Is Bucs Attendance Getting To Raheem?

August 13th, 2011

Last year when blackout talk was sadly popular, Raheem Morris routinely said he only was concerned about the fans in the stands supporting the Bucs. They were the greatest fans in the world, Raheem would say, and the head coach would express empathy for the economic forces at play keeping many fans from buying tickets. 

You get the idea.

But in 2011, it seems the tone of the head coach has changed. During a radio interview prior to the Bucs’ night practice last Saturday, Raheem talked about how he wanted to see a full house in the building, stressing that it was a free event and there were no excuses not to come out and enjoy the team, the fan-friendly practice and the fireworks.

Joe made a mental note but didn’t write about that comment at the time. It seemed like it could be a one-off take. Of course, the night practice was a popular event, but the stadium was nowhere near half full.

Last night, speaking on the Buccaneers Radio Network following the Bucs’ blowout preseason win in Kansas City, T.J. Rives interviewed the head coach and closed the chat by saying he would see the coach at home against New England next week. Raheem responded by saying he’d see him in “a packed stadium.” (This just in. The Bucs will be nowhere near sold out on Thursday.)

To Joe, it seems like the head coach is sending a message to the community, — show up and support this damn youngry, 10-6 team — and Joe thinks this is a bad idea. First, Raheem’s only job is to win football games, so his time is best spent worried about stuffing the run. Second, it’s a battle he can’t win. Fans will do what fans will do, for whatever reason they feel like doing it.

If Raheem escalates the attendance talk, it will only backfire on him. The media will ask him more attendance questions, and the fire will be hard to put out.

Joe fears Raheem is taking a cue from one of his mentors and best buddies, Rays manager Joe Maddon, who loves to take measured pulic shots at the Rays support at the gate and the subpar quality of Tropicana Field.

At least Maddon has two division titles under his belt and ownership that likely cheers every time he rips the stadium and support. Raheem has nothing of the sort in his corner, Joe’s quite sure.

Joe’s calling attention to this simply because he wants Raheem to ditch the rhetoric before it takes away from his exciting young team. Another few one-liners and the wrong media types will take notice.

33 Responses to “Is Bucs Attendance Getting To Raheem?”

  1. Leighroy Says:

    Joe, I would agree with your take if there was a more negative connotation to Raheem’s comments. I don’t sense that…. yet. When there is, I think that would be the appropriate time to tone it down.

    But for now, what’s wrong with trying to drum up some support? Rah is an excitable guy and we all know how loud it can get in CITS when the crowd is full and in full throat. Let The Dream dream if he wants to.

  2. FLBoyInDallas Says:

    The Glazers have had him peddling tickets all offseason. I don’t think this is really his choice. They need to back off and let him do his job, which does NOT include selling the team to the public. Their play on the field will do that by itself, eventually.

  3. CharlieB Says:

    Sorry Raheem, when I have to choose between baby formula and Bucs tickets, feeding my kid takes precedence. I was at your free event.

  4. the_buc_realist Says:

    I disagree Joe, The only think wrong with what the coach was he did not say why its important for Full House. He just needs to say that the team needs all the fans cheering the team and causing havoc when the other offense is on the field. If he just said that they need the all important “12 man ” needs to be in the picture as well, it would not sound as bad.

  5. jvato24 Says:

    The Bucs have a Franchise QB … That has a funny way of taking care of attendance issues.

    THis year the Bucs may have 3 Blacked out games .. maybe 4 compared to all 8 lastyear. But I think next year the problem will shrink again.

    Just think I am in the black out zone in Melbourne on the East coast. 2 1/2 hours from TAMPA

  6. BamBamBuc Says:

    Oh NO!!! Two completely subtle comments about a week apart! Somebody tape his mouth shut. And I’m sure any comment about getting fans to the stadium will SURELY scare them off and have them driving to some remote location to watch the game on TV. Wow, what a waste of space that was.

