So why did Bucs coach Dirk Koetter urge fans not to sell tickets to Raiders fans as Tampa Bay prepared to host Oakland last year? Koetter knows what can go wrong when too many fans of the road team invade a stadium.
“The first year I was here, and we played a couple of those teams from the northeast, the traditional teams that travel well,” Koetter said on The Ira Kaufman Podcast, via JoeBucsFan.com. “I mean, we had to go to [the] silent count in our own home stadium, and that’s just not right.”
Koetter typically treads lightly when talking about his belief that fans should support the team, possibly because he knows that the response will be, “Give us something worthy of support.”
“The organization, the fans and the team has to play better, OK?” Koetter said. “Any time I start talking too much about my role with the fans, they’re going to slap me right back down to earth. And there’s always going to be a bunch of people [saying], ‘Hey, Dirk, worry about coaching the team.’ And I get that; that’s my ultimate job. But I’m always looking to give us every advantage we can get because it’s all about winning. I’m worrying about motivating my team, but I want the fans’ help. Because we need the home field advantage.”
This year, it shouldn’t be an issue, as long as the team delivers. Optimism is running high, but that means so are expectations. With the Bucs in one of the widest-open divisions in football, they’ll need to win early. Otherwise, there will be plenty of fans of the visiting team visiting Raymond James Stadium as the season unfolds.