The appalling fans in Tampa
Not exactly the title that Buccaneer fans on the other side of the pond would necessarily want to read but hear me out.
If you are reading this article or visiting BUCPOWER, then it is pretty safe to assume you are a fan of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Now there are different levels of fan of course and we see that in the Bucs UK as well as across the Bay area.
On one hand you have the real die-hards, the people who stay up all hours to watch their teams, and then you have the more casual fan for whom a Buccaneer game is more of a social occasion or novelty than a pivotal moment of a normal week.
I would estimate that the Bucs UK would have a higher percentage of die-hards than Tampa of course, simply based on the fact that they are supporting a team 4,000 miles away and spend an arm and a leg on just going out to see their team once a season or indulging in the cost of NFL Game Pass.
So although we have had the occasional "hater" in the Bucs UK or the message board in the past, we do not have the kind of mindless idiots who do not understand the game or the business of the sport, and make inane posts at the end of Tampa Tribune articles simply because they want to get noticed.
My beef is not with people like that, it is with so many people who go to games at Raymond James Stadium or don't go as the case may be. Whilst I was at the Houston game, I went down from the owners' suite to drop something off to the guys in the Bucs UK area in Section 202 and had to walk through the club lounges. These are the air-conditioned areas where club seat holders can go to eat and drink. And it was packed.
The game was late first quarter, the Bucs were on offense and there must have been at least a thousand people not even in the stands watching the game. And this was just one side of the club seating. Take a look at the grey club seats just before or after half-time at a home game - they are deserted.
Fans of all levels can of course choose how they support their team, and once they have bought their ticket, it is their right to do what they want with it. But to sit in front a large screen television eating and drinking whilst your team, the one whose colours you wear are playing a few yards away, sorry but that is totally beyond me.
One simple question boys and girls - do you think the fans in Green Bay or Pittsburgh would do that?
The attendances at Tampa Bay home games have been dwindling in recent years and a variety of reasons have been put forward for it from ticket prices to team performances, ownership to the local economy. Whilst all four are valid and probably contributory factors, the knowledge level and passion of the average Buccaneer fan is simply way beneath that of many other NFL teams.
There were two areas where no-one left until the final play of the 37-9 loss to the Texans in the last home game. The Bucs UK section in 202 and the owners' suite where Bryan and Joel are as intense about watching a game as I am. The rest of the stadium was deserted apart from the dozen or so Houston-transplants who proudly wore their David Carr jerseys as they saw their team win in Tampa for the first time.
What this level of support could mean for the long-term success of the Tampa Bay franchise is unclear but it is a worrying trend. But please do not think I am castigating all Buccaneer fans when I stand on my soap box on this point. Just the majority of them and that is the real concern.
You've been great, enjoy Debarge.