This won't be an article of excuses as to why the Bucs fans haven't been going to games. We know the excuses. The Glazers don't spend money or the tickets are too expensive or it's too hot or I'd rather watch them at home in front of my big screen tv. It's been hashed over a hundred times.
The Tampa Bay area is no stranger to being dumped on. It happens every night the Rays beat Boston or New York. Instead of writing an article about how their team got smashed, they go with the op ed about how our community doesn't support baseball.
Still, here it is folks - the sad truth. Buccaneer fans are the worst in the NFL. The Bucs are the least attended of all the NFL teams. That's a fact. They are among the cellar dwellers in merchandise. Not even their twitter or facebook account is followed like other franchises.
TV you say? The Bucs have been blacked out in 13 of their last 16 home games.
According to an article by TicketCity.com, Bucs fans are the least engaged of any of the NFL's fanbases.
Now it's no secret that the bottom five teams on TicketCity's list have the longest playoff droughts in the league. The Bucs haven't played in a post-season game since 2007. They haven't won a post-season game since Super Bowl XXXVII.
The Rams (second worst) haven't been to the playoffs since '04. There's talk they may relocate back to Los Angeles.
Yet the Buccaneers have a franchise quarterback (we think) and have brought in some of the top talent in the league over the last couple seasons in Darrelle Revis, Doug Martin, Vincent Jackson, Carl Nicks, Dashon Goldson and Mark Barron. Gerald McCoy is a unique character who last season took his game to another level, earning his first Pro Bowl.
This is a football team that has more stars than the Milky Way. Further, the Glazers accepted the new NFL rule to only have 85% capacity to lift blackouts in the area, plus slashed prices all over the stadium.
Are you still not entertained?
Here's the thing, Tampa Bay. At some point, you have to get off your boat, your beach front property, tell your jog/biking partner in the park to wait or wrestle up the kiddies and get to the football stadium.
I'm not telling you how to spend your money, frankly, I don't care if you go or not. I'll be there either way. The blackouts have no effect on me.
I'm just telling you that this NFL franchise is a privilege, not a right. While I don't care, your owners do. The Glazers are watching. They've heard your complaints and excuses and as if there was a checklist they have addressed each and every one.
They've bought you a competitive football team with a darn good chance at making the playoffs this year. They've lowered prices, improved concessions and have reached out to the community. They have again lowered the threshold to lift blackouts.
Really, there isn't much more they can do.
If you don't want to support them, there will be another town in the U.S. (or gods forbid abroad) that will.
Like I said, I'll be there and I know the majority of the fans who visit this site will be there. If your not, why not? Money? The economy? The city of Detroit just went bankrupt and is in social and moral decay - yet they are 20th on this list. Its 10 weekends a season, folks. It's not 81 games or 41 games - 10 games. 8 if you want to skip the pre-season games. That's it.
If this is what you want to be, Tampa Bay fans, so be it. Don't go, lose football forever and then gripe about how the NFL wasn't fair to our community.
But we've proven we can more than this. This franchise once had one of the longest sellout streaks in the league. It had a 100,000 person waiting list for season tickets.
It was one of the most profitable franchises in the league and no one would even fathom having this franchise going anywhere else.
It's like that pretty girl you were dating for a couple years. After awhile it becomes routine and you start taking her for granted. You don't treat her as well as she should be. Then you're shocked when she finds another guy who does.
Don't be that guy, Tampa Bay.
We need to turn this around and become what we once were. The Bucs winning some games should help - but it hasn't helped the Rays much. Really it's up to you - the fan who doesn't buy season tickets. Who doesn't want to go to the games.
If you were truly a fan of this football team, you'd want to make an impact. Don't believe it matters? Ask the opposing teams and coaches who have to go to Seattle - and they're only the 14th most engaged fanbase in the league.
You want the Bucs to win home games? Help them by putting your backside in a seat and screaming your head off.
It's a Bucs Life is not just a campaign slogan. It's truth. You're either living the Buccaneers as a fan or you're not. There isn't a middle ground. It shouldn't be about a player or whether the team is winning or losing or what it can do for you.
You either bleed pewter and red or you don't. Find a way, Tampa Bay. I'm not telling you to beg, borrow, cheat or steal but find a way.
You've done it before. You're just out of practice. Start with game one with the Saints. Then try again with the throwback against the Cardinals. Stuff it in the face of Eagles fan on 10/13. Then they have the two night games - which are always a blast. Then it's the Falcons - that one could be for control of the division, you know.
Okay, I'll give you that no one wants to see Buffalo - but to heck with Buffalo. Go to see Revis do his thing. To watch Josh drop bombs like he's working for MacDill AFB. To watch the Dougernaut churn up opposing defenses.
Then it wraps up with the defending NFC Champions, the 49ers. That one could be crucial too...maybe even for playoff positioning.
Just go. You'll like it. We'll all like it. Its no fun cheering in an empty stadium. Let's get Ray Jay rocking again and tell those jagoffs from TicketCity and ProFootballTalk (yeah, I haven't forgotten about you, Florio) where they can stick that worst fanbase nonsense.