More Fans, More Caution

October 17th, 2020

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BY IRA KAUFMAN

The hot dogs, the beers and the enthusiasm will all be flowing Sunday at Raymond James Stadium. It would be nice if the Buc offense follows suit.

When Joe Buck and Troy Aikman occupy your broadcast booth, you know it’s a big game. This marquee matchup featuring a pair of Hall of Fame quarterbacks highlights the Week 6 schedule, and those stadium gates should be in full swing.

In a normal year, a sellout crowd would likely welcome Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers. This isn’t a normal year. Far from it.

Instead, the stadium is slated to operate at 25 percent capacity. The cheapest ticket on StubHub Friday afternoon was listed at $128 and plenty of seats were available. Packer fans travel, so don’t be surprised to see an array of Cheeseheads in the crowd.

Tampa Bay’s home game against the Chargers drew 6,383 fans and it would be disappointing if this matchup doesn’t attract twice that number. Through five weeks, 247,000 fans have attended NFL games, led by the Cowboys (72,000 total for three home dates).

The Bucs should get a boost from the expected turnout in the stands and across all those luxury suites that were left empty for the Week 2 matchup against Carolina.

Team Glazer is not going big when it comes to attendance, writes Ira Kaufman.

Although Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has lifted restrictions on crowd size at the state’s major sports venues, the Bucs haven’t shown any inclination to go beyond the current 25 percent policy.

Three cheers for the home team — hip, hip, HIPPA.

This franchise is showing proper respect for a pandemic that has forced the NFL to juggle a handful of schedules, placing the original Feb. 7 date for Tampa’s Super Bowl in jeopardy.

In recent weeks, the Titans, Falcons, Colts and Patriots have dealt with Covid-19 outbreaks that shut down practices or closed facilities. The Bucs have been diligent about adhering to strict protocols – and they’ve also been fortunate.

“I talk about it every week,” says Bruce Arians. “I get tired of talking about it to tell you the truth. It’s something that has to be talked about every week and the commitment to each other to stay safe.”

So far, so good.

Conservative Approach

The Bucs have suffered their share of injuries, but the coronavirus has not been an issue at the team facility.

The Bucs see what’s going on around the NFL, says Lavonte David.

“It’s something that everyone has to take seriously,” Lavonte David says, “because if one guy misses, it can mess up our whole season. So we’re just trying to hold guys accountable. That’s the main thing. Everybody’s a grown man, but at the same time, you have to do what’s right for the people who you go out and play with. And for the most part, guys have been doing their job.”

According to Derrick Brooks, the teams that deal best with Covid-19 issues and maintain their focus are the ones that will be left standing in January. The Bucs may face their moment of truth in the next 10 weeks.

NFL chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills says players and coaches with flu-like symptoms will be barred from their facility, even if they test negative for coronavirus.

“When in doubt, we’re gonna go with the most conservative approach,” he says.

Above all, the 2020 NFL season is about making adjustments that go well beyond the football field.

“Coach talks about it all the time,” David says. “Guys are wearing their masks, wearing the devices, everybody’s not all outside at bars and stuff, or whatever it may be. Everybody’s just doing what they’re supposed to do, following the rules.”

Let’s not take this too far. Buc fans don’t want to see too much social distancing between Carlton Davis and Davante Adams Sunday afternoon.

Ira’s friend Sean Sullivan, the Bill Currie Ford, will give you a special Ira Kaufman/JoeBucsFan discount, in addition to truly exemplary service.

Ira!

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7 Responses to “More Fans, More Caution”

  1. Roy T. Buford Says:

    The troubling thing is the Bucs came back to me at least (a season ticket holder), for a third time telling me there are still tickets available. So they apparently are not going to even sell a 25% capacity stadium. Worse, the StubHub (that IRA mentions) and other resale outlets means someone with a priority/privelage over the general public bought the tickets and either don’t want to, or can’t actually go. I’m not going myself mostly due to my personal health risk from the pandemic, and knowing it is my own responsbility to protect myself. I offer kudos to any who can, and want to go. They should be allowed to go. It’s life.

    Sure there is the pandemic as clearly the biggest thing keeping fans away. But there are other reasons too, this year, being everything from the Bucs organization’s historical trainwreck/record, and the NFL’s insistance that fans get on board with the social movement on gameday. Even having Tom Brady can’t beat those things.

    I’ve been an avid Bucs fan since 1976 when they started up, and have been a season ticket holder for decades. While I love the game, and Bucs are in my blood historically, I can’t say I have the same allegience to them given the pendemic has helped me re-prioritize what’s important in life, and given I’m turned off on the NFL due to their continued, and increased political/social activism. While that’s me, and my opinion, and my right, I wonder how many others take the same position. Baseball never recovered after a strike where they offended fans, and the NBA is heading down the tubes with their loyalty to China and political/social movements. Will the passion for the NFL go the same route down the road?

    Cheeseheads will need some serious suntan lotion for tommorrow.

  2. Razor Ramone Says:

    Roy, nicely thought out and articulated. Strange times. Go Bucs.

  3. orlbucfan Says:

    Diehard fan since 1979 as that is when I found out central FL had a pro football team. I have seen many games at both Tampa Stadium and RJS. I agree with the cautious conservative approach to handling a contagious disease 100%. What I hate are the constant attempts to politicize CV. Jeebus, a serious disease is not conservative nor liberal! Kudos to both the Packers and Bucs for taking CV seriously so we can enjoy their play tomorrow!

  4. TampaTown Says:

    Roy:
    So well said! And so many do feel exactly the way you do. Talk about a silent majority. The way the Bucs handled the tickets sales is atrocious. I have high seniority but because I have 4 tickets I was punished the most. Couldn’t sit anywhere near my regular section. Also couldn’t buy 2 seats then go back in and buy another two so I could sit in a better section. After the way this was handled I’m just about done. Could someone explain the no tailgating rule? Let me see, 4 people can drive together to the game but you can’t get out of that car and drink a beer? Fu¢k you! I will be tailgating across the street starting at 10am.

  5. Roy T. Buford Says:

    Thanks gents.
    Well, TampaTown, that’s another reason to stay away…the rules are too freakin’ crazy. I’m not saying they don’t serve a purpose, but I’d rather wait until things are normal again…if ever.

  6. TampaTown Says:

    Roy:
    I was at the Chargers game too and I have to say I was very impressed with the new CV protocols. No touch ticket scan, no touch bathrooms which is huge upgrade for us women, even no touch food service and covered or sealed food. There’s nothing for anyone to complain or worry about as far as safety and social distancing goes. Plus everyone had masks on and were wearing them. Don’t be afraid to go and we need die hard Buc fans like you in the stands.

  7. Jack Burton Mercer Says:

    Sigh.

 

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