Commentary

Ultimate Standings 2009: No. 73

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Updated: July 1, 2009, 12:02 PM ET
By Morty Ain | ESPN The Magazine

Last Year's Rank: 68
Title Track: 16
Ownership: 89
Coaching: 88
Players: 72
Fan Relations: 71
Affordability: 100
Stadium Experience: 35
Bang for the Buck: 76

Looks like memories of XXXVII still dance in Bucs fans' heads. Lucky for management, because when you're charging more booty per butt than any franchise not playing in Foxborough, you need the crew to think they're on the deck of a champ. Too bad it's more like the poop deck in Tampa these days. Forget 2003; this team doesn't even recall 2007 -- Chucky is gone, and so are fan faves Derrick Brooks, Joey Galloway and Ike Hilliard. On the bright side, the Bucs have plenty of cap space, and the New Sombrero (a.k.a. Raymond James) continues to wear well. "It's one of the nicest and coolest venues to catch a game," says Jerry Scott of Buc 'Em blog. "From the interactive pirate ship, to being able to catch the action from any seat in the stadium without feeling a change in altitude, to having bucket seats that fit a six-foot-tall beer-chugging spectator." Playing up its asset, management has installed a monthly payment program for season ticket-mates and iced any seat hikes. But considering tix have already more than doubled since that Super season, fans should abandon any hope of this ever again being a bargain cruise. That ship sailed a long time ago.