When you pull up to Raymond James Stadium, for those that have been there before, you’ll notice something is missing. While you might think it’s your favorite parking spot, but while your favorite spot may be taken, what happens to be missing, are several stadium-sized banners that hang outside the stadium.
The Buccaneers have often swapped out various banners depending on which player they are currently using in their marketing campaigns, but it’s not often that you don’t see them at all unless you happen to be near the stadium as they are taking them down.
With the removal of the banners, and the departure of a few big named players, including McCoy, Alexander, and Humphries along with a few key additions such as Ndamukong Suh and Devin White, it seems to be as good of a time as any to break down just who might see their player banner hung outside of RJ Stadium and who should see their banner but probably will not.
One of the obvious choices would be veteran Buccaneer Lavonte David. Not only is this now his defense to command, but coming up on a contract year, it only makes sense that you would want to keep him happy. It wouldn’t be the first time we’ve seen Lavonte David hanging outside of RJ Stadium, and if things go according to plan, it certainly wouldn’t be the last.
Second, on the list, we find ourselves with the man that was not included on opening day last year, Quarterback Jameis Winston. Due to his suspension last season, the Buccaneers decided to shy away from using him in their promotional material, but much like Lavone David, Jameis is coming up on a contract year, and after a battle last season with fellow Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jameis has emerged as the victor and clear cut leader of the Buccaneers offense.
Once you conclude that both the offensive and defensive leaders will find themselves hanging outside the stadium at some point in the year, and most likely opening day, you then have to wonder in what direction the marketing department will go. They could simply leave it at just two banners, but with so many big names, it would be foolish not to take advantage of the opportunity.
The biggest two names recently acquired by the Buccaneers are their 1st round draft pick Devin White, and new free agent signing Ndamukong Suh. When you have a rookie as talented as Devin White, you not only have a guarantee that they’ll be around for several seasons, but you have a fresh face that most of the Tampa fan base hasn’t been exposed to. Using White not only would help familiarize the fan base with White but would allow for a long term marketing strategy that would incorporate him for years to come.
Suh, on the other hand, is a face that many recognize, and a name recognized by even more. He hasn’t exactly garnered a reputation as the nicest person in the world, and there are some fans who have found themselves not too happy with his becoming a Buccaneer. This is the perfect opportunity however to use creative marketing and change the perception many have of him. Suh has the resume and talent to quickly become a fan favorite, and you can be assured that the game day faithful will be chanting SUH, but the average fan who may not be familiar with Suh would have the chance to see exactly why there’s a buzz around the man from Portland.
A few others that may find their way to a new player banner would be wide receiver standout Mike Evans, the tight end Phenom known as OJ Howard, last year’s 1st round pick Vita Vea, and possibly even one of the players from our ever growing running back stable such as Ronald Jones II or Peyton Barber. It also isn’t out of the realm of possibilities that we could see the team go away from tradition and raise a banner of new Head Coach Bruce Arians. While the banners have traditionally been of the players, it has been a long time since we’ve had a head coach with the experience and success of Arians, and using him in marketing could be seen as a way to remind people that the man behind the curtain isn’t just a looming presence.
While there are numerous players that could and more than likely will find themselves in various marketing plans, it’s safe to assume that we’ve seen the end of both the McCoy and Kwon marketing ideas. It’s not just the players that have left whom we likely won’t see, but also players that while having a huge impact on the field doesn’t always translate into resonating with the average fan. While I certainly won’t get into specific names, there are a few areas that become obvious.
With such a deep running back and cornerback roster, there obviously is no way that they could use every member of those areas, which means while important players to the team an the team’s success, they likely won’t be used in mass marketing. With Jameis being the obvious man behind the center this year, it’s also likely we won’t be seeing any of our backup quarterbacks being used, but again their role on the team isn’t diminished because of this. The other area that likely won’t see any major marketing, are those players that the coaching staff already have a rough idea won’t be long term team commitments or won’t be heavily featured even if they manage to make the final roster cuts later this year.
While every player who contributes in some way is an intricate part of a team’s success or lack thereof, there are only so many ways a team can honor those who really stand out, and promoting them through marketing be it on stadium banners, on souvenir cups, on programs, or even on their commercials, remain one of the best ways to show a player, they recognize your importance to this team and we want you to know we’re invested in your success as a player.
What if it was up to you, who would you put on your banners outside of Raymond James Stadium? Make sure you show up on game day this season and find out just who did make it on the banners, and if your choice was among them.