New scoreboards. That may have been the most exciting move the Bucs have made all offseason. Installing 28,000 square foot, high definition scoreboards. They were long overdue, but what the city wants more than seeing the sweat poor down the players' faces on the scoreboard, is the Bucs winning.
Martin Fennelly, now of the Tampa Bay Times, echoes the sentiments that the buzz and excitement typically swirling around any NFL team this time of year is curiously absent this year.
Last year at this time there was buzz all around to see what number one draft pick Jameis Winston would do for the team. His very first pass as an NFL quarterback was intercepted and returned for a touchdown. It’s like in that one play, the air was let out of the city quicker than Tom Brady let the air out of footballs. The Bucs finished 6-10 and their head coach Lovie Smith was fired. The article says that team has lost the city and winning, not just games, but proving they have a winning franchise, is the only thing to bring the fans of Tampa Bay back to Raymond James.
Winning helps everything. It can help a city go from being beaten down emotionally (I'm looking at you New Orleans) to winning a Super Bowl and bringing a city from an all-time low to an all-time high. How many Seahawks fans did you see before 2013 Super Bowl Championship?
There is little buzz in Tampa right now that is even sports related, let alone Bucs related. The Rays have the third worst record in baseball. The town was buzzing with playoff hockey just two months ago. The Lightning were one game away from going to the Stanley Cup before losing two straight to the eventual champion Penguins.
So with hockey over and the Rays season all but over, now is the time for the city to start getting excited about football. Where is the excitement?
The draft is always an exciting time for all franchises, especially if you have an earlier pick, because it can mean a fresh start, it’s a new season. The Bucs took cornerback Vernon Hargreaves out Florida. He looks to be a great fit for the Bucs and should help them on defense right away. It also helps he is going up against Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson every day in practice.
Is there little talk about football because drafting a cornerback isn’t as exciting as drafted an offensive player? Or maybe it's because they Bucs didn't sign any big-named free agents?
Drafted Hargreaves was a great move in my opinion and having someone who could be a shutdown corner (and not paying him $16 million a year) is what many successful NFL teams have with today’s NFL being a passing league.
I think Tampa Bay needs to realize that Winton isn’t going to turn into an elite quarterback overnight. The Panthers look like a lock to win the NFC South, but that second spot in the division and Wild Card spot is very possible for the Bucs to snag. Both the Falcons and Saints looks to be going down while the Bucs have a lot more upside.
Be patient. The Bucs are rebuilding and going in the right direction. It could be worse. We could be Browns fans.