I don’t like to lend money to friends , or family , unless it’s of the utmost urgency ! However , with that in mind I find it less than sobering to see that once again the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in their season home opener will be unable to sell out their game against divisional rivals the Carolina Panthers . With a new head coach , coaching staff and several free agents signed in the off-season to coincide with the franchise’s draft picks in the 2012 NFL Draft . One would have thought that this would have piqued the interest of the fans within the locale . Instead , it has been a hard sell , ineffectively being marketed by the Buccaneers’ Sales and Marketing Department . The television ads have been mundane, without creativity and likewise within the print and radio areas, as well . I’m sorry , but whoever is leading this exercise on behalf of the Buccaneers needs to be relinquished of that position , immediately , and done so , without any compensation !
Greg Schiano , in his first season as a head coach has an arduous and bold task ahead of him . All of the bravado cannot hide the fact that he will be under a great deal of pressure to succeed. His situation might may well have been impeded by the fact that with the franchise such a big splash in the off-season signing Vincent Jackson , one of most desired and sought after free agents in 2012 . Team GM Mark Dominik for his part , has been quick to sell the attributes of his new head coach and the fact that he brings the much-needed discipline not witnessed from this team in 2011. It remains to be seen what is brought to the table by Schiano and the team in its current guise prior to the their season unfolding .
Now one could be decidedly critical of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and specifically , of the Glazer family . However, to my mind , we have repeatedly seen such instances where the ownership have simply stood pat , rather than trying to lure the fans to attend games at Raymond James Stadium , in Tampa , Florida . Of the Buccaneers’ last seventeen regular season home games , 15 have been blacked out , due to the fact that franchise has been unable to sell the required allotment of tickets in avoid a league mandated blackout within the local television market. Also herein, we have had the idiocy of a member of the Florida state legislature trying to force the NFL to change its policy concerning this issue . I have always maintained that when you have a governmental agency intruding upon the commercial activity of any corporate enterprise , when their actions are not warranted , then no good can come from it all . This is not a legal matter but yet a state legislator with far more acute to deal within the state makes an ass himself within this area. Then again, this is Florida, where common sense simply and intelligence amongst its state legislature do not go hand in hand.
The Buccaneers for the present has a cordial relationship with the Tampa Sports Authority , owners of Raymond James Stadium, and the lessor of the venue to the franchise for their scheduled home games. That agency is a conduit for the Hillsborough County Government .
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are not the only NFL franchise to find themselves in such a position but unfortunately their situation is unlike any other , merely because of the longevity relating to the number of regular season blacked out games . And if I were to tell you that this Central Florida franchise is one of the most valuable teams within the league , then I believe it certainly makes this scenario all the more improbable . It would be remiss to suggest that Avram Glazer , COO, of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers should be magnanimous and philanthropic by offering several thousand tickets at a discounted price to the fans but this exercise has been executed before . One could point to the fact that Central Florida is in the midst of an economic downturn not seen in over seven years. High unemployment, a malaise within the community, and not much ingenuity being shown by the local politicians by way of creating an environment that invigorates the business environment, and leads to an upswing in employment.
As to the divisional match-up , this game has the makings of what will be something of an offensive minded collision of two teams . Throw in the fact that the two opposing quarterbacks in Cam Newton fresh off his record-breaking season , and Josh Freeman , who will be looking to improve their statistical marks of 2011 .
Coming off a 4-12 season in 2011, it is easy to understand why the front office decided to head in a new direction , with the firing of Raheem Morris as the as the Buccaneers’ head coach. The team was decidedly lackluster and we witnessed the regression of Josh Freeman throughout the entire Buccaneers’ schedule and that of the team as a whole . Ill-disciplined , a lack of accountability , and no leadership from any of the veterans on the roster , clearly indicated that the team was heading in the wrong direction. A great deal more is expected of Freeman this season , with the player being given an array of options offense , with Vincent Jackson , LeGarrette Blount and rookie full-back —- Doug Wilson . However, Greg Schiano will undoubtedly, be looking to see more from his revamped defense . Mason Foster, Gerald McCoy and Mark Barron will be asked to make sizeable contributions to a defense that ranked amongst the worst in the NFC and the league as a whole last season.
Of all the games in week one of the NFL season openers , perhaps the most eagerly anticipated, might be the return of Peyton Manning as he leads the Denver Broncos in their season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers . In the aftermath of last season’s wildcard round of the NFL Playoffs , when the Steelers were subjected to a rather humiliating loss to the Broncos , who were led at the time by Tim Tebow . It has to be said, that the defeat left a bitter taste in the mouths of the Steelers’ players and the abrupt end to their postseason foray in 2011 .
In what was a career defining moment for Tebow, in many ways was also a sign that the player while undoubtedly not lacking in heart , as he left a lot to be desired as a quarterback in the NFL . In the off-season , John Elway , Head of Operations for the Denver Broncos, made the decision that the franchise needed a veteran quarterback to lead the team. With four-time league MVP Peyton Manning available, after being cut by the Indianapolis Colts , it seemed only natural that Elway would pursue the former Colts’ quarterback. With Manning now firmly entrenched as part of head coach’s John Fox’s offense , the player also becomes a quasi on-field offensive coordinator , thereby further assisting the offensive mindset of Fox’s coaching staff.
