There is a clear divide between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers fanbase when it comes to QB Jameis Winston, to say the least.
There has been a line drawn in the sand between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers fanbase over the course of the last couple of seasons when it comes to QB Jameis Winston.
Either you like him and are hopeful he’s the answer for the future. Or either you don’t like him and think the Buccaneers should split while they have the chance. There’s not much room for in-between.
We’ve seen and heard countless analysts either criticize Winston for his mistakes, or praise him for his high-upside and incredible talent.
There’s a clear divide and there’s not much in-between room.
It should be mentioned that there is a group of fans in the middle that are playing the ‘wait and see’ game. They like Winston and want him to be the guy, but aren’t completely sold. They’re hopeful he can improve on his interceptions, but aren’t ready to deem him the future.
That being said, I wanted to explore an area that hasn’t been talked about as much.
Yes, we all know that the fans on the ‘pro-Winston’ side like him because of his immense talent and promise. They also like the fact that they know what they’re going to get with Winston versus drafting a brand new QB or signing a veteran in free-agency.
Likewise, we all know that the fans on the ‘anti-Winston’ side are against him because they think he’s holding the team back. They see the talent around him and think Tampa Bay should be competing and look to his interceptions- many in awfully bad timing spots- and think there must be a better option out there.
But I wanted to address an issue that I think many may understand, but probably haven’t considered: How much of this Jameis Winston divide has to do with the fact that he played at Florida State?
The state of Florida is known for having some storied collegiate football programs in Florida State, Florida and Miami. While none are quite on the level that has come to be expected, there are clear lines when it comes to rivalry within the state. Many of those fans are also Tampa Bay fans.
I’m beginning to think a little more and more that there’s more to Jameis Winston’s divide than his interception totals or passing touchdowns. Florida State fans are legitimately loyal to him because of what he did in their program. They want him to succeed. They’re going to be loyal and root for him to do well, no matter what.
Though Winston may be putting on a different shade of red, he’s still a Seminole- and one of the best at that- in the eyes of many.
With the same perspective, many Florida fans may be less tolerable of Winston’s mistakes. They had to put up with him winning a National Championship and competing in the CFB Playoff. The last thing they want is for him- whether true or not- to be the reason their NFL team suffers.
I understand that there are fans that legitimately had no interest in Winston or Florida State- good or bad- before he joined the Buccaneers and are only looking at things through the NFL scope, no matter which side they are on.
However, I’m not naïve enough to think that there aren’t some fans who have let their collegiate fandoms bleed into their NFL fandom. While it’s not the primary reason that they are on one side of the fence or the other when it comes to Winston, it certainly plays a part in their thoughts on the entire situation.
Fandom is a weird thing.