Posted by Kate on Feb 16,2015. No Comments
In the first part of PewterReport.com’s exclusive interview with Bucs fan extraordinaire Nick Carter of the mega-popular Backstreet Boys band, he revealed how his halftime performances at Houlihan’s Stadium gave him the confidence he needed to propel his singing and dancing career and how he became a fan of the Pewter Pirates. In the conclusion, Carter discusses his fondness of Tampa Bay quarterbacks with PewterReport.com’s Scott Reynolds, how the team finally needs a franchise QB, who he would draft with the Bucs’ first overall pick and what 2015 has in store for the Backstreet Boys and his career.
Having moved to the Tampa Bay area from Buffalo, New York as an elementary school kid, Carter switched allegiances from the Bills to the orange-clad Buccaneers and his first favorite players were unlikely suspects.
“I grew up with the Bucs in the Tony Dungy era, but it really started with Steve DeBerg,” Carter said. “He was my first favorite player when I was really, really young, and then they changed to red and pewter under Dungy. It was funny because my real favorite player became Trent Dilfer. I really liked Trent and he and I kind of became friends. I would go hang out with him at his house in Harbour Island.
“I felt a great deal of loyalty to him when he won the Super Bowl in Tampa [with Baltimore] of all places. It was fitting because I was turning 21 years old during the Super Bowl and we sung the National Anthem in Tampa. It was a win-win-win for me, especially when Trent won the Super Bowl. But it sucked because I wanted him to do it with the Buccaneers. There was always that quarterback thing in Tampa. It was like the ‘Curse of the Bambino’ with us and quarterbacks. It never seems to come together for the Bucs.”
Carter, who has over 500,000 followers on Twitter, often takes to that social media platform to talk Bucs football during the fall. Watching the team go 2-14 last season was incredibly difficult for Tampa Bay’s most passionate celebrity fan.
On December 21 as the Buccaneers got throttled by the visiting Green Bay Packers, 20-3, Carter took to Twitter to rant about the loss. Tampa Bay quarterback Josh McCown completed just 12-of-26 passes for 147 yards with no touchdowns and one interception, while being sacked a season-high seven times by the relentless Green Bay defense. Carter spoke for the hundreds of thousands of Bucs fans everywhere and implored the Glazers to draft a quarterback.
With the number one pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, Tampa Bay has the prime opportunity to select a premier passer to lead the franchise. After watching Florida State battle Oregon in the Rose Bowl on January 1, Carter’s mind was made up. He knows which signal caller head coach Lovie Smith and general manager Jason Licht should draft on April 30.
“Jameis Winston reminds me so much of Ben Roethlisberger or Steve McNair,” Carter said. “You want that kind of guy running your offense, but then you hear about the character issues. I’m the kind of guy that is sympathetic to character issues because I’ve had a lot of those in my past. I feel like I’ve overcome a lot of things in my life and have turned out to be a better person because of some of the things I’ve gone through. Call it immaturity. Call it growing up. I would hate to see the Bucs pass up the opportunity to get someone who could turn the franchise around. I would pick Jameis Winston.”
Carter’s candid answer about Winston’s character issues is a tribute to him putting his own hard-partying days and struggles with alcohol and substance abuse behind him. While Winston doesn’t have the reputation for being a partyer like Cleveland’s Johnny Manziel, he does have his own well-documented issues at Florida State that the Bucs and other NFL teams will have to sort through in personal interviews prior to the 2015 NFL Draft.
“If there is anybody in the world that could help Jameis Winston, it is Lovie Smith,” Carter said. “There is an appreciation for a coach that demands respect like Lovie commands. With all of the things that he offers as a coach, I really think the Bucs should draft Jameis Winston. When I watch him command the huddle and command the offense, there is a presence on the field that reminds me of John Elway and other great players like that.”
Aside from watching the Rose Bowl Carter got some of his intel on Winston by reading PewterReport.com.
“I follow you guys all the time,” Carter said. “I think you guys get the best information. That’s why I visit, but it was hard for me back in the 1990s or even the early 2000s for me to stay up with the Bucs, especially when I was on tour. I had to get updates from Sportscenter when it was on. There wasn’t easy access from the road to NFL.com, Buccaneers.com or PewterReport.com. Now, I don’t miss a game or any news with mobile technology. I could be in Japan and log on and watch the games.”
There have been times when Carter is on a solo tour or with the Backstreet Boys and will be in concert during a Bucs game, which is tough – especially if Tampa Bay is losing. Carter is such a huge fan that he makes sure he gets score updates during his show.
“I’ll be on stage performing and in the middle of our performance I’ll go down under the stage for a quick [wardrobe] change and my bodyguards will be there. I’ll say, ‘What’s the score [of the Bucs game]?’ They’ll say, ‘They’re down 20-10’ and I’ll say, ‘Aw [expletive]!’ That will mess my whole show up!”
