TAMPA, Fla. — What would a Redskins victory be without “Chief Z?” The self-described “Skins No. 1 Fan” dresses up as an Indian and once was beaten up in Philadelphia by angry fans.
“We got plenty of Redskins fans here, and it’s great,” he said last night at Raymond James Stadium, just before the two-minute warning in the wild-card playoff game between the Washington Redskins and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Just then, a rotund man, shirtless, walked by. His face was painted red, and on his chest were the words, “The Red Siege.”
Just a typical day at a football stadium. Beer, beer and more beer. Hot dogs and grown men dressed as pirates. And, of course, Chief Z, who has been coming to Redskins games for 28 years and wouldn’t have missed the game in Tampa for the world.
“We gotta get with it now before they cheat us,” he said, referring to the Bucs’ 36-35 defeat of the Redskins in November.
The conventional wisdom is this: Redskins fans are rabid, fanatic, die-hard crazies. The Bucs fans are, well, more laid back.
“That’s what’s so great about this season, to see so many fans here,” said Brad Voss, 37, wearing a Redskins jersey and sipping a beer in the stadium concourse. “Our hotel is full; the plane was full.”
Indeed, it seemed there were a sea of gold and burgundy jerseys. Even the Hogettes made it, in their pig snouts, wigs and dresses.
“The Bucs fans are pretty benign,” said Charlie Higgins of West River, Md., who was at the game with his wife, Tricia, “and we want payback from November.”
By halftime, as the score inched up for the Redskins, the Bucs fans had long faces.
After the Redskins’ 17-10 victory, many of the team’s fans were too inebriated to be interviewed.
“It was worth the 13-hour trip,” one fan yelled. “We’re going to Disneyland, baby.”
They stayed behind in small groups, high-fiving and making plans for after-game partying and, of course, flying to Seattle for the NFL Divisional Playoffs.
“I’ll have to look online,” said Cheryl Bovastro, who surprised her husband with a birthday present: two tickets to the game yesterday. She bought two tickets on EBay for $375.
The couple lives in Miami, but her husband, Stacey Giddens, grew up in Virginia and is a lifetime Redskins fan. He was “overjoyed” with the present and, yes, he says, they’re looking to going to Seattle.