Criticise yes, complain yes, give up - NEVER!
Fans can be a fickle bunch. You only have to look at message boards around the NFL community to realise that. There are even Colt and Saint fans out there bitching about something even though their teams are a collective 26-0 on the season.
And then you have the 1-12 Bucs with fans who have been seemingly complaining ever since the Vince Lombardi Trophy was handed to Malcolm Glazer on a January night in San Diego. It appears that there is nothing that does not provoke criticism in some shape or form.
It is of course the right of every fan to pass judgement on their team. Whether it be behind the goal at Manchester United, on the sideline at Bristol City or via a message board in Pinellas Park, everyone has an opinion. What bugs me, and every truly loyal Buccaneer fan too, is how quick some people are to give up on their team.
The Bucs are a bad team right now. One of the worst in the NFL. Does that stop British fans flying across the Atlantic to see them play? Does it stop people paying out to watch the NFL game streams live from Raymond James Stadium? Does it even stop people going along to RJS for each home game? Err, that last one is starting to be less of a definite no I think.
True fans are there for their teams through thick and thin. I have never understood the mentality of leaving a game before it really finishes at the final gun. Even when the Bucs were getting murdered by the Saints or Jets, there were Bucs UK members still in the stands cheering for their team because it meant so much just to be there.
Perhaps it is just a British thing as you have probably never seen a stadium so full at the end of a 35-7 blowout as Wembley Stadium was last October.
But when you only have three more games left on the season, why would you not want to make the most of them whilst you can? Even if the Bucs lose all three in a similarly horrible way to the Jet debacle last Sunday, come the final gun in Week 17 and that is it for another eight months.
So the question is, are you a true fan or not? There was some total clown on a message board this week called "Loyalfan4life" or something like that, who was calling on fans to boycott every game until the coaching staff is fired/new owners found/gas prices return to 1970s level. As British comedian Al Murray would have put it, "mate, the clue is in the title".
Real fans are there for every minute of every game regardless of the score. It is a badge of honour that you would follow your team through the troughs of despair so as to truly appreciate the peaks of victory.
But in the current world of immediate gratification and limited patience, it seems some people cannot accept that. If a player makes a mistake, he is to be cut. If a team loses, then fire the coach. This is the real world people, not Madden 2010 where you can turn off and come back to start a new game the next day.
I will be critical of the Buccaneers when they make mistakes. I will complain when I see them play badly or not perform to even my own lofty expectations. But give up on them - no, non, nada. Because I am a real fan. Are you?
Paul Stewart, TBO.com, December 2009