The PR Bucs Monday Mailbag is where PewterReport.com’s Mark Cook answers your questions from our Twitter account. You can submit your question each week via Twitter using the hashtag #PRMailbag.
Below are the questions we chose for this week’s edition of the PR Bucs Monday Mailbag.
Question: Which do we feel is impacting poor attendance figures more – ticket prices or team performance?
Answer: I don’t think there is any question the reason for the low attendance has been the team’s poor performance. The 2019 attendance was the lowest since the 2010 season according to The Athletic’s Greg Auman, and I don’t blame Bucs fans for not showing up. Tampa Bay hasn’t been to the playoffs since 2007.
Raymond James Stadium – Photo by: Getty Images
That’s nearly a whole generation of potential Bucs fans who haven’t seen a playoff season, and even longer since they saw a playoff win. My son just turned 19, and he was seven years old the last time the Bucs were in the playoffs. We were in the stands for the loss to the Giants that afternoon 12 years ago in 2007, and while he still is a fan of the Buccaneers in general, if given a chance he would rather watch Patrick Mahomes or Lamar Jackson on television than go to a Bucs game.
The good news is, it can flip easily – if the Buccaneers can do their part.
I have been in the old Tampa Stadium and Raymond James in the stands and on the sideline when it was so loud you couldn’t talk to or hear the person standing or sitting beside you. I’ll never forget the playoff win over the Lions to close out Houlihan’s Stadium in 1997 – or even the comeback win over the Bears to open Ray-Jay in 1998. Raymond James Stadium can absolutely be a 12th man again for the Buccaneers if they can ever string together a winning season or two.
The ticket prices are reasonable compared to other teams around the NFL, but fans want to pay to see a winner.
Question: Several teams that barely beat the Bucs have all done quite well in the playoffs. San Francisco is heading to the Super Bowl. Is it possible that the Bucs were far better this season than we realized?
Answer: Yes and no. Certainly I believe the talent on the roster was better than the 7-9 record the team produced. You point to the 49ers game, but also the Titans, Seahawks and Texans are three other playoff teams the Bucs had a chance to beat. So yes, on paper this was a better team than their record suggested.
But as far as being a better team than its record, the answer is no. Tampa Bay earned its 7-9 record with bad penalties, a porous defense for the first half of the season, an offensive line that was inconsistent, and of course a quarterback that threw 30 interceptions. Throw in a few bad coaching decisions, some poor past drafts and, with apologies to former Cardinals coach Dennis Green, the Buccaneers were who we thought they were – a very average 7-9 football team.
Question: Can the Bucs be the first team to play a Super Bowl in their own stadium next year?
Answer: If a 4-12 San Francisco team can win the NFC title and reach the Super Bowl in one offseason, then anything is possible. You won’t find me calling MyBookie.ag or flying to Vegas anytime soon to bet the farm, but the NFL is set up for teams to get better – and get better quickly. That is why it is so mind boggling that the Buccaneers continue to be so bad. Just two winning seasons in the last 12 years? And no playoffs?
Jon Gruden and Bucs owner Malcolm Glazer – Photo by: Getty Images
But as I wrote after the season ended, I do think the Bucs’ glass is half full. There were plenty of positives to build on, but if the Bucs can’t make the playoffs in 2020, they may never make them. At least under their current lineup of ownership, front office and coaching staff. This organization might just need a complete cleaning and a total from the ground up rebuild.
There are a number of pieces in place to have success, and with a lot of hard work and a little luck, Tampa Bay can – and should – get on the winning track in 2020. As far as playing at home in the Super Bowl, I think most fans would just take a winning record and a playoff berth for starters in 2020.
Question: Would you rather get hit by Warren Sapp, Derrick Brooks or John Lynch in their prime? How many time do you think you can be hit by that player before you start to cry?
Answer: Yikes. Can I answer, none of the above? At my age I don’t want Pewter Reporters Matt Matera or Taylor Jenkins to hit me, and they are far from world-class athletes as the the ones you mentioned. But if I must select one, it would probably want to be hit by Derrick Brooks. And not because he wasn’t a hard hitter, but he was probably the nicest of the three on the field and would probably show some mercy and take it easy on me. After all, I’m a Florida State fan, so that would probably aid my cause.
Sapp? He’d enjoy trying to crack my spine and folding me up like a cheap tent and then laugh at me as I was taken away on a stretcher.
And Lynch? He knocked his own brother-in-law out cold. So do you think think he would take any mercy on me? Lynch was easily the most fearless hitter I have ever seen in all my years of covering football. And did it with zero concern for his own safety or the ones he was laying the wood to. Check out this short video below.
As far as the second part of your question goes, no I would not cry if anyone of them hit me. Not a single tear would be shed as I am pretty sure you can’t cry when you are knocked unconscious.
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, the beach and family time.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
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