The 2012 NFL Draft takes over the national sports landscape this week, with the must-see-TV of the first round scheduled for Thursday night. As a Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan, there are two ways you can become more involved in the draft, in addition to tuning in to watch the drama unfold on Thursday.
Two weeks ago, Buccaneers.com invited fans to test their draft-prediction skills in the team's annual Twenty Questions Draft Contest. At the same time, the call went out to all potential draft-night revelers to join the Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on Thursday evening for this year's Official Draft Party Presented by Miller Lite.
Both of those entertaining options remain available to Buccaneer fans, but the time to act is now.
The deadline to enter the Twenty Questions Draft Contest is this Tuesday, April 24, at 11:59 p.m. ET. Click here to go directly to the contest page; even if you've already sent in your set of predictions, you can submit up to five separate entries.
The Twenty Questions contest is easy to enter and features such coveted prizes as Club Seat tickets for 2012 Buccaneers home games and official team merchandise. All you have to do to put yourself in the running is use a series of pull-down lists to predict the answers to 20-draft related questions. After the weekend's action is over and the answers to all of the questions are known, the entrant who made the most correct predictions will be the grand prize winner.
The Twenty Questions Draft Contest has been entertaining Bucs fans and bringing another level of interest to the already-popular offseason event since 2005. If you've never entered in the past, now's the time to throw your hat in the ring and prove you are the team's number-one draftnik. But act fast – the deadline is looming in just over a day.
There is no deadline to choose to attend the 2012 Official Buccaneers Draft Party Presented by Miller Lite, other than the event itself, which begins at 6:30 p.m. ET on Thursday night (parking lots open at 6:00). However, you can join hundreds of your fellow Buccaneers fans by submitting an RSVP for the event on the Buccaneers' Facebook page.
That night, the Buccaneers will make the fifth pick in the first round of the draft, barring a trade down. With a new coaching staff in place under Greg Schiano and an aggressive plan in action to return Tampa Bay to its winning ways, it's quite possible the player the Buccaneers select Thursday night will be a franchise-altering addition. What better way to take in this moment than in the company of hundreds of other Buccaneer fans, in the very stadium the newest Buc will make his mark, and with an evening's worth of entertainment in place to make the occasion memorable?
The Buccaneers' Official Draft Party has become a highly-anticipated event, with thousands of fans gathering in the East Club Lounge at Raymond James Stadium to share their enthusiasm. It's easy to understand why: Admittance to the event is free, the night is filled with exclusive entertainment and autograph opportunities and discounted food and beverage are just the icing on the cake.
You'll find full coverage of the draft on the enormous videoboards inside the East Club Lounge. WDAE 620 AM, the Buccaneers' gameday flagship station, will also be broadcasting live from the event. Select Buccaneer alumni will be on hand to add to the WDAE coverage and sign autographs for fans. The new 2012-13 Tampa Bay Cheerleaders will also be in attendance, greeting fans and signing autographs of their own.
Party sponsor Miller Lite is in on the fun, too. They'll be providing MillerCoors Premium Beer Sampling to attendees who are 21 years or older. Fans will also have a chance to win autographed items at the Miller Lite tent.
Buccaneers.com will also be providing coverage of the event on the Club Lounge videoboards, complete with live check-ins from draft headquarters in New York City. Minutes after the Buccaneers make their first-round selection, Buccaneers.com will provide an exclusive on-scene interview with the team's newest player. If you're following the team's draft on Twitter, it will be particularly easy at the Draft Party, as the live Twitter feed will be displayed on the video walls. Join in the conversation on Twitter using "#bucsdraft."
Again, and as always, the Buccaneers' Official Draft Party Presented by Miller Lite is free and open to all comers. Throw on your Bucs jersey and head down to Raymond James Stadium on Thursday night. The doors to the East Club Lounge (Himes Road Entrance) open at 6:30 p.m. ET. Parking Lots 2 and 4 open at 6:00, if you want to be among the first into the party.
And if you choose to enter the draft contest and attend Thursday night's party, you could see your predictions come true right before your eyes at Raymond James Stadium. Now that would be a reason to party.