NFL Wild Card Weekend in Tampa by Ultimate Sports Fan, Andrew

All playoff games are fun to travel to, but NFL playoff games are something special. There were four cities to choose from for Wild Card weekend – Seattle, Pittsburgh, Tampa or San Diego. I chose Tampa since my in-laws live about 90 minutes north of Raymond James Stadium.

I bought a ticket before New Year’s on I bought a single for $85 ($93.35 with fees). There were two reasons I decided to buy on Ticketmaster rather than scalp outside the stadium:

Reason #1: The Ultimate Sports Wife received $200 in Ticketmaster Gift Certificates and I wanted to start using them.

Reason #2: I had bad flashbacks of the night I went to see the Buccaneers host the Steelers on December 23, 2002 for Monday Night football. That night, there were no tickets to be found outside the stadium. I finally found a ticket in the club level for $200, but it turned out to be a fake (luckily, at the time, Raymond James Stadium did not use scanners, so I could still find a seat and watch the game). The guy who sold me the ticket gave me $185 back so it ended up only costing me $15, but I did not want to repeat the experience.

As I walked up to the stadium, the scalpers had a handful of tickets. As I got to the gate fans were holding 2 - 4 fingers up, meaning there was a disconnect between what price the scalpers wanted and what fans wanted to pay. Whenever I see more fans with their fingers in the air than scalpers with tickets I am relieved I already have my ticket.

The temperature during the game was 78 degrees which was great compared to Chicago weather. The Buccaneers played sloppy against the Giants and lost 24-14 giving Eli Manning his first playoff win.

Cool Buccaneers Feature: Watch for the raising of the Buccaneers flags around the top of the stadium when the team is in the “red zone”. It makes the appearance of needing to move the pirate ship into the end zone.