In 2008 I was convinced that the wins and losses of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were tied to the socks I wore on game day. For Christmas in 2007 I was given (and still have by the way) a pair of red tube socks with the Buccaneers logo sewn into the tops of each sock and the words Tampa Bay Buccaneers sewn into the underside of the feet. Every time I wore them that year, we won. I know I know, not possible but hear me out on this one. This wasn't a one or 2 week phenomenon. This was 12 weeks worth of magic. We were 9-3 and the only 3 weeks I didn't wear my socks.... All Buccaneer losses.
When we faced the Carolina Panthers on Monday Night Football, I was unfortunately detained by fatherly duties and missed the start of the game. I also forgot to wear the socks. When I started watching the game just before halftime and realized I didn't have the socks on, I rushed to get them on. I thought the magic of the socks would once again overcome, especially when Antonio Bryant caught that amazing one handed grab in the endzone. Alas we all know how that one turned out. The Panthers ran around, over, and through the heart of our defense and the magic was gone.
I wore my socks every game for the rest of that year. We lost them all.
Did my socks have anything to do with the Buccaneers winning? Absolutely not. Of course it didn't. Then again can cheering really affect a game? Can waiving a towel cause a quarterback to throw an interception at an opportune moment? Can smashing "thunder sticks" together at a basketball game cause a player to miss a free throw? Can the sheer will of the fans really make a difference?
As someone who has loved and played sports my whole life, I have to say that it really can. I really believe that the passion of the fans inspires teams to play beyond what they can normally do. When the crowd in New England starts throwing snow in the air as they scream in defiance of the frigid air that stings their throats, you bet it makes a difference. When the fans of the Steelers waive those ridiculous towels as they deafen the opposing offense trying to convert a 3rd and long, that makes a difference. When (insert any one of 20 Packers players here) do the Lambeu Leap and the crowd goes insane, that's a game changer.
The point is, no matter what it is, lucky socks, a special jersey, the way you position the label on your beverage of choice, (that commercial cracks me up) or whatever you do, don't ever stop! Let's make the passion of this fan base become so overwhelming that teams fear coming to the Bay. Let's lift the Buccaneers to a victory today! Even if you're doing it from home, tweet a photo to Bucs Nation, share it on our facebook page, post it here in a fan post, but whatever you're doing, do it all the way.
Today we face one of the best teams in the AFC and one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. In the balance likely lies our playoff hopes. The implications could not be greater. If there was ever a day that the passion and the will of the fans could lift a team to victory let today be that day. We've got a prime slot playing the late game today with a 4:05pm EST kickoff. The eyes of the NFL world will be on us. There's no blackout to worry about. No excuses! Let's Go Bucs!!!