Saturday, November 7, 2009
Cheeseheads invading Tampa Bay
By Pat Yasinskas
Posted by ESPN.com’s Pat Yasinskas
TAMPA, Fla. -- For a moment, I thought the jet lag had caught up to me and I had somehow ended up in the Milwaukee airport. Turns out I really am in Tampa International Airport (waiting to start a trip to New Orleans with a connection through another NFC South city) and it was the green that was getting to me.
Yes, the Cheeseheads are invading Tampa Bay. Just about everywhere I look I see someone wearing a Packers jersey, hat or jacket (they won’t need the jackets once they step outside). This all confirms my theory that you’re going to see a ton of green when the Packers play the Buccaneers on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium.
Kind of ironic that the Bucs will be wearing their throwback uniforms because this game is going to be a throwback to another time. Back before Tony Dungy came to town and the Bucs made pewter a common color, it was the norm for fans of the visiting team to outnumber Tampa Bay fans.
In the decade or so when the Bucs were consistently good, that stopped. The team even went out of its way to make it difficult for out-of-town travel agencies to buy large blocks of tickets.
But times have changed. The Bucs are losing and it’s a very tough time to sell tickets -- except to Green Bay fans who want to have a nice autumn weekend in Florida.
One other observation from the airport: Next time I see Thomas Dimitroff, I’m going to give the Atlanta general manager a suggestion on where to find cornerbacks for next year. I know Dimitroff already is studying the cornerbacks in the next draft class.
But I think college is the wrong place to look. I’m watching some of those people who peddle credit cards for a certain airline and they’d be perfect cornerbacks. They’re relentless. You can’t go five yards without getting bumped by one of them and I’m seeing great catch-up speed as they chase down the people who try to go around them.