Observations from the Upper Deck of the Ray Jay for the 9/11 Bucs/Lions Debacle

NOTE: Edited for some text correction and removal of freudian slips.

1) Yes.  I indulged in a ticket for today's game, pretty much the only game ticket I'll be able to afford all season long.  I went to honor Lee Roy Selmon.  I also left by halftime, not because of the terrible offensive performance but because I figured out the real reason why the game didn't sell out.

You see, I thought as I have regarding the lack of turnout for Rays games that the Bucs are having problems selling out home games this month because of the terrible economy and that parking and game tickets are too expensive.  But after ten five minutes of sitting in the stands I realized the truth: people don't buy tickets for the home games in September BECAUSE IT'S FREAKING HOT OUT THERE.

I never had Dipping Dots melt so fast in all my life.

I remembered the last time I intentionally went to an early September Bucs game.  It was 1993, the game opener vs. Kansas City.  I couldn't stay past halftime for that game either.  I wore shorts then: within hours of the game I noticed I had the worst case of sunburn on knees I had ever had.

Dear NFL scheduling officials.  Please for the LOVE OF SELMON never schedule Bucs' home games during September at 1 pm.  NEVER.  I don't care you want to save the 4 pm or 8 pm night games for marquee matchups.  IT'S TOO FRICKING HOT AT 1 PM IN TAMPA DAMMIT.  And it's never rainy/cloudy these days either, damn it all.  We get straight pure unaltered sunlight for 3-4 straight hours out there.  ARE YOU MAD?  I mean, we're Floridians, so we are a little mad to begin with, but even we plan on AIR CONDITIONING AND SHADE FOR GOD'S SAKE.

1a) To anyone who questions why we have a domed stadium for baseball, we keep telling you there are two very good reasons.  Some days it rains and lightnings.  And on the days it doesn't rain, IT'S TOO FRICKING HOT.  I'm complaining about an open-air stadium in September: just imagine a ball game in late June/early August in those conditions!

2) Now, onto the game... do I *have* to...?

3) I worried in earlier posts for the tendency for the Bucs' offense to come out of preseason rusty and off-kilter.  No surprise then that the Bucs' offense was woeful the first 50 minutes of this game.  Too many stalled drives, too many three-and-outs.  I can't blame the defensive unit for showing clear signs of fatigue by late Second Quarter... BECAUSE IT'S TOO HOT OUT THERE ahem because they were on the field too much.

3a) That said... would it have killed you guys to, you know, double-teamed Calvin Johnson just a bit more often?!

4) Stats of the game: The most noticeable woe for the Bucs has to be the rushing yardage.  56 total yards.  Falling behind early is part of that low number: the other part, just not maintaining enough drives, period.

4a) A handful of offsides on the Bucs D-line.  It's a first game so maybe you can attribute it to jitters.  But if this keeps happening...

4b) Zero sacks.  Not the result you hope for with a lineup of First and Second Round draftees.  I will grant the evidence that Detroit is supposed to have a good offensive line.

5) Freeman seemed to have issues with throwing downfield further than 10 yards.  The times he did he was clearly relying on the receiver to make the play with incredible catches... but he was also throwing into very tight coverage and coughed up a "Why-You-Do-THAT?" INT into the end zone during the first half.  I know part of his success last year was that Freeman was synced with his receivers and TEs to where the short-yardage stuff were incredibly well-done catches...  But this opening game, he and they looked out-of-sync (except Winslow for much of the game).

6) In other sports news: Oh hey, there was a Rays game today.  Rays beat up on the Red Sox (bwhahaha) to sweep the weekend and move 3.5 games closer to the wild card spot.  The Rays are at least gonna give the American League a fight for the right to be in the postseason.  Keep winning Rays!

7) Beating Ball State is worth moving two spots up the AP poll.  GO BULLS!

8) In NFL gaming news... man, do the Colts need Peyton Manning back or what?

8a) Atlanta?!  What the hell happened to you?

8b) I am DREADING the possibility of Carolina opening Week One as the sole winning team of the NFC South.  Eeeww.

8c) Gradkowski rehabbed his career in Oakland, and could be leading the Bengals to victory now?!

8d) Seriously, NFL?  No September home games in Tampa when the sun is still shining!  AAAAUGH.

9) Next week: at Minnesota.  At least they have AIR CONDITIONING THERE.

10) Is there a stat chart that shows how many times your Fan Posts are opened/read?  I'd like to see if anyone's actually reading this stuff.

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