August 16, 2004


Our long national nightmare is nearly over. After a delay of a couple days due to Hurricane Charley, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers kick off their 2004-05 campaign tonight with their first preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals. (Hence the football banner at the top of the page.)

I predict much ugliness. The Bengals are a good team. The Bucs are a team still finding themselves.

But no matter. All is well again in Buc Land. Keyshawn is gone. Sapp is gone. Doug Williams is back. The Rich McKay saga has been resolved. Strife is at a minimum. Training camp holdouts like Keenan McCardell are being invited to take a seat until they decide to honor their contracts. My inflatable Buc man is strapped to the front of my house again.

And Gruden is back to being Gruden again.

We went to training camp a couple weeks ago. Stayed in (pre-Hurricane-Charley) Orlando and took in a couple days to see some scrimmages and get some autographs. Even went as far as to hang outside the team hotel in Celebration to meet some of the players. All total, we got about a dozen autographs. Not bad, considering the crowds.


Every one of the players, including second-year quarterback Chris Simms, was unfailingly polite.

It was a weird scene, this crush of fans. One woman reached out to wipe Simms' brow after practice with a t-shirt, like he was a Christ figure or something. Relax, babe, there will be no Shroud of Tampa.


He was also very nice to my Mom while signing this visor for her. Which makes me immediately a fan.


This is defensive end Dewayne White. He spent a lot of time signing for fans, even though most of them didn't know who he was. I was impressed that he didn't even take time to undress in the hot sun before signing.


My son was thrilled to get his autograph. Can't you tell?

Anyway, we're all ecstatic that football has returned. The Lightning Stanley Cup win was tremendous (even saw a Lightning shirt at Bucs training camp for the first time), but football is.. well, football. Hard to beat it in this town.

Unless you're a fan of Keyshawn or Sapp.


These jerseys just happened to be on sale Sunday when I went to buy my wife a Simeon Rice jersey at Sports Authority. That price is a markdown from about $65, by the way.


These shirts for the King of the Bunny Hop also were plentiful.

Posted by Jeff at August 16, 2004 08:25 AM

Hey! Like the site! Hey, as a Tampa Bay blogger, you're invited to the Tampa Bay Blog Fest we're having at Channelside:

Hope you can make it!

Posted by: Sarah at August 17, 2004 10:24 PM