Carter’s busy schedule as a singer and a film director prevents him from seeing the Bucs in person these days as he and his wife, Lauren Kitt, live in California. After years of dating, Carter and Kitt married last April and he has successfully converted her into becoming a Tampa Bay fan.
“My wife has become a default Bucs fan,” Carter said. “I started dating her when Jeff Garcia took over, so we had a couple of good games we’ve been to, but it’s been a long, dry run since that.”
Carter and his wife were able to fly to Tampa to see the Buccaneers lose to the Bengals in heartbreaking fashion last year, 14-13, on November 30.
“We had just gotten off tour with the boys and we decided to do something fun, so we chartered a private plane and went to the Bengals and Bucs game. We lost at the last second. It sucked. I had not been to a Buccaneers game in a long time [prior to that].”
Despite the loss and the 2-14 record, Carter – like most Bucs fans – remains optimistic that Smith and Licht will turn the franchise around beginning in 2015.
“In the long run I see the steps and I’m okay with that,” Carter said. “I know the steps are being taken to get this team back to the playoffs. I know the defense is going to be good. I’m comfortable with the growth stage as long as they figure out a way to grow and sustain a dynasty. That’s all I care about it. At the end of the day, I’m sick and tired of seeing a team like the New England Patriots go on forever because they have a smart coaching staff and great personnel people. They do great business. Why can’t we have that as well?”
One step in the right direction for Carter was the updated logo and uniforms the Bucs unveiled in 2014. The youngest member of the Backstreet Boys has grown quite fond of them.
“I like the Bucs new uniforms,” Carter said. “Change is always a little uncomfortable. It took a while for some people to get used to them, and I like the fact that they threw a little orange in there and have the orange socks, too. I love that because I’ve been a fan since the creamsicle days. I like the new uniforms and I’m going to commit to them.”
One of the reasons why Carter wants to see his beloved Buccaneers rise to prominence once again is that they will be tougher to beat in the EA Sports Madden game. Carter’s loyalty to Tampa Bay extends into the video game arena.
“I’m a big-time gamer,” Carter said. “I play Madden and I’m only the Buccaneers when I play, which sucks. There are only a certain amount of plays you can do on people [with Tampa Bay] and I’m getting beat half the time. I feel like whenever I play Madden with the Bucs I constantly have to do short plays because I can’t do any bombs [due to the poor offensive line].”
What about football in real life? Which members of the Backstreet Boys would make the best football players?
“Kevin used to play football,” Carter said. “He was a kicker and a linebacker when he was a kid. Brian would be a good little Warrick Dunn-like running back. You could throw me in there and I could be a linebacker or a quarterback if I worked hard enough at it.”
With the Backstreet Boys having toured the world together with New Kids On The Block from 2011-12 on the NKOTBSB tour, the hugely successful boy bands became close friends. When asked which band would prevail in a game of pick-up football in the backyard, the athletic Carter sided with the Backstreet Boys to no surprise.
“Definitely us!” Carter said. “No disrespect to those guys, but I tried to challenge them on tour. We were on tour and I can’t begin to tell you how many times I invited them to even go play basketball and they were saying, ‘Oh, I can’t. My knees hurt.’ I don’t care. I still play sports. I’ll never turn down the challenge.
“I’m 35. I’m the youngest – it’s true. But I don’t care. When I’m 45 I’ll still be playing basketball and playing sports. If anyone comes to our concerts they see what we do. We still do two and a half hour concerts and we’re still dancing pretty much the whole time.”
Carter, who has his own website at NickCarter.net, toured with New Kids On The Block singer Jordan Knight as Nick & Knight last fall after producing an album together. Carter and the Backstreet Boys just celebrated the release of their new documentary “Backstreet Boys: Show ‘Em What You’re Made Of,” which is available on iTunes on January 29, and he is extremely proud of the film.
“It’s the story of our lives – how we started and where we came from,” Carter said. “All the things we’ve gone through with horrible managers … it’s just a real, gritty look into how things operate in the business from our perspective and it’s real interesting because it’s a side of the Backstreet Boys that nobody has ever seen before. It’s a great movie and it’s No. 1 on iTunes, No. 1 internationally and it’s the No. 1 documentary right now. It’s doing really well.
“I’m currently recording a solo record as well. That’s on the radar, and I’m working on a movie right now called ‘Dead West.’ It’s a zombie western horror movie. I’m working on that right now and we’ll probably start filming in August. We’re getting the cast together right now.”
And long-time fans of Carter will be happy to know that there is plenty more in store from the Backstreet Boys in the near future.
“The Backstreet Boys just signed a Live Nation deal with 150 shows,” Carter said. “For the next three years we’re going to be touring. At the end of the year we’re going to be writing another record and it’s going to be a new Backstreet Boys album.”
While on tour you can bet that Carter will be keeping a close eye on his beloved Buccaneers online and attending games at Raymond James Stadium as often as he can. That’s what larger than life Bucs fans like Carter do.