TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – While the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are preparing for the NFC Championship Game against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, their fans are following in their footsteps.
No, they may not be hitting the practice field.
No, they are probably not watching any film.
No, they have not been particularly dedicated to studying the playbook.
However, these fans did decide to restructure their diets in the days between the Saints game and the Packers game. They are following one rule. They cannot eat any type of cheese.
“It is no Philly cheese, no cream cheese, no cheese puffs, no shaved cheese, no crumbled cheese,” explained Christian Perez, a loyal Buccaneers fan. “Just no cheese. We are not doing any cheese.”
If you are confused by this constraint, you must consider the enemy.
These fans are eliminating cheese from their diets until the Buccaneers are victorious over the Packers and their cheesehead followers.
They likely settled on that sacrifice around 1:30 on Monday morning while they were waiting for the team to arrive at Sheltair Aviation in Tampa.
“I remember the bright lights and horns honking and screaming,” said Perez. “That is why I don’t have a voice but it was amazing.”
Perez is one of three Buccaneers fans responsible for the Loose Cannons Podcast, a podcast created by the fans for the fans.
“We just give our crazy fanatic take on being a Bucs fan,” said Samer Ali, another member of the team, “and the ups and downs of being a Bucs fan and, if you know our history, there are a lot of downs but that is why we love a moment like right now.”
When the Buccaneers beat the Saints, the Loose Cannons Podcast contributors acted quickly.
“We only did a one-hour postgame show,” said Ali, “so that we could go to the airport. We told everybody, when we beat the Saints, we are meeting at the airport.”
They gathered there to welcome the players home.
“It was definitely nice to be able to have that support and it was very gracious of them to come out,” said Buccaneers defensive lineman, Ndamukong Suh.
“All of the players, man, they were just excited to see us out there,” said Adam Horn of the Loose Cannons Podcast. “We were even more excited. We were losing our minds.”
“It was a dope, dope feeling after winning a game like that,” said Ali.
Ali has been a fan for decades but he has never been a fan who follows the team’s planes.
“When the Bucs last went on a run like this, I was only 17 or 18 years old so this is a first for me,” said Ali. “It was something I could not pass up. I had to do it.”
He did do it with his fellow Loose Cannons and loyal listeners.
“Everyone was so happy,” said Devon Garnett, who is both a fan of the podcast and a fan of the Buccaneers. “You got a bunch of Tampa Bay chants going. You see all of these nice cars coming out and it was awesome. People were playing music. Players were playing music, going by, they are taking videos of us so you got to go hard for your team.”
Garnett has been in this position in the past. He remembers celebrating when the Buccaneers beat the Eagles in the NFC Conference Championship Game on Jan. 19, 2003.
“My family and I hopped in the van and we came down here to welcome them,” he said. “My neighbor was in the van with us. He opened the door and he was waving a Bucs flag. Some guy let us park in his yard for $10. I am running up and down the street right here so I remember it like it was yesterday.”
He has treasured that memory and he has his heart set on adding to it.
“It gives you that feeling that maybe this could be the year,” Garnett said. “I don’t want to jinx anything. We got a hard game this week but it brings back memories and it is good that Tampa Bay sports are back.”
If the Buccaneers beat the Packers on Sunday, Horn has already decided how he will celebrate it.
“I am renting a horse,” he said, “so I can do victory laps around the stadium for Devin White.”
The next game, the final game of the 2020 season, will be Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium, the home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“When they win, it just makes everything better,” said Perez. “Coffee tastes better. Your drive to work is better. Tampa Bay weather is better. Football is amazing. It is brings people together.”
Yes, it brings people together and, in this case, it brings people together against the Green Bay Packers and their cheesehead followers.
No, thank you, I will pass on the cheese, too.