When the Buccaneers’ schedule for the 2019 season dropped earlier this year, most of the talk was centered on their ridiculous stretch away from home following Week 3. Head coach Bruce Arians openly criticized the schedule-makers, while the senior director of broadcast planning and scheduling said himself that he would’ve liked a do-over when it came to Tampa Bay’s schedule.
At Los Angeles. At New Orleans. A trip to London for a “home” game. A generous bye week! At Tennessee. At Seattle.
That just doesn’t make any sense. The stretch away from Raymond James Stadium finally ends this Sunday when the Bucs return home to host the Arizona Cardinals. But the team is 2-6 and to the shock of, well, probably no one, the road trip didn’t go well. It started with a big win over the Rams at the end of September, but the Bucs haven’t won since.
Is being on the road for so long the reason why Tampa Bay has lost four straight? It’s doubtful, as the Bucs haven’t lit the world on fire when playing at home in recent years anyway. The offense turns the ball over at an alarming rate and the secondary can’t stop anybody. That’s why the Bucs have been losing.
But still, a trip that spans 19,920 miles and includes zero true home games? No team should have to put up with that kind of stretch.
Well, according to Arians himself, it appears that no one will have to:
After the travel stretch the #Bucs have endured, not having seen the inside of their own stadium since Week 3, Coach Arians said he was told there will be a rule to prevent that from happening again.— Carmen Vitali (@CarmieV) November 8, 2019
Well, good. That doesn’t change anything that happened this year, of course, but it’s at least good that the league realizes it messed up and is looking to make a rule change. Maybe the rule can be called “common sense.”
Looking ahead and thinking on the plus side, the Bucs will play five of their remaining eight games at home. And one of those road matchups is a quick trip up to Jacksonville. Another is just a bit north in Atlanta. That’s not too bad, at least.