte

Photo by: Daisey Charlotte

“This town is on fire for the Lightning,” Koetter said. “Got the whole town excited. You can’t go anywhere without seeing those blue shirts, blue hats, blue banners. We’re rooting for them 100 percent. Go Lightning!”

While Koetter admitted he has some envy over the excitement surrounding the Lightning, he also sees it as a preview for what’s to come given an improved Bucs team. Over the past two years the Lightning has reminded everyone of what kind of fan base Tampa can provide with a winner to support.

“I’m jealous as hell, are you kidding me?” Koetter said. “I’m extremely jealous of what they have going on and that certainly give us something to go for.”

There was once a time when the Bucs had one of the longest waiting lists in the NFL for season tickets. If Koetter can lead a return back to winning football, the team should find itself right back up the league ranks and in the driver seat among Tampa sports teams. For now, though, the city is focused on being the thunder and Koetter is right there with them.

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About the Author: Zach Shapiro

Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders. Contact him at:
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5 years ago

Too bad they didn’t win.