The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have flown over Nevada to get to a game, but they've never landed in the 36th state as a team. That will change on Saturday when the Buccaneers fly to Las Vegas ahead of their Sunday night matchup with the Raiders at Allegiant Stadium.
Of course, no NFL team had played a regular-season game in Nevada until the Raiders relocated from Oakland to Las Vegas this year and moved into their brand-new stadium. The first regular-season NFL game in the state occurred on September 21 when the Raiders played host to the New Orleans Saints and came away with a 34-24 victory. Two weeks later, the Buffalo Bills became the first visiting team to get a win in Las Vegas, downing the Raiders by a 30-23 score.
Now the Buccaneers will become the third visiting team to play in Nevada, and it marks the first time they have visited a new state for some football in nearly two decades. That doesn't count the two games Tampa Bay played in London, in 2009 and 2019.
The last time the Bucs collectively breathed the air of a state for the first time was in 2001, when they went to Nashville to play the Titans at what was then known as the Adelphia Coliseum. Tampa Bay got to overtime in that game but eventually lost, 31-28. The Titans had moved to Tennessee from Houston in 1997 and then changed their nickname from the Oilers two years later.
Prior to that, the Buccaneers had broken ground, so to speak, in North Carolina in 1996 and South Carolina in 1995. Both were against the fledgling Carolina Panthers, who played their home games on the Clemson campus in their inaugural season before moving into what was then known as Ericcson Stadium in Charlotte the next year.
Overall, Nevada will be the 24th U.S. state in which the Buccaneers have played a regular-season game. If one were to include preseason games, then the Bucs would have hit exactly half of the states in the union because they played a game on the University of Oklahoma campus in the summer of 1998.
Allegiant Stadium will be the 64th different stadium in which the Buccaneers have played a regular-season game, and the first one they have visited for the first time since 2017. That season, the Bucs got their first look at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis and Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Tampa Bay has actually got to visit quite a few new or relatively new stadiums in recent years, hitting the 49ers' Levi's Stadium in 2016, the Colts' Lucas Oil Stadium in 2015 and both MetLife Stadium in New Jersey (the Giants) and Cowboys Stadium in Dallas in 2012.
Wide receiver Chris Godwin was a rookie when the Bucs played in those new venues in Minneapolis and Atlanta in 2017, and he enjoyed both experiences. He's looking forward to another first-time visit to a new NFL stadium.
"That's definitely something that I'm aware of," said Godwin. "I think any time you're able to play in a new stadium there's a little bit of an allure to it because it's new. I thought Minnesota's was really nice. I thought all of the ones we played at were really cool. Seeing the stadium in Vegas a couple times already, just watching them on TV, it looks like it's really nice. I'm excited to go out there and play. I wish that we could be in a situation where they have full capacity. I'm sure that will be really rocking when they get full fans in there. But nonetheless I'm happy to go there."
Tampa Bay's 34-17 win at Levi's Stadium in 2016 came at the sixth different stadium in California which the team has played a regular-season game. That is the highest number of different locations to which the Bucs have traveled in any state. They've played at five different stadiums in Florida, including two of their own.