One thing I know about growing up in the Tampa Bay Area is that when our teams go for several years of consistent losing streaks, our attendance suffers. But if you become a winner, you get a waiting list for tickets and sell out every home game. Look at the Lightning now.
I think our fan base being so fickle goes back to what Culverhouse put us through in the ’80s and early ’90s. By using our football team as a tax write off, and just being happy to be an owner, he never really put enough emphasis on the team to become winners. After all that we all went through during that time, it had us fans become hardened, and maybe even a little too tough on the team. But one thing is for sure, winning cures everything.
I’m not just talking a few games here and there, or a couple of above .500 seasons, I’m talking about a consistent winning streak over multiple seasons. Right now, a Wild Card birth next year, would certainly lighten fans’ hearts.
For Bucs fans to start acting as they did from 1998 to 2008, the Bucs need to put together a good solid season and fast. It begins with a Wild Card Birth or better. Fans will still show up with a bad year or two in between good and bad seasons, much like some already do, but it would be nothing like it has been in recent years.
We have roughly 35,000 die-hard fans that will show up no matter what. But a great season will set the tone, and the rest will come back. The hiring of Bruce Arians is definitely a step in the right direction.
By the way, I do consider myself a die-hard, I’ve only missed one home game since 1992, and I’ve seen it all. One thing I know for sure is that when we are playing winning football at Raymond James Stadium, it is a great place to be. Maybe even the best!
I can’t wait to see the Sea of Red return to Raymond James Stadium!