Poor Bucs fans.
The rest of us NFL buffs are getting ready to watch our favorite teams play their first games today and indulge in this annual rite of fall.
Some will be able to watch at home.
Others will head to a nearby sports bar with NFL Sunday Ticket.
Not Bucs fans.
Not unless they want to drive to some joint in South Florida with the NFL package to see them play the Cleveland Browns.
Or just listen on the radio.
The first blacked-out regular season game in the 13-year history of Raymond James Stadium is why.
Of course, local Bucs fans could relent, drive to Tampa and buy a ticket to the game.
Which is what the Glazer family and the NFL want.
I wouldn’t count on it.
Bucs fans are as loyal as any NFL fans, but they’re not stupid.
They sent the Bucs’ management that message this exhibition season when the RayJay (65,857 capacity) was half-filled for two home games and they got blacked out.
The mood hasn’t changed for the NFL season opener.
Two bad teams and a bad economy do not add up to a good time.
Besides, not being able to watch this game could be a blessing in disguise.
Browns vs. Bucs might be considered cruel and unusual punishment.
So what to do?
Well, fans could just settle for the Miami Dolphins vs. Buffalo Bills, which our half of Florida is getting on CBS.
Or spend a beautiful Sunday doing what most sane people do:
n Go fishing.
n Go to the beach.
n Go bike riding.
Many have been the Sundays I wished I’d done any of those after watching a forgettable football game.
Hope today’s not one of them.
Yours truly is a Philadelphia Eagles fan and the rebuilding “Iggles” play the potent Green Bay Packers.
It’s a 4:15 p.m. kickoff on Fox, plenty of time to take care of the “Honey do” list.
I’ve already cut the grass, but I know there are other chores, too.
n Shop for groceries after church.
n Straighten out the garage.
n Sort out my stuff that’s been packed since we got married five months ago.
Those would be my wife’s marching orders, but I think I’m going to be able to skate by and still be cool for the game.
Just found out Sherri is going to spend the afternoon — and money — at Buckler’s Craft Show at the Manatee Civic Center with her mom.
She might not be a real happy woman today otherwise.
Sherri’s a Bucs fan.
Mannix About Manatee, is written by columnist Vin Mannix. You can reach him at 745-7055.