Manning’s acquisition made for a great story during the off-season and then when you add in the fact , that his younger sibling Eli Manning led the New York Giants to their second —- Superbowl in five years . Then you can understand the numerous reasons why Peyton Manning seeks to reassert himself as the top quarterback in the NFL. In what amounts to be a division that a number of fans believe to be a foregone conclusion , there is the belief that the Broncos will stroll through the AFC West with consummate ease . The Kansas City Chiefs , San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders, would like nothing better than to rewrite the script, to add their own ending to the plot-line that’s said to have been scripted. An 8-8 mark in 2011, garnered the Broncos the division and a berth in the postseason of 2011. I don’t believe that such a mark will be conclusive enough to repeat that feat but I could very well be wrong in that assumption ! The Broncos’ regular season meetings against the Chargers , Chiefs and Raiders , could very well provide us with the premise that we seek.
The opposing quarterback in this game will be two-time Superbowl winner Ben Roethlisberger . Coming off a 12-4 season in 2011 , having finished second within the AFC North to the Baltimore Ravens . Mike Tomlin and his players will this season seek to reassert themselves not only within the AFC but also within the NFL. With several nicked up players, the injury bug seems to have caught up to the Steelers’ aging core of veterans on the roster. However, with the departures and free agency acquisitions , alongside what has been determined to be a very good Steelers’ draft class of 2012. The thinking has to be, that Tomlin and the coaching staff will be well served by this unit, as they march forward this season.
the loss of Bruce Arians as the Steelers’ offensive coordinator has led to some discord between Roethlisberger and Arians’ successor Todd Haley . Haley has sought more of a run-first offense , whereas the quarterback was quite happy with Arians’ playbook of the passing option for the majority of the Steelers’ plays. This season and it remains a work in progress for Ben Roethlisberger and his teammates in adapting to Todd Haley’s offensive playbook. Mike Tomlin has made it clear he wants his offense clicking on all cylinders as the their season takes shape. The first signs where he will be able to gauge its success will be the game against the Indianapolis Colts’ defense.
Picture gallery .
Week one of the regular season , which games of the regular season do you believe will be the most anticipated ? Also in light of the repeated problems facing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers being unable to sellout a number of their regular season home games , is it your opinion that the team ownership should bear the burden of making sure that those unsold tickets be purchased by club ? Or do you believe that the NFL should be doing more to assist the franchises in meeting that goal ? Do take this opportunity to leave a comment on this topic and anything else you believe to pertinent to the subject matter.
Picture and slide show details below.
(1) FILE – In this Aug. 24, 2012, file photo, Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Vincent Jackson looks for yardage during their NFL preseason football game against the New England Patriots in Tampa, Fla. The Buccaneers were 27th in the NFL in scoring and also had one of the league’s least productive running games last year, but the team is counting on their rising young quarterback, multiple veteran free agent acquisitions and a new head coach to make a difference. The Buccaneers are scheduled to begin their regular season on Sept. 9 at home against the Carolina Panthers. AP Photo/Dave Martin ….
(2) FILE – In this Aug. 24, 2012, file photo, Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano watches from the sideline during an NFL preseason football game against the New England Patriots in Tampa, Fla. The Buccaneers were 27th in the NFL in scoring and also had one of the league’s least productive running games last year, but the team is counting on their rising young quarterback, multiple veteran free agent acquisitions and a new head coach to make a difference. The Buccaneers are scheduled to begin their regular season on Sept. 9 at home against the Carolina Panthers. AP Photo/Chris O’Meara ….
(3) Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Josh Freeman (5) throws for a first down in the first half against the New England Patriots during their NFL preseason football game in Tampa, Fla., Friday, Aug. 24, 2012. AP Photo/Dave Martin …
(4) Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ GM Mark Dominik in his third year as the front office executive of the organization is presiding over the revamping of the team , with a new head coach — acquisitions and draft picks by franchise in 2012. AP/ Getty Images / Nolan Turner …
(5) Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) avoids a tackle by New York Jets linebacker Aaron Maybin (51) during the first half of a preseason NFL football game , Sunday, Aug. 26, 2012, in East Rutherford, N.J. AP Photo/Bill Kostroun …
(6) Denver Broncos head coach John Fox, left, reacts to a call against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL preseason football game , Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012, in Glendale, Ariz. AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin ….
(7) Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) goes over plays with teammates Adam Weber (2) and Brock Osweiler during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012, in Glendale, Ariz. AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin ….
(8) FILE – In this Aug. 26, 2012, file photo, Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) passes against the San Francisco 49ers during the first quarter of an NFL preseason football game in Denver. No need to ask Steelers coach Mike Tomlin if Peyton Manning is back. As far as Tomlin is concerned, the Broncos quarterback never left. AP Photo/Jack Dempsey …..
(9) Denver Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno (27) rushes as Arizona Cardinals defensive tackle Dan Williams (92) and Daryl Washington (58) defend during the first half of an NFL preseason football game , Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012, in Glendale, Ariz. AP Photo/Matt York …..
(10) Pittsburgh Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger throws under pressure from Buffalo Bills’ Nick Barnett (50) during the first half of a preseason NFL football game in Orchard Park, N.Y., Saturday, Aug. 25, 2012. AP Photo/Gary Wiepert ………
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