  7. alan thomas Says:

    i do not long for the days where there was no internet and sports on the radio only existed with updates on a top 40 station. however, it really is starting to get on my nerves how every little thing is scrutinized to the nth degree whether it be online or on sportsradio. so he is trying to get people to get energized in this team the way they were in the late 90’s early 00’s. big freakin deal. these days that one comment leads to articles here which will spread out to other websites which will scrutinize it even more. then the local news who obviously reads these things will pick up on it and ofcourse don’t forget 1010 and 620 which will (and has) beat this topic into the ground when no one is calling to help spur on callers. i do appreicate the info on the team and stories about the games themselves but making something out of nothing like this seems a bit assanine. oh, and sabby the goat still sucks. just my 2 cents.

  8. Thomas 2.2 Says:

    We all know that I am not a huge rah rah guy. However, I think that rah is correct to be pissed off. He just misplaces the responsibility for gutting this town’s passion about our bucs – it is solely the fault of the Glazers. It is indisputable that after they won a super bowl, they raised prices, locked fans in to multiple year ticket plans and took the payroll down from near the top to 32nd in the league.

    I believe that this was intentional, meaning they knew they had a few years of packed stadiums due to being champs. What we are seeing now is the result of the policy directed to gru Allen to try to win cheap. They did excellent (I believe that they were at or near the top in wins per salary dollar committed) based on the limitations given by ownership who prioritized soccer.

    Rah’s hiring was an extension of this philosophy. It is not his fault that he was given this job and I respect rah for recommending Freeman.

    If you want to fill the building- hire Cowher, lock up Freeman, add 2 stars to the core. So long as you have rah and no-names, except free, and you finish third in the division routinely you will have 40,000. Accept it.

  9. Kotch Says:

    I’m new around here and I’ve got no problem with what Joe is saying. To the guy who doesn’t want his team scrutinzed like this, it’s not 1985 anymore. Raheem always says it’s entertainment and he’s an entertainer. Well some of us find it fun to live and breathe every inch of Bucs football. If the head coach is starting to write a new script when he talks about attendance, it’s interesting. He should be pissed off about the crappy attendance. It’s embarrassing for a market this size and the outlying areas.

  10. bucswin Says:

    Glad he’s calling out the pathetic fans. And I’m talking about the ones who can afford it but choose not to go because they’re not excited about this team. Keep it up, Rah!

  11. BamBamBuc Says:

    Yeah, yeah, Thomas, we know.

    Next time just type “Insert standard Glazer bash here”, it’ll save you some typing and I won’t have to scroll down as far to get past the same post you’ve put on every single topic on this site.

  12. BamBamBuc Says:

    Don’t even know why I’m scanning through this thread anyway. It should just be a weekly article that I can avoid called “Joe’s Fears”…. Where we can all worry about “Will Freeman pack up and go to KC” or “Will Raheem alienate the fan base by calling them out”…. Tune in for next week to find out what Joe Fears…

  13. Fritz50 Says:

    “It is indisputable that after they won a super bowl, they raised prices, locked fans in to multiple year ticket plans”

    Sorry, I disput that, my season tickets didn’t go up one damn penny, and I’ve never been offered a multiple year ticket plan, let alone been “locked into” one. What freaking planet are you from? BTW, I’ve held these tickets since they built the damn stadium.

    On a side note, what does CITS stand for in reference to the stadium, I thought it’s still Raymond James.

  14. JK Says:

    Citizens investment tax stadium is pretty close to it Fritz. One penny at a time.

  15. admin Says:

    Joe here,

    @BamBamBuc — Freeman’s BSPN feature this week gave a little more weight to the possibility he could be wooed by the Chiefs one day. Geez, his dad wore the Chiefs uniform. And it confirmed his parents are still living down the block. Then there was Freeman on the FOX cameras talking about his friends and family in the stadium last night. Then there was Freeman in another Kansas City Star story today talking about how great it was to be home.

    But you’ve got it right. No fan should wonder whether a midwestern, close-to-his-family kid like Freeman — a kid who stayed home for college — might want to head home when his contract ends here, just a few days after he turns 26. What a foolish thought.

  16. BamBamBuc Says:

    Joe, it’s absolutely irrational.

    First, it’s three years in the future, who knows what happens between now and then.

