Tempered expectations


After Sunday’s loss to the New York Giants it was pretty quiet for a football Monday. This was the complete opposite of the week before. Was it because victory was expected or did it have more to do with the way defeat was achieved? Could it be as simple as what day of the week it is?

The day of the week

Most NFL football games are on a Sunday. Your team wins and the week starts out with a bang. The coffee tastes great. The boss is friendly. The work day is sprinkled with conversation of victory and team potential. Victory Mondays are great stuff.

A loss on a Sunday and it’s a completely different ballgame. The coffee tastes like crap. The boss feels like a diaper. Conversation is generally hushed tones and mostly work related. Tampa Bay fans have this version down pat.

Change it up a bit

Now a Thursday night road victory over an opponent and Friday feels like Cinqo de Mayo. There is body bumping, high diving. The coffee feels like your drinking tequila because there is a buzz in the air. That boss, well they get a full on kiss on the lips.

A Thursday night victory is like being a kid with saved money to go to a carnival when that favorite Aunt still slips a 20 spot into your pocket. It’s found wealth and all weekend to spend it. It’s a great thing.

Not really the point

Back to the quiet Monday. All of these things seem true but it appears there is another issue at work here.

Buccaneer fans don’t just expect this turnaround. They’ve been at this NFL thing long enough now to know that the ship is turning.

With Cam Newton in the clouds, Drew Brees on he bench, and Matt Ryan coached by Dirk Koetter, this latest experiment in Tampa Bay seems to have unlimited opportunities. Keep that thought.

Sunday was painful. No way around that. But when the expectation is great, the disappointment can seem greater. But it’s the expectation that makes Buccaneer fans the most resilient, persistent, and truest fans in the NFL.

They’ve done 0-26. Watched Hugh Culverhouse pocket revenue every year and field a team of prayers, and still made Tampa Bay look like so many Florida citrus fields, popping with the color of bright orange and a winking Bucco Bruce for good measure.

The only Bruce that matters today is sitting in the captains chair in Tampa. As the Florida summer slips into the tropical winter so many tourists flock from around the world to enjoy, the Buccaneers are an improving team.

Starting the longest stretch of road games this franchise has ever seen. The next time the Buccaneers play a home game we may be wearing jeans and sweatshirts to the game.

The next five weeks the Buccaneers will play @Rams, @Saints, in England against the Panthers, @Titans , and finally @Seahwks.

Quite a tall task for a team still breaking in a new coach. A road schedule that makes a team nomadic. An “us against the world” mentality should be settling in at One Buc Place right about now.

What do you say Tampa Bay? Five straight road games. No problem. How about outrageous offensive success. An unbelievably aggressive defense. A string of victories not seen from the Buccaneers in almost two decades. Let’s shoot for the moon.

After all. If we’re going to expect anything, let us expect the unexpected.