TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Most fans of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers remember when the team ran down the Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII, beating Oakland 48-21 in San Diego, California on January 26, 2003.
The 2002 season was full of sold-out games and optimistic fans. Recent years haven’t proven as fruitful.
But Bucs fans may be getting the fire back in their bellies. Ticket sales point in that direction. “Right now we have less than 400 tickets, general admission tickets, available for Sunday’s game,” Bucs chief operating officer Brian Ford said.
Fans’ excitement is spilling over onto the team, Ford said.
What is behind this emerging enthusiasm? After all, the Bucs finished last season 2-14 and only sold out one game.
But this year, Raymond James Stadium is reportedly in pristine shape. There have been improvements in the “Kid Zone,” to Coast Guard flybys and the tailgating area. It is the 40th season of the Buccaneers franchise, and there’s even a new, gourmet pretzel offered in the north end zone this season, among other food options.
Oh, the newfound spirit could also have to do with Bucs rookie quarterback Jameis Winston. “We knew we had the first round pick, the first pick, all the way up to the draft day when 20,000 Buccaneer fans came out to Raymond James Stadium to celebrate,” Ford said.
On the first day of training camp fans tailgated in the rain, Ford said. “This town is ready. It’s a sports town. It’s a football town, and football starts on Sunday so come on out,” he added.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will take on the Tennessee Titans Sunday at 4:25 p.m. at Raymond James Stadium.