Koetter to fans: Bucs aware they've lost home advantage
Facing a critical three-game home stand, coach Dirk Koetter indicated Thursday the Bucs don’t have the same home-field advantage at Raymond James Stadium as other NFL teams.
He also said the Bucs’ 3-15 home record since the start of 2014 is largely responsible for it.
"Every place is different. Every place you play on the road is different as far as how hard it is to play there and how hard it is to hear there," Koetter said Thursday. "We’re not fooling anybody that some teams travel a lot better than others."
"And, you know, players notice. Coaches notice. That’s the truth. And I’m 1,000 percent aware that the more you win, the better it gets. But with that said, do we have a home-field advantage? That’s our job to create it."
That said, following the Bucs’ 34-17 win over San Francisco Sunday, Koetter pleaded for Bucs fans to fill the lower bowl of RJS against the Raiders, a team that has a national following similar to the Denver Broncos. In fact, Broncos fans outnumbered Tampa Bay fans by the end of the Bucs’ 27-7 loss at RJS Oct. 2.
"Go take a picture of any of them," Koetter said. "Denver, Chicago, Giants. Take a picture. See what you get.
"We've got to take care of the stuff on the field, but some places are harder than others."
To that point, Koetter said it’s hard for the visiting team to communicate on the road due to crowd noise. But that same hurdle has existed at times for the Bucs -– even when they are playing at home.
"When you can’t hear, it’s rough," Koetter said. "When you have to do everything silent cadence, everything hand signals, when you can’t hear yourself think, compared to when you’ve got to go silent cadence in your own stadium."
In fact, Koetter said the loudest RJS has been this season was following the weather delay in the fourth quarter against the Rams, when less than 5,000 fans remained for the Bucs’ final drive which fell short in a 37-32 loss.
"That was the loudest it was the whole game, just from noticing it," Koetter said. "Now again, the rest of the game was played on one little part of the field."
The Bucs begin a stretch Sunday of three home games in 15 days. After playing the Raiders, they host the Atlanta Falcons four days later on Thursday Night Football before welcoming the Chicago Bears on Nov. 13.
But Koetter says the Bucs cannot afford to focus on anyone except the Raiders.
"We can’t think of it that way," Koetter said. "I can see why it looks like that. We can’t for one second try to think that way. That’s crazy if we do that."