There just comes a moment when Buccaneers faithful have to call shenanigans on the national media. Since Tom Brady announced he would be a Buccaneer, Tampa Bay has had a bullseye square on the back of every jersey. Buccaneers fans have no qualm with being the talk of the town. As a result of a history lean on winning, the sudden attention has been refreshing. Except lately the adoration has felt more like humiliation.
Got To Hate The Haters
Make no mistake about it. Everything the media does is for ratings. It’s what puts food on the table, presents under the Christmas tree, and fat advertising money in the bank. The key is to find a consistent narrative that will keep on feeding. Then milk that cow until the milk runs dry.
Brady leaving New England was always going to be the headline. Pairing him with Bruce (risk it) Arians was an easy sell. Adding Rob Gronkowski, to a roster with stud receivers Mike Evans, and Chris Godwin, along with a good defense was the close. Now, hanging the team like raw meat in the lions cage each week has become the narrative for an NFL public that has no skin in the ‘fans of the Buccaneers’ game.
They’ve Got To Flip The Script
Buccaneers fans have truly enjoyed being the headline from week to week. Media pundits expounding on why this Tampa Bay team isn’t running the board has become low hanging fruit. The NFL media game is to build, build, build, then take every chance to tear it all down. A cupboard full of toys, a top notch defense and Tom Brady at quarterback. All good reasons to debate the successes and failures of the Buccaneers from week to week. All good reasons for those who root for the team. As well as all those who loathe them.
What has become apparent as of late is that the joke is on Buccaneers fans. Building up the teams that are supposed to be world beaters, then dissecting the reasons they are not is the way it’s always been. Buccaneers fans know this drill. When the Tony Dungy led teams of the late 90’s were the best in the league. The story was always the anemic offense, and how the team would not be able to seal the deal. Face it, if it bleeds, it leads. And lately, there’s been some bleeding.
The unraveling of the Buccaneers is what is leading the NFL news. Besides COVID-19, that is. The media loves it mostly because when this team does do as good as it should, they are poised to say “told you so”. But when the teams struggles as they did last week against the Rams. They have so many talking points set up because they were playing the 50-50 coin on the Bucs in the first place.
What The Bucs Must Do
The only way to achieve “scoreboard” status against this national media hate. Go out there and dominate like they know they can. Own it. Relish it. The team must make it an “us against the world mentality”. Instead of listening to the praise the media puts out. Pay attention to the enthusiasm in which they cover the stumbles. Remember it!
They want to see the Buccaneers struggle. They’ll be banking on it. They are relishing in the struggles of the GOAT, while watching the Buccaneers fall flat. For a season that is short on Cinderella stories, the easy play is to sell the Buccaneers high, while selling the teams stock at the same time.
Time To Control The Narrative
The Buccaneers can run the table, make the playoffs, and the national talking heads will say “told you so”. The truth is, they have no vested interest in the teams success. For them it’s all about sound bites, game clips, and paychecks. A team like the Buccaneers imploding would only serve a juicy narrative that would surely get headlines.
The Buccaneers control their own destiny. At 7-4, the 2020 season has only just begun. The team should stop listening to all the reasons they should be dominating. It is time to go out there on Sunday and begin to dominate.
Before the season even began there were thirty-one other teams that were not going to raise the Lombardi trophy this season. Few will have gotten the media attention the Buccaneers have. For Tampa Bay to have their greatest success, they will have to write their own story. The players will have to stop asking themselves why not. They must start answering the ‘how’. How will they overcome the injuries that have piled up as of late. What must be done to consistently play up to the level they are capable of. Why will this team be remembered for years to come.
Only the Buccaneers themselves can finish this story.