The Race to Raymond James Stadium

TAMPA, Fla. -- The bosses up in Bristol are always encouraging us to think outside the box here on the Blog Network.

In light of that and perhaps as a way to spice up another meaningless preseason football game, I’m going to try something totally different tonight. For only the second time (last week was the other) since Raymond James Stadium opened in 1998, the game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Jacksonville Jaguars will be blacked out on local television.

For last week’s game with Kansas City, the Bucs announced they sold a little over 40,000 tickets. Just a guess, but I think tonight’s figure will be somewhere in that range. I was more than a little stunned last week by how easy it was to get into the stadium. There was virtually no traffic. I think I made it there in less time than I would have if I’d driven there at, let’s just say 4:30 p.m., on any given day of the week when there isn't a game. However, I didn’t really clock it.

So, just for the fun of it, I’m going to clock the trip tonight. For the record, according to a website that does precise map calculations, the distance from NFC South Blog Headquarters to Raymond James Stadium is 27.06 miles. (Note to self: You’ve been shorting yourself five miles each way on every expense report you’ve been handing in for Bucs’ games for the last three years because you simply guessed at the mileage.)

That same website estimates my travel time should be 36 minutes. For entertainment purposes only, I’m going to set the over/under at 30 minutes from the time I pull out of my garage to the moment I park at the stadium. I’m going with the under and I promise I’m not going to break any speed limits or run any lights.

Traditionally, I like to leave roughly three hours before kickoff for any game -- home or on the road -- because I like to get into the stadium early and get set up. I’m going to stick with that rule of thumb tonight.

I’ll give you an update on how it turns out after I get settled in, get the computer fired up and do a few radio hits that are scheduled in the 6 p.m. hour. Heck, I’m thinking I might have time to give you that update before I do the radio hits.