The playing field at Raymond James Stadium is still 120 yards long and 53 yards wide, just as it's always been. Nevertheless, Tampa Bay Buccaneer players are going to have a lot more room to operate in 2017, and for years to come.
The Buccaneers can't change the dimensions of the field, but they can expand another area that is very important to players on game day: the locker room. And that's exactly what is happening during Phase 3 of the ongoing $150 million renovations to the Buccaneers' home. This fall, players will move into a brand new and far superior home locker room at Raymond James Stadium, where they will find much more room to operate.
Renderings of this year's enhancements to Raymond James Stadium.
The new locker room, currently under construction, will be located across the ground-level corridor from where the current locker rooms are on the west side of the stadium. The Buccaneers' game day accommodations have been a bit tight for the last 19 seasons, but that will no longer be an issue. The new locker room will cover 18,700 square feet, nearly triple the size of the old one.
"I think the players and coaches will be very excited by this," said Buccaneers Head Coach Dirk Koetter. "We were cramped on game day. The players get there way, way before kickoff. They like to stretch, they like to move around, they like to relax in the locker room before the game."
While many of the projects encompassed by the multi-year renovations to Raymond James Stadium are designed at providing the NFL's best game day experience for fans, the new home locker room is a functional upgrade that will help the team compete on the field.
"In the old locker room, being able to see the whole team before the game and to talk to them was difficult," said Koetter. "The same was true at halftime, when we break down by offense, by defense, by position. Our old locker room was not conducive to making halftime adjustments. This is going to make this a much smoother and much more efficient process."
Pictures of Bucs Chief Operating Officer Brian Ford's press conference and the current state of renovations at Raymond James Stadium.
A larger locker room space will provide players with more comfort and functionality before, during and after games. The enormous new locker room will also have ample space for the training and medical staff, as well as coaches and equipment personnel. The space will include 74 player lockers, specific coach facilities and a new postgame interview room.
"I think it's extremely important for the players to be comfortable," said Koetter. "Everything you do all week is building up to exploding at a one o'clock or four o'clock kickoff. This is important just for the ability to spread out and be comfortable from a temperature and a space standpoint for warm-ups.
"This is something that was much needed. Not only are we upgrading, but from the renderings I've seen we're majorly upgrading."