5 NFL Grinches For The 2012 Holiday Season
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Blackouts this season: Five
That's five of six home games blacked out already this season and a whopping 18 home games that haven't been televised in the Tampa area during the past three seasons.
The only game the team sold out this year was a home loss to the New Orleans Saints, their division rivals. By accepting the new blackout threshold and tweaking ticket prices, Buccaneers management made the argument they were doing all they could to keep the team on the air. They weren't buying up tickets for a third of the price and giving them to charity -- a loophole exploited by several other NFL squads -- but that's their prerogative.
Still, Tampa Bay's acceptance of the blackout deal never quite smelled right. That 85% attendance threshold is nice and all, but attendance at eight of the team's 13 blacked-out games in the past two seasons fell below that mark. The team's slide from a 10-6 playoff contender in 2010 to a 4-12 team adrift last year to a 6-6 snoozefest under new head coach Greg Schiano this season hasn't exactly jolted the fan base, which is now used to not seeing its team on television for much of the year. Anger's given way to resignation, and that's a dangerous thing for any team still looking for an identity.