High-temperature forecasts for Sunday afternoon: Green Bay 36 degrees, Tampa Bay 73 degrees.
Packers fans are going to show up no matter where Green Bay heads for its eight road games each season, but this time of year it should come as no surprise when droves of Cheeseheads show up to a locale like Tampa Bay.
“We have the most passionate fans in the world and we travel very well, especially in the warm weather,” Green Bay head coach Mike McCarthy said during his Wednesday afternoon conference call with the Tampa Bay media. “I think anybody that’s been up here, you can see why we probably have so many people down there. But Tampa’s a beautiful area, it’s a great game-day environment and I think this will be a great environment come Sunday.”
“I think half of Wisconsin empties out and heads south,” Packers receiver Jordy Nelson said during his own teleconference. “We expect a lot of Packers fan. We get a big piece of that everywhere we go. We know there’s a big chunk of them down in Miami when we came to Florida so we know there’s a bunch of Packers fans in the Florida area, especially this time of year.”
Sunday’s game at Raymond James Stadium is sold out and it has little to do with the product being run out onto the field wearing pewter and red. Buccaneers players know there’s going to be a lot of green and gold in the stands, probably more so than during games against Baltimore and Cincinnati, and hope that it ignites a little hometown fire inside Tampa Bay fans.
“Yeah it would be bothering,” Bucs safety Dashon Goldson said about the specter of hearing a road crowd on his home field. “I think that’s a little … I wouldn’t like that. You’ve got somebody coming into your hometown and they outshine your fans. But we know this is our home still. They’re just coming here and visiting.”
“It’s crazy that all their fans come like that,” said middle linebacker Mason Foster. “They’ve got a great fan base but so do we; we’ve got great fans here. It’s going to be crazy to see that but you don’t really worry about it. Our fans are going to come with it like they have all year and it’s going to be a good game.”
Even though Green Bay will enter Sunday 10-4 while battling for a division title and Tampa Bay is bumbling toward the end of its fourth straight losing season, center Evan Dietrich-Smith said that shouldn’t change any player’s approach.
“Honestly, they’re situation doesn’t really affect us,” said Dietrich-Smith, who spent most of his first five NFL seasons in Green Bay. “It’s the NFL. You get paid to compete, you get paid to be a professional and to say we’re going to go out there and lay down for these guys is not what’s going to happen. They know that, we know that. They know it’s going to be a game and we’ve obviously been very competitive in a lot of games, been very close, so I don’t think they’d expect to come down here and have this be an easy game for them.”
Something the Bucs may have to expect and prepare for is a home game that sounds a lot like a road game.
“When you have that amount of fans there you want to play well in order to kind of quote-unquote take over the stadium,” Nelson said. “I remember San Diego a couple years ago, they were having to use their silent count at their own stadium.”
“We’ll see how that all goes but if for some reason that’s how it’s going to go on Sunday then that’s how it’s going to be,” Dietrich-Smith said. “But I’m not really anticipating that. You want the fans to show up but it doesn’t really matter where we play. We could play in a parking lot, you’ve got to play football no matter how you look at it.”
Regardless of what color scheme dominates Ray Jay’s stands this weekend, the Bucs do at least have a little history on their side. Green Bay may hold a 30-21-1 overall head-to-head advantage on Tampa Bay, but the Bucs are 14-12-1 in those meetings played in the Sunshine State. Tampa Bay’s also won four of the teams’ seven matchups since the NFL’s 2002 realignment that separated the Bucs and Packers from their former NFC Central home.
Title made me think we were talking Mariota.
I remember the days when we had rivals and the talk leading up to game was on how much we hated the team we were about to play (Packers, Eagles, Colts, Rams, Saints, Panthers) or how much we hated a player on the other team (B. Farve, D. McNabb, R. Proehl, D. McCalister, J. Peppers, S. Smith). Now all we do is bash the Bucs and debate with each other the week leading up to the game. The anticipation of seeing that d#@% kid pictured above with that stupid hat yelling at our players in our house stirs up a few of those feelings. I can’t wait until we draft a QB and O-line, get a OC and build this team to a level where we feel like we have chance to beat anybody.
pinkstob…I to remember the days we couldn’t beat GB. Then we became good and started to beat GB and the other teams in the Central Div. Then we became VERY GOOD and won the SB. What a ride that was! Hope this is the last year we see another team come down here and take over OUR Stadium. We need to get that franchise QB this year and start our climb back to the top again. As the old saying goes, the bandwagon fans will come back if you start to win! Everyone loves a winner so I have no problem picking Winston if that’s what it takes and or Mariota. Just win baby, Just WIN!
Scubog, is that you with the cheese head hat on to blend in? Seriously, I feel for Sunday.
I’ll be there defending our honor as best I can. I am a bit of a smart a$$. I remember the old Bay of Pigs games when both teams were bad. Then along comes Brett Favre and suddenly the “Mystique of Lambeau Field” that was gone from the mid 60’s to the mid 90’s returned. I will say, this is one game I’m actually not looking forward to attending. It’s just a shame that so many of our season ticket holders are so willing to sell their passes on the various ticket exchanges. I remember when we first opened RayJay and it was all season ticket holders and only a few tickets available for the opposing fans. One woman from Wisconsin actually had the gall to complain that she couldn’t get a ticket. So what we have here is transplanted people from all over the south and some who may still live in Wisconsin that will take over our stadium like some sort of invading army. All because our fans let them. You people that want the Bucs to lose to get the first pick. Come sit with me on Sunday and see if that’s your focus. Go Pack Go…..key word “go” Why just a piece of cheese on your head? Stick your head up the cow’s a$$. Is it true that a “Packer” is the term given to the farmer who uses that milking stool to stand on at the back end of old Bessie?
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I hope these damn Cheese heads go back up to Wisconsin and live in the damn cold and snow. You live here you suffer like us and root for the BUCS!!!!
PR tweeted that the Bucs may need to break out the silent count on offense — at home!
Might want to break out a silent prayer too!
As feesh said from BucsBlitz.com said … My Prediction for this game … Pain
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