Sunday was opening day at Raymond James Stadium for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and it was a crowd pleaser for sure.
Under first-year coach Greg Schiano the home team pulled-out a win, 16-10 over the Carolina Panthers. The fans brought their Bucs love, despite the team failing again to sidestep a blackout.
There was plenty to be pumped about with the Buccaneers playing well and enthusiastic cheers being heard throughout the stadium.
"Whoa!," said Buc fan Courtney Devoll with both of her arms up, mimicking a goal post, as she heard the cannons pop.
Devoll had her hands full with a pre-game meal of ribs and homemade mac n' cheese, filling up on calories before kickoff.
"I am tailgating for the first time with my fellow friends," Devoll explained. "It's gonna be a good time."
Devoll and her friend Steve White won tickets to the game at Whiskey Joe's, a last minute but welcome surprise.
"Everybody dresses-up like a pirate and it's so much fun," added White. "It's very entertaining."
Devoll and White thoroughly enjoyed Sunday's fan experience and wishes more locals would come out and support the team. If so, the Bucs might finally get over this blackout nonsense.
"It's our home team and we need to vote for our teams and be at those bars if they can't make it," Devoll said. "They need to be here and fill these stadiums."
There's always the games before the game, like rounds of beer pong and over-eating. But once fans got through the security gauntlet, it was time for some serious football fun.
The stadium was certainly crawling with plenty of Bucs and Panthers enthusiasts on Sunday. James Washington is a Carolina fan who purchased a ticket to support both teams, and to do his part to avoid another blackout.
"I live in Tampa," Washington said. "It's cheaper to go to a Bucs game than to go to Charlotte."
Washington has lived in the Bay area for three years. Like many others who've moved here he is still very loyal to his hometown team.
"[I'm a] Die hard!" he said. "You know, the economy's bad, but you know what, I will still support my team, it's week one, you should, if you can, try to come to at least, week one."
Davarius Garland professed his love for the Buccaneers with the clothes he wore.
"I love the Bucs," Garland said as he was literally all wrapped-up in pewter and red from head to toe. He even shaped some team gear into a makeshift cape.
"Best superhero pose like this," he laughed, holding his arms outstretched in front of him like Superman.
With his Tampa Bay cape waving behind him Garland showed he is definitely one of the team's ‘super fans.' He says he will remain loyal no matter where he watches the game.
"They really need to put the thing back on TV because everybody can't afford tickets," Garland said.
Despite there being plenty of available seats some fans tried to broker better deals in the parking lot.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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