Thursday, February 22, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Boycott? Giants game drew Bucs' biggest home crowd since 2015

Some fans have said they'll boycott the NFL over players kneeling in protest during the national anthem, but that campaign didn't keep the Bucs from drawing their biggest home crowd in nearly two years for Sunday's win against the Giants at Raymond James Stadium.

The Bucs had an announced sellout attendance of 63,916, and the actual attendance according to Tampa Sports Authority was 58,167 — that equates to a 91 percent turnout rate, higher than last year's 87.7 percent average for Bucs home games.

The actual attendance was the highest for any Bucs home game since the last time the Giants were in town, in November 2015.

That could be challenged again Thursday, when the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots play in Tampa for the first time in 20 years. NFL teams usually play in every NFL stadium at least once every eight years, but the last Bucs home game against New England was played in London in 2009. Thursday's game has also been announced as a sellout, as one of the most anticipated home games in recent Bucs history.

Bucs receivers Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson chose to kneel during the anthem in protest during the previous game at Minnesota, but both stood with their teammates during the anthem Sunday. One Giants player, defensive end Olivier Vernon, continued to kneel during the anthem, with his arms locked with standing teammates on both sides of him.

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