In the words of the late George Carlin
One of the men I admired a great deal while growing up was comedian George Carlin. Carlin’s courageous and irreverent wit spoke to multiple generations of Americans that shared his different view of society. His recent passing was very depressing news to a lot of fans that spent a good deal of their childhoods trying to be the best class clown they could in an attempt to follow in Carlin’s steps.

If you have never heard Carlin’s point-by-point comparison of football vs. baseball, you really should look it up on You Tube. I would argue that you’ll never look at those two sports in quite the same light again. Carlin’s most infamous routine was the Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television. This routine involved seven rather vulgar words and led to a Supreme Court decision on what could and could not be broadcast over the air in the United States.

It was remembering that routine that was the impetus for me to brainstorm seven words that would make any Buccaneer fan cringe. I thought about this for a little while and realized that it is not so much words, but names that could do the trick. Perusing the rosters on Bucpower.com and looking at the game recaps, I culled certain names from Buccaneer history that set me to anger/despair/frustration at their mere presence!

To steal shamelessly from Carlin, there might very well be 400,000 names associated with the history of the Buccaneers. Be they the names of players, coaches, referees, opponents, newscasters or even late night stand up comics, the names that have impacted the Bucs in one way or another are many. Of those roughly 400,000 I believe that there are seven that you can never say near a Bucs fan. That’s seven out of 400,000! To quote Carlin:

“Think of the ratio! 399,993 to 7!”

“Those names must really be bad!”

“They’d have to be outrageous to be on a list like this!”

Here then are the names that in my humble opinion are the “Seven Names You Can Never Say Near Buc Fans:” Culverhouse, Carollo, Markbreit, Harper, Reese, Bennett and Manley. To continue my outright theft from the late, great Carlin, “Those are the seven that will grow hair on you knuckles, curve your spine and cause the Rams to the win the Super Bowl!” Culverhouse, Carollo, Markbreit, Harper, Reese, Bennett and Manley. YEEESH.

Here is a breakdown of why they are on my list.

1. Hugh Culverhouse: The man that figured out it didn’t matter how bad the product on the field was because the NFL’s television money would always flow in and leave his books in the black. How many good football men (McKay, Williams, Selmon, Cannon, Wilder, Carrier, Hall etc.) had to suffer because of this skinflint? Factor in what came out after his death about the way he treated his wife and family, and old Hugh ought to be on this list seven times!

2. (TIE) Bill Carollo/Jerry Markbreit: The on-field official and replay official in the 2000 NFC Championship Game that combined to