Update 10:10 p.m.: It looks like the Bucs got in the air, and are expected to land at 11:31 p.m. in Charlotte.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers might have a tougher road to hoe than expected tomorrow against the Carolina Panthers. It looks like the Bucs got stuck in a travel nightmare while leaving the city on the way to Charlotte tonight.
Adding to the difficulty of traveling during the time of COVID: The #Bucs have been waiting for about 5 hours on the tarmac due to mechanical issues before traveling to Carolina. They’re set to leave now, but some disruption on their road trip to play the #Panthers.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 14, 2020
The Bucs’ flight to Charlotte was supposed to take off at 2:25. They were stuck on the tarmac for over five hours due to mechanical issues. They’re still in Tampa, per a source, but will be getting a new plane. It’s a 1 p.m. kickoff tomorrow.— JennaLaineESPN (@JennaLaineESPN) November 15, 2020
Bucs are about to board a new plane for Charlotte. Team was supposed to leave at 2:30, has had seven hours in delays due to mechanical issues. They face Panthers at 1 p.m. Sunday.— Greg Auman (@gregauman) November 15, 2020
The Bucs had to hold team meetings and a meal at Tampa International Airport, but it was in an area of the airport for chartered planes with restricted access. The team scattered about the building and went outdoors to accommodate social distancing.— JennaLaineESPN (@JennaLaineESPN) November 15, 2020
Having been in that building before... I mean it’s nice, but it’s nowhere you want to hang out for seven hours before a flight and a football game the next day. Not exactly comfortable. The only good thing is NFL teams do fly via private charter, so it’s not like when you’re in coach on Southwest and stuck on the tarmac for interminable hours where you can’t get up and move around.
The Bucs are a six-point favorite at Charlotte tomorrow, and as of 10 p.m. on Saturday night it appears the flight delay hasn’t affected the action according to bettors yet. While it opened at -7 this week, the number today has stayed pretty steady only fluctuating between -6 and -6.5.
It would be one thing if the Bucs were a bunch of spry young players that can push through everything, but their quarterback is 43-years-old and not exactly a spring chicken. But coming off a 38-3 blowout last week from the New Orleans Saints, they’ll likely be ready to jump on the field and show they’re still a contender in the NFC.
It just might be on a bit less sleep than expected.