    Second, you would have to preclude that the Bucs are not winning games by then, because if they are winning games, making the playoffs and have a shot at the Super Bowl, Freeman isn’t going anywhere. You’d also have to assume that KC is winning games, but Cassell is doing horrible. Meaning that Free would have a shot at a Super Bowl with them and they’d be willing to change QBs.

    Third, you are forgetting the “family” he’s forming in Tampa. These young guys, Mike Williams, Arreliious Benn, LeGarrette Blount, even Donald Penn and Davin Joseph. He’s got a football family in Tampa he’d have to be willing to leave. Guys he’s fought beside for 3 or 4 years.

    It’s irrational to have fears of future events that have so many variables. Besides, I’m sure the contract he’ll sign next will pay him enough to see his family whenever he wants… even if he has to charter a private jet.

  17. Garv Says:

    The stadium will not be full for only two reasons. One, the tickets are expensive and not everyone can afford the, The pre-season games are a rip off season ticket holders are forced to buy anyway. Two, there seem to be enough uneducated and ignorant “fans” out there who base their “knowledge” and enthusiasm for the team on fantasy football and Madden 20whatever.

    The stadium will be full when those fools realizes what the smart fans know now. We are on the verge of having one HELL of a football team, the games are a blast and the process is as rewarding as the ultimate goal. Duh.

    Anyone here who can afford to should go to as many games as they can. These ARE the good old days!

  18. BamBamBuc Says:

    I think I’d fear more that Aqib Talib is gonna go to Dallas next year….. oh wait, he might… to join his family…. behind bars. At least that is more likely and more current and more relevant.

    Freeman has stated he wants to be a Buc for life. That may or may not be the case, but do a few comments to his hometown papers really warrant this? Of course he’s gonna say nice things about where he grew up, and what team he wanted to play for as a pro when he was in high school. He’s a class act and wouldn’t say anything negative to the KC papers.

  19. alan thomas Says:

    joe if this ‘the world is falling’ article was rare it wouldn’t be so bothersome. the fact of the matter is that these things arise so often with you that it’s hard not to grow tired of them. don’t get pissed about it as we all enjoy your website on some level but just leveling some constructive criticism.

  20. admin Says:

    Joe here,

    @Alan Thomas — Frankly, you couldn’t be more wrong. Feel free to search Joe’s archives. Perhaps this style of opinion is 1 percent of what you’ll find here.

    Let’s keep it simple and real. Joe heard the coach make two comments about attendance over the past two weeks that differed from his tone last year. Joe found them interesting and Joe thinks the coach should dial it back before he says something he doesn’t want to say.

    If you tire of such information and presentation, then Joe has no answer for you.

  21. admin Says:

    Joe here,

    @BamBamBuc — You’re entitled to your opinion, but this is hardly irrational. The longer Freeman goes without a longer term contract, the more likely it is that he leaves. You want to talk variables? This is the NFL. What are the odds of Olson and Raheem still being here after the 2013 season? We all hope they will be, but the odds aren’t great. That’s just the NFL. Surely, if those guys leave, then Freeman’s odds of leaving increase if he’s not locked up.

    And look, Joe shares his observations, thoughts and opinions. If they move Joe, then its shared. You can think it’s stupid all you want, but it’s hardly way out in left field. In fact, it was timely, given last night’s game. You can be assured it’s the last time Joe will think about it until the Bucs play the Chiefs again. Joe’s fear was only for the moment.

  22. Garv Says:

    IF the Buccaneers let Freeman go, that will be the end for thousands of season ticket holders. It’s too hard to get a franchise QB, too rare to let that happen. I have to believe he’ll be a Buc for life or for the best part of his career at the very least.

    There would be no excuse for not keeping a player this valuable to a franchise, no excuse IMO.

  23. Mauha Deeb Says:

    @Bambam I gave you credit in an earlier post for solid thought.
    I don’t think anything you said in this post is an illegitimate opinion.
    I do question your reasoning for bashing Joe. He simply laid out a possibility.
    I see you bashed Thomas but everyone knows his mindset is abstract at best. Joe didn’t write anything crazy or provocative. Why are you bashing him so?

