What was supposed to be one of the shortest road trips of the season has turned into one of the longest for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, as NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported the team’s scheduled 2:30 PM flight to Charlotte to face the Carolina Panthers didn’t depart as planned.
Adding to the difficulty of traveling during the time of COVID: The #Bucs have been waiting for about 5 hours on the tarmac due to mechanical issues before traveling to Carolina. They’re set to leave now, but some disruption on their road trip to play the #Panthers.
The Bucs were ultimately forced to switch to a new plane, but weren’t able to take off until shortly after 10 PM. ESPN’s Jenna Laine reported that the team was forced to improvise and hold team meetings in the airport.
The Bucs had to hold team meetings and a meal at Tampa International Airport, but it was in an area of the airport for chartered planes with restricted access. The team scattered about the building and went outdoors to accommodate social distancing.
The over seven-hour delay means the team likely won’t land in Charlotte until around 11:30 PM, a less-than-desirable arrival time to play a 1 PM game the next day. The 3-6 Panthers host the 6-3 Buccaneers on Sunday in the second meeting between the two teams this season, after the Bucs won round one, 31-17.
Jon Ledyard is PewterReport.com's newest Bucs beat writer and has experience covering the Pittsburgh Steelers as a beat writer and analyzing the NFL Draft for several draft websites, including The Draft Network. Follow Ledyard on Twitter at @LedyardNFLDraft