The Day Of The Stick Carriers

August 6th, 2017

Looking back at a grand day.

Training camp practices, after their allure wears off on the first day, quickly become Groundhog Day.

Every day is the exact same thing. Same type of drills at the same time. Save for a play or two, they are highly forgettable when the next practice begins. It seems only the weather can bring a change to the mundane.

That wasn’t the case Saturday when the Stick Carriers took over training camp.  Few will ever forget the scene. Joe has never seen an NFL head coach address a group of fans the way winning Bucs coach Dirk Koetter did.

The Stick Carriers, fueled daily by Joe and the Bucs Uncensored podcast by Justin Pawlowski, were loud, large, rabid, energetic, and maybe best of all, G-rated (training camp is often well-populated by families).

There was not one thing negative about the experience. Also, Joe has never seen the Bucs open extra areas for fans, including the east side of the main practice fields. That’s how big the turnout was on an absolutely scorching morning.

Player after player told Joe how the Stick Carriers got them fired up and actually helped them in practice. They provided energy. Big time.

The only player Joe spoke to who didn’t get anything positive out of it was Demar Dotson.

Oh, Dotson loved the fan support and he thought the passion was way cool, but Dotson told Joe training camp practices in the brutal west Florida sun suck so bad, no amount of fan support can make one easier for him.

Briefly, Joe was in the media room Saturday morning and could hear the Stick Carriers there. Joe’s never heard that before. Even better, DeSean Jackson said after practice that when the Bucs were in meetings prior to practice, the players could hear the Stick Carriers.

“So we knew [Saturday] was going to be a very energized day,” Jackson said. “They came out here and supported us. We appreciate their support so we put on a little show for them so they’d have fun.”

The scene where Koetter addresses the Stick Carriers was so cool. Valued Saturday columnist Gil Arcia took to Twitter and wondered if Koetter will go down as the most popular Bucs coach for his embrace of the Stick Carriers?

Well, Koetter has restored luster to the once rusted image of the Bucs by going 9-7 last year and developing America’s Quarterback, Pro Bowler Jameis Winston. Excitement from fans hasn’t been this big in years.

Most popular? That’s a tall order because three of the most popular coaches before Koetter are either in the Ring of Honor or in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

John McKay was popular, probably more so after he retired. Tony Dungy is still worshiped by a good many Bucs fans, and tens of thousands of Bucs fans still haven’t gotten over that dark January Friday afternoon when Chucky was jettisoned in 2009.

If Koetter has success anywhere close to McKay’s or Dungy’s (neither got the Bucs to a Super Bowl), he probably eclipses their popularity. Taking the stick from Chucky, who won a Super Bowl? Let’s relax a moment. Playoffs first.

26 Responses to “The Day Of The Stick Carriers”

  1. Wombat Says:

    It’s amazing how much difference a year makes. I hope this team doesn’t start 1-5 or something horrible like that, because all the work Licht and Koetter have done won’t mean spit. This fan base has no patience and will tear them to shreds.
    Koetter has moved smoothly into the role of Head Coach and I think he is doing a great job. We need him to continue his growth along with Jameis and be around for a decade at least, then we may be on to something.
    Go Bucs!!!

  2. TX Stick Carrier Says:

    Lead, follow or get out of the way! It’s time for a change and the Stick Carriers will lead the charge!

  3. darin Says:

    Amazing turn around after that dixie chicks night game. Thank goodness it happened. The future went from dark to bright in a matter of weeks. Playoffs first is right tho.
    N wombat
    Lets think positive. If they somehow do start 1-5 tho dont jump off the wagon. I think this stick carriers deal is awesome. Lets keep in mind tho the team needs its fans most when things arent going great. Bucco Bruce knows what I mean. Speaking of that i wish someone could convince ownership or whoever to somehow get the throwbacks in once a year again. I think its a helmet issue, somebody fix it please!! Go Bucs

  4. LargoBuc Says:

    Some snobby fans over at Bucsnation wanted nothing to do with the stick carriers. Im suprised Sander even acknowledged the movement! But I basically put them in their place! My comment is at the bottom of the page. Thank you so much Joe! Your site blows Bucsnation and pewter report out the water!

  5. Nick Says:

    Ill give my kudos to the stick carriers, this will raise up the support level both at home, and give fuel to the road movement we saw last year, which is even more important.

    But Lead, Follow or get out of the way? Time for a change… yes, the Bucs to change and become a winning team. But I hope its not a message to fans of old.