    Why is the mere contemplation of a reasonable possibility a crime?

    In the end, just let JBF be JBF. The fans clearly want this. Every single sports network/blog is looking at JBF and wondering “why is this nothing site so successful all of a sudden”…. It is because JBF isn’t the norm. It is because JBF tosses the MSM diarrhea aside for actual intelligent and relevant football content and thought. People are sick of the MSM nonsense. JBF is the only NFL sight that is bringing the meat ESPN refuses.
    On top of all that, JBF gives huge credence to other local sites such as Optimist),”Old School” Fournier),, and plenty of others.

    How could you ever blast this site? That is like shooting the fan base right in the chest. How much information have you brought to the Bucs’ fans?

  24. Mauha Deeb Says:

    Bambam, that last post wasn’t completely directed at you. More so, the entire conglomerate of us that bite the hand that feeds.

  25. BamBamBuc Says:

    Why? Because it’s irrational and fear-mongering. Let me clarify:


    In an interview during the Packers preseason game against the Browns, LB Clay Matthews talked about how he grew up in Cleveland, loved the city, and how the people have treated him so well on his trip there for this game. He spoke of his love for the team as a child. Matthews is on his rookie contract, and if the Packers don’t lock him down to a new huge deal soon, he’s gonna bolt to his hometown Browns to be near his family.

    You see how ridiculous this is? Every player has one or two of these interviews. They usually state how they love their hometown and it’s good to be back. Of course Clay Matthews wouldn’t leave the defending Super Bowl champs to go to the Browns, but he sure talked up the city of Cleveland in the on field interview. Should Packers fans be worried? Not a chance. Should Bucs fans be worried? Absolutely not. This is NOT news, it’s not even really opinion, it’s a hypothetical fear. And it has no place anywhere. Keep these fears to yourself Joe.

  26. BamBamBuc Says:

    And yes, that was based on a real sideline interview with Clay Matthews and things he said…

  27. admin Says:

    Joe here,

    @BamBamBuc — Hardly every player has a hometown NFL team, family left in their hometown, played college ball at home, and a connection to a hometown NFL team. Josh Freeman has all four. …Raheem Morris himself grew up in New Jersey a hard core Cowboys fan. Gerald McCoy has spoken about taking on the Bucs as his team as a kid. (No NFL in Oklahoma). Cody Grimm has said he wasn’t the biggest Redskins fan, despite his dad’s history with the club and living in Virginia. Just today, Adrian Clayborn was quoted saying his mother to Tampa.

    Again, all four elements are there for Freeman in Kansas City. You’re welcome to deny it and call it irrational to think Freeman might dream of playing there (the headline of Joe’s story) but it’s just not the case. …Funny how nobody blinks an eye when there’s talk of Josh Johnson wanting to head home to play for the 49ers, where his family and foundation is, plus his college coach and the team he grew up loving.

    And not every player has glowing things to say about their hometown. Some say nothing at all. Or they couldn’t wait to get out.

  28. BamBamBuc Says:

    True, Joe. But Clay Matthews above is a prime example of one that does and how ridiculous this is. If the Bucs aren’t winning games in 3 years, I would say this is a legitimate fear, but right now it’s about as asinine as the lockout was.

    It’s the same with this fear topic. If there are Blackouts, are we gonna blame Raheem Morris now? Seriously? I know Thomas will, and probably Eric. But Morris’ comments in no way will affect the attendance at home games this year. The performance on the field will. Win games, fans will show. Even in a tough economy.

  29. BamBamBuc Says:

    Muaha, this is the second article this week that is fear based, doom and gloom. First, Freeman is leaving for KC when his contract is up, now the Bucs won’t sell out the stadium because Raheem is calling out the fans. Both are BS. When Thomas posts something that is BS, I call him out. Joe is no different. If he’s gonna make the statements, he’s gonna have to back it up.

