The amount of space in coach on a flight can make an average person feel a bit squeezed. Now imagine being a 6-foot-2, 245 pound NFL player.
As you can imagine, the privilege of sitting in first class during an NFL charter flight can be a very valuable and highly sought-after perk.
While it may be easy to assume that a team’s veteran players, star players, or even coaches might get first dibs on first class, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers do something different.
In a behind-the-scenes look at how the Bucs equipment staff manages to pack up an entire team for a road trip, head coach Lovie Smith revealed to Jan Crawford of CBS News that he lets offensive and defensive linemen sit in first class.
“It all starts up front, on both sides of the ball, everything we do says that, but you want to acknowledge it with this also,” Smith told CBS. “Sitting up in first class lets them know that they’re, you know, first class guys.”
The travelling party for an NFL team is about 180 people, so there is not a lot of extra space that can be generated on a typical Boeing 767 that has a normal seating capacity of about 250 people.
For comparison, on a typical charter for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team, each player gets an entire row of three seats all to himself and those guys are not nearly as big as most NFL players.
The Bucs list 16 offensive and defensive linemen on their roster and those players have an average size of 6-4, 296 pounds. Being able to sit in first class sends a nice message but it also just seems like the smart thing to do.
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