    Thats great that the new movement has a name and large support system and does a good job being organized, but lets not forget the fans who came before who laid the groundwork for the “stick Carriers”.

    Before you grabbed your sticks, Bucs fans came out to games in hot September weather to cheer their team through heat exhaustion. Or stuck it out in October when the stadium was Lambeau South or Soldier Field South when Bucs fans drowned out “GO pack GO” and “Lets go Bears” for decades upon decades.

    Lets all remember, in 2002 Buc fever was at an all time high. Ill never forget seeing Magnets all over cars and saying “I hope these fans remember to support the bucs in bad days too.” because in the coming years I saw MANY cars with faded paint in the form of a Bucs flag magnets removed.

    Carry your stick if you must, but keep your spirit in your heart, and remember those who came before you.

  6. Coach kline Says:

    Bad day to be a talking head at wdae!

  7. Gencoimports Says:

    I wonder when we will see Buc fans actually carrying sticks (or something non leathal resembling a stick) at Ray Jay like Steeler fans and their terrible towels.

  8. Bird Says:

    The hype for this team is off the chain. And coach koetter is acting like a pimp. Hopefully, it all comes together this year

  9. Wombat Says:

    I think the stick carriers were way over due. I hope it becomes the identity of the franchise. Much like the 12th man, yellow towel or cheeseheads!!!

  10. TampaTown Says:

    @ Nick:
    Awesome post!! There’s more in there than most will realize. I too remember those good/bad ‘ol days at the Big Sombrero and was involved in multiple fist-o-cuffs defending our turf. Opening day vs the Bears is going to be a doozy. I’ve never had a problem with fans that fly in for a game. It’s the ones who live HERE that turn my stomach. If it’s so great where you’re from, do us all a favor and go back. Buh-Bye. I love the Stick Carriers and consider myself one of them. It’s real easy being a fan when the Bucs are winning. But to me, it only counts if you show up no matter what, win or lose. So once again I’ll scoot over and make room on the Bandwagon. Guess what? You gotta respect the ones that have been here all along.

  11. Louis Says:

    For too many years the Bucs have lacked an identity. Coach K had instilled urgency, attitude and desire. Our gm , Jason Licht has assembled the BAD ASSES that Dirk wants, and the Glasers have put their money where their mouth is ! The Stick Carrier mentality is infectious, and has spread to the entire community.

  12. TampaTown Says:

    @ Bird:
    Funny stuff. Pimpin’ ain’t easy.

  13. LifeOfABucFan Says:


    I believe that long semi-negative post at Buc Nation, was written by an outcast from Joe’s Bucs..I think I had seen him mention it he’s a Salty dog

  14. stpetebucsfan Says:


    I wonder when we will see Buc fans actually carrying sticks (or something non leathal resembling a stick)

    Prediction…if things continue on their present track an enterprising business will simply copy what the Lightning has done for Stanley Cup games. They have always urged the fans to be the “Thunder”…they provide the Lightning. And so companies usually pay for the sticks to pass out free and only place a logo on one side…

    It’ll be something like a Spectrum cable logo…they pay for the promotion…on one side with the “Stick Carrier” on the other. They are inflatable plastic that you simply blow up like the little floaties you put around small children in swimming pools. They are about 12-18″ long…require no storage space until you blow them up. Not designed to beat each other over the head…they are meant to be banged together to produce as much noise as possible…if however somebody does hit somebody with one they are harmless.

    I’ll honestly be surprised if some company/organization doesn’t pick up the tab and pass these things out free as Buc fans enter RayJay.

    BTW…Kudos for keeping it clean for the families. We know what happens in Oakland and Philly…don’t want to go there…making noise is one thing…physical intimidation can lead to horrible outcomes. I’ll never forget leaving the Old Sombero after a loss to a Brad Johnson led Minnesota team…3-4 young punks were dropping F bombs and being beyond obnoxious on the street after the game…one guy with a ten year old asked them to tone down the F bombs and they threatened him physically. The combination of alcohol and testosterone can produce some incredibly vile and ugly behavior.

  15. BuccaneEric75 Says:

    I am a stick carrier and I love the fan base becoming more intense. I just hope that we can keep this going if we have a bad season in the next few years. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I hope that when Koetter is fired, and the odds are that he will, even if it’s 15 years from now, that we don’t lose this identity. Other fan bases don’t have thier identity or fandom or rallying cry based on what a coach said. I love the transformation because it fits with what I’ve felt for the last 30+ years being invested in our Bucs, but I’m afraid we’ll lose it as quickly as we got it. We need to stay stick carriers for life, not just while Koetter is here.

