Buccaneers Latest Blackout Proves There's Still Plenty of Room on the Bandwagon

J.J. Rodriguez@ActofRodContributor IINovember 8, 2012

October 4, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Vincent Jackson (83) catches a touchdown pass during the second quarter against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum.  Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-US PRESSWIRE
Ed Szczepanski-US PRESSWIRE

As far as head-scratchers go, this one may just top the list.

Fans, you finally have what the franchise has been searching for over at One Buc since, oh I don't know, the Doug Williams era—a high-flying, high-octane, never-quite-out-of-it offense.

The unit is led by the quarterback with the big arm, who throws to the receiver with the big contract, who blocks for the running back nicknamed the "Muscle Hamster."

They are the fifth-highest scoring offense in the league. That puts them ahead of the Packers, Falcons and Saints, among 24 other teams. Okay, so they're 4-4, but the four losses have been by a combined 22 points.

Their four wins? By 60 points.

If that isn't worth the price of admission, then my goodness, why did you ever show up for Chris Simms and Michael Clayton? Nostalgia? Guilt? Poor reality television lineup?

If nothing else, what the latest blackout tells me is that there is still plenty of room on the ol' bandwagon for fans to come aboard. Although at this point, I'm not sure what else has to happen before it becomes a sought-after destination again. 

Does Doug Martin have to rush for 300 yards in a game? Does Freeman have to throw for 500? Or is it something as simple as seeing the Out to Lunch Bunch in the secondary shut someone respectable down?

And no, Brady Quinn is not respectable.

Which begs the question, in a season where the Bucs have exceeded even the most reasonable expectations, why are they continuing to struggle at the ticket counter?

Believe me, I understand that there are diehard, do-anything-I-can Bucs fans that simply cannot afford to attend games. I am not questioning that segment.

But I'm of the opinion that the fans that fall into that demographic are the exception, not the rule.

There are close to four million residents that make up the Tampa Bay metropolitan area—you're telling me there aren't 65,000 that could find their way to Raymond James Stadium this Sunday to watch a young, highly entertaining team?

Maybe it's skepticism, perhaps it's cynicism. Or maybe, just maybe, after a half-dozen years of alienating the fanbase, people have just stopped caring.

Sunday afternoons that use to consist of lounging in the La-Z-Boy and watching the Bucs on television, have been replaced by three seasons of blackouts and folded arms from the front office.

But just because it was company policy, doesn't mean it was a good policy. Having said that, the team has made great strides in the PR department.

They spent loads of cash, hired a capable coaching staff, and lowed prices to a vast majority of seats at Ray Jay. They have a young, marketable team, led by a young, marketable coach.

Eventually, I have faith that the fans will return and all will be forgotten. But until then, the debate will rage on.

For now, those of us already on-board are enjoying all of the ample elbow room—it comes in handy when we throw our hands up in disgust over another blown coverage.

Stay up-to-date on the latest Bucs news and more by following J.J. on Twitter. You can also "like" him on Facebook and drop him a line at BRJJRodriguez@gmail.com


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