Saturday, December 16, 2017
Opinion

Ruth: Another clear reason to eschew the Bucs

It is probably not all that much of a stretch to imagine that the day will eventually come when patrons entering Helloooooo Sucker Stadium to take in the exploits of the Tampa Bay Big Bucks will be required to change clothes into hospital gowns for the sake of national security.

And we'll be having way big fun now.

As you've probably heard, the National Football League — think North Korea, only without the sense of whimsy — recently mandated that ticket-holding dupes attending games will no longer be permitted to enter the rarefied air of Glazerworld Stadium with purses and/or any type of bag larger than 12 by 6 by 12 inches.

This new "Your purses, PULEEZE!" mandate will also apply to other events held at Teapot Dome Field, including University of South Florida football games, the Outback Bowl and monster truck jams.

The good news is the purse/bag rule now gives the rest of us yet another excuse to never set foot in Costa Concordia Coliseum along with the 897 other reasons, most notably in protest over the failure of Bucs owner Malcolm Glazer and his urchins Slip and Fall to honor their long-ago promise to pay for half of the Debacle on Dale Mabry.

The NFL — think Iran, only without the joie de vivre — imposed the purse/bag ban after the Boston Marathon bombings, although it's highly unlikely, given the security patdown precautions that have been in effect for years, that anyone would have been able to smuggle a pressure cooker bomb through the turnstiles.

It is also worth noting that Tropicana Field and the Tampa Bay Times Forum haven't seen the need to impose something as draconian as forbidding a fan with a purse or a fanny pack from entering to see a baseball or hockey game.

But this is the NFL — think a Death Star, only without the mirth — where everything and everyone must submit to a Parris Island-like regimentation on and off the field.

Not to worry, though. If you are among those still willing to be treated like a terrorism suspect to gain admission to Orwell Stadium just to watch Josh Freeman throw more interceptions than the no-fly zone over Libya, does the National Football League have a sweet deal for you.

Of course if you want, you can simply present a plastic freezer bag for official inspection. So, so, so gridiron declasse. But for a mere $7.99, you, too, will be able to purchase an official NFL-approved plastic bag complete with the logo of the Bucs in the form of an ATM. And who wouldn't want their own officially sanctioned NFL/Bucs plastic bag?

Now there's a Christmas stocking stuffer for you.

You would think for a sports franchise that has struggled to fill seats for the past several seasons, largely because of some really stinky performances on the field, it doesn't make marketing sense to make it even more of a hassle just to get through the door.

But this is the NFL — think the Tammany Hall of goalposts, only with less democracy — where pigskin-starved fans would be willing to be treated like so many put-upon Monty Python and the Holy Grail vassals to simply be witness to the action or perhaps inaction. And for what?

A couple of years ago the Wall Street Journal reported that after you strip away all the end zone dancing, rump-patting, taunting of opponents and other extraneous activity, the actual time spent playing football in an NFL game is about 11 minutes.

Helloooooo Sucker Stadium indeed.

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