  16. JTHV Says:

    Stop worrying about the future. It doesn’t win games now. Embrace the now and be excited.

    Yesterday was one of my best experiences being a Buc fan. Absolutely fantastic and amazing.

    Stick Carrier!

  17. Easy Denman Says:

    @Tx Stick Carrier

    You know us Texas boys are gonna represent our Bucs!!

  18. Maze Says:

    Bucsnation? Haha

  19. carry that mofostick Says:

    i’m loving being a proud member of the stick carrier nation, i think we have found our nickname for our defense and it would be great, and suggest one also for our offense, defense- stick carriers/ offense- red tide

  20. Buc2015 Says:

    Check out Casey Phillips’ 1-on-1 with Brian Baldinger on the official site …. he said the first thing he noticed about practice was the fans, when he pulled into the facility it sounded like a European soccer match, something like that. Kudos Stick Carriers!

  21. RayJameisStadium Says:

    2017 come back of the year – the fan base. The Stick Carriers will resurrect a playoff like atmosphere at Ray Jameis Stadium!!!!!!

    Expect Different Folks!!!!

    Go Bucs!!!

  22. Rod Munch Says:

    Joe’s worship of Chucky is an indication of the fact Joe was a bandwagon rider that jumped onboard in the late 90s. Anywho Joe listen to Ira speak about Dungy and what he did, the fact you clowns (said affectionately) undersell the amazing things Dungy did and put Gruden ahead of him is pretty disgraceful. There’s a reason Dungy is in the HOF and Gruden isn’t even mentioned as a candidate.

  23. Doctor Stroud Says:

    I am very inspired by the Stick Carriers and am as excited as anyone in the Bucs fan base about the upcoming season. It is also important to note the origins of the phrase “carry a big stick” and its context as a lesson for how we, as fans, should conduct ourselves. In 1900, Theodore Roosevelt, then New York’s governor, was glad that he was able to convince fellow Republicans to reject a reappointment: “I have always been fond of the West African proverb: ‘Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.’ If I had not carried the big stick…I would not have had 10 votes. But I was entirely good natured, kept perfectly cool…” He repeated the phrase in other contexts and attributed it to an old Irish saying, but regardless, it is important that we, as fans, also remember to “speak softly” and keep “cool”. This should apply especially to the team, which should not get too caught up in their own hype. I have seen it too many times (e.g., Keyshawn Johnson’s signing, the year after Coach Rah’s 10-6 season, etc). Last year, the team won games that most said they weren’t supposed to win (KC comes to mind). I would like for us to keep that underdog role. One game at a time!

  24. Rob in Land O Lakes Says:

    StPeteBucsFan said: “BTW…Kudos for keeping it clean for the families. We know what happens in Oakland and Philly…don’t want to go there…making noise is one thing…physical intimidation can lead to horrible outcomes.”

    I totally agree. As a season ticket holder from way back, I can tell you that defending our fan base turf from opposing fans has been like straddling a fine line. Our first rule is cheer hard, but don’t draw first blood. If an opposing fan or fans does more than cheer and starts getting obnoxious or profane, then it is game on and we are verbally pretty merciless for the remainder of the game. Rule 2 is that regardless how obnoxious or profane the opposing fan is, we will not use profanity. There’s too many kids around and frankly, that’s a cheap way out. Anyone can be profane; it takes talent to psychologically break down an opposing fan.. One pretty funny example: A few years ago, After two and a half quarters of listening to two Saints fans in front of us rip our team, city and fan base, the Bucs took the lead. After about 10 minutes of asking why you build a city 200 feet below sea level, we asked if there was canoe parking at the Superdome and whether FEMA money could be used for season tickets. They turned to the nearest cop who was laughing so hard he was of no help to them, so they flipped us off and left. Game Set Match! Carry the big stick, boys!

  25. Howard Cosell Says:

    Howard is really happy for the stick carriers (of which Howard is one).

    Great job! Very loud and animated but still classy. Maybe Howard should try to make it out for a stick carrying event in the future. Really happy for Palowski.

    The stick carrier movement is righteous

  26. Elivs in STL Says:

    Congratulations Guys!!!

    Very glad to hear you were able to deliver such a wonderful experience amid the hype. Now, what to do with that magnifying glass from high above your validated platform (not that it wasn’t already validated, but this is unquestionably next level)?

    Hmmm…. will you use that light as a glow to illuminate or a glare to obscure?

    Maybe a bit of both I imagine. Keep walking softly…