    Let me ask you, Muaha…. do you think the stadium not being sold out will be in part due to Raheem Morris comments? Do you think there is a legitimate chance right now that Freeman will pack up for KC in 3 years? If not, then you know why I’m taking this stance. It’s no different than Thomas calling McCoy a bust his rookie year or saying that Bill Cowher would sell out the stadium every game. When I see BS, I call BS.

  30. admin Says:

    Joe here,

    @BamBamBuc — There is no implication or anything written in this post by Joe that has anything to do with Raheem driving fans away because of Raheem’s comments. … … That’s all concocted and inferred in your head.

  31. Pete Dutcher Says:

    There have been a couple fear-based articles…gotta agree there. They are disturbing, but nothing that bothers me too much. It’s just sensationalism to get people to talk and I’m fine with that.

    So while I can see BamBam’s point, to me it’s a moot one unless everything here turns negative. If that happens I guess I’d have to move on because I have enough negative to deal with already.

    HOWEVER…I do have a problem with stupidy:

    Thomas 2.2 Says:
    August 13th, 2011 at 1:43 pm
    If you want to fill the building- hire Cowher, lock up Freeman, add 2 stars to the core. So long as you have rah and no-names, except free, and you finish third in the division routinely you will have 40,000. Accept it.

    1) If Raheem goes the chances of Freeman going rise. He would survive his offensive coordinator going (if the Bucs are successful, it will probably happen), but not the head coach going (at this point in his development).

    2) Firing Raheem and hiring Cowher would be a huge mistake. Morris is earning the respect of the majority of fans and the NFL. The fanbase would turn on Cowher within a couple years.

    3) You are wrong about us having just no-names. Jeff Faine is a big name at his position. Penn is considered a big name these days.

    Mike Williams is in the process of becoming a “name” player. Blount is doing the same.

    Ronde Barber is the biggest name on the team and deserves to be.

    And then you have a defensive line that has the potential to become strong names as well, depending on how they are developing by the end of this season.

    4) The concept of rebuilding seems to be lost on you. It takes a minimum of three years to successfully rebuild a team. Yes, there is the rare ocasion where it happens sooner, but that is very rare.

    Raheem’s first year was nearly a complete bust. Yes, he added four good draft picks, but other than that nothing was really accomplished. It was Raheems rookie year as a head coach and many of hte decisions were taken out of his hands in his first year.

    So last year was the start of rebuilding this incarnation of the Buccaneers. We lucked out. They had an easier schedule for hte first time in over a decade. If it had been tougher, and if we’re honest, we likely would have had more losses, especially with so many injuries.

    In short, the team over-achieved last year.


    …that doesn’t mean they cannot do well now. Raheem and his staff are doing an excellent job of developing these young players. Cowher would not. Cowher is more Gruden-like, and maybe that’s why you’d like him here.

    5) Attendence. People seem to forget that when Dungy came the atttendence did not immediately explode. It took a year or two. Things gradually got better because the fans were shown continuity.

    That’s what the fans want to see now and this is the year they should see it. We all know economy is playing a role as well, but “if you build it, they will come.”

    Build a good team and fans will start attending again. With the economy, season tickets might be hard to sell, but individual game tickets will not be as time moves forward.

    6) And you and I both know that in any other division in any other year, 10 wins would have won the division. But the NFC South is the toughest division in the NFC conference.

  32. Mauha Deeb Says:

    @Bambam There is nothing in this article that names a possibility of future blackouts as being Raheem’s fault. So your question is irrelevant.

    Here is what Joe wrote “Might No. 5 ever think of jumping ship when his five-year $36 million Bucs contract ends after the 2013 season? Scary thought. Joe can only imagine the massive contract coming Freeman’s way.”

    The first part is just a question. There is nothing wrong with asking questions. Second part, Joe answers that question by implying the Bucs are going to give him a massive contract to stop that from happening. Where is the fear mongering in any of this?

  33. Eddie Says:

    After not being able to sell out a single game last season, the Bucs once again we’re blacked out on local TV for lack of attendance. The Bucs are a young, up and coming team who really need the support of the local community. If we don’t support the team, they may leave the area all together. I think the Bucs should get a new stadium across the bay in St. Petersburg to help out with their attendance issue!!