Before reading on, this article is not about players, neither Gaines Adams nor Michael Clayton. It is not about Josh Freeman or the better Josh right now, Johnson. Instead, its about your ability to watch these players, and how this isn't the first time Bucs ownership has led the way in progressive thinking regarding its franchise. I will explain of course before I'm committed for observation....
In Detroit, San Diego, and Jacksonville, fans are spreading out in comfort as their surrounding seats are vacant due to to the economic downturn. It's easy to blame attendance on team failures, and there is no doubt apathy has something to do with it, but the fact is areas mentioned above are hard hit areas that have supported NFL teams just fine before, even with poor team records. But while the other teams are going about business as usual, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are doing things a little different, and its not the first time that has happened.
If you were going to point to any game and say that one wont be on TV, you would have pointed to this one. In fact, you should expect to see many empty seats when watching the game...but that is the key; you will be able to watch it. Thats because the Glazers, owners accused by many of being cheap because of their spending practices (or rather lack of spending) as of late, are going about things in an unconventional manner. They are giving the sellouts a pass. It hasn't been revealed the exact nature of their creative bookwork, but Buc fans have several times been able to watch a game this year in which the stadium did not actually sell out.
At issue is the NFL's policy for blackouts, or rather Congress' laws, designed to protect the owners pockets by keeping the games off the TV and thus encouraging fans to show up at the Stadium. By law, passed by Congress, a game that would be televised on a major Network must sell out 72 hours prior to kickoff. There are variances that allow for 24 hour extensions.
The Glazers have allowed the games to be televised despite not meeting the required deadlines, something every owner has had the right to do since the rule was created. The easy explanation most fans will come up with, is to continue to look at the Glazers as greedy, and this is nothing more than an attempt to protect their investment. Blackouts will not decrease the value of the Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, or especially the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Yet you will hear the critics..." Nobody wants to watch that anyways" , from the same people who will be tuning in themselves. No, the Glazers are doing this for the Bucs fans, and the people of Tampa Bay.
The economy has affected everyone, wealthy included, and their attempt to purchase the most valuable sports franchise in the universe has stripped them of cash until they can get caught up on interest payments. I see no reason to dismiss everything the Glazers have done for Tampa Bay and the Bucs since arriving. Letting fans watch the Bucs even though the stadium was not sold out, when other owners let their fans stay in the dark, is a perfect example of Bucs ownership leading by example, and hopefully more owners will get the message.
They did the last time a Bucs owner tried a revolutionary (or evolutionary) way of doing things.
Back in the 70's, it was customary to not televise preseason games. They were not covered under the Congressional ruling because they were not telecasts designed for major networks. Only local TV stations picked up preseason games back then. Prior to the ruling by congress, NO FOOTBALL games were televised, sold out or not! They were considered bad business, as fans would just wait to see if a game sold out or not before buying a ticket. This was ridiculous of course, and legislature stepped in to protect the fans....for the most part. Hugh Culverhouse stepped in the rest of the way. He peer-pressured then Dolphins owner Wayne Huizenga to lift the blackout for a preseason game that featured the Dolphins at Bucs. Since it was Culverhouse's home, he was the one who led the movement to do this. He required Huizenga's permission because visitors get a big chunk of the gate money, and a lift of the blackout could have cost the Dolphins owner some cash. Huizenga agreed, grudgingly of course...and the rest is history. Today, millions of people watch preseason game on TV, and similar to today, they have Bucs ownership to look to for leading in a new direction.