The Buccaneers haven’t been known as a team with a major home-field advantage, but the Eagles learned just how much this has changed.
Franchises with histories like the Buccaneers don’t often sell out stadiums. If you’ve been to a Bucs game without Tom Brady in the past decade, there was always a good chance that you’d see as many fans cheering for the away side as you would the home team.
It’s hard to put support in a team that showed little willingness to win from top to bottom. Away fans just had their way at Raymond James as the Buccaneers mired in mediocrity.
The most faithful fans showed up week in and week out to show support to their Bucs, but it was hard for the Tampa Bay area to fully show out for a team that was never going to be great.
All of that changed when Tom Brady came to Tampa.
Whether this decision was simply to sell tickets or to actually win games, Brady and a few other Hall of Famers coming to Tampa changed everything for the homefield advantage.
Gone were the away colors in the stands, and in came swaths of pewter and red. The Buccaneers chants during the game filled the stadium as away fans huddled together in much smaller groups than before.
The Buccaneers rebuilt their identity from the ground up that season on the field, which spread to off-the-field improvements, and the Eagles learned this the hard way during their rout at the hands of the defending champs yesterday.
In a quote Tweeted out by Jon Ledyard, Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert showed just how much has changed in Tampa.
Gone are the days of empty stadiums and quiet fields. The fans in Tampa are rabid with excitement for this postseason, which is still a relatively new feeling.
A team like the Eagles that is used to playing under rains of boos from their own fans can’t even communicate in Tampa to fix a play call? That is a dramatic change for the Bucs, and one that many fans have been waiting on for over a decade.
The Buccaneers are a new team, and the culture change that this franchise has undergone under Brady will change the trajectory of this team for a long time to come. Pride in the team is something every fan can wear in a new way now that the Bucs are actually winning, and this pride will certainly carry through the rest of the playoffs and into next season.
The Cardinals or Rams better be ready, because the Bucs fans have proven that they are also ready to go for the next round of the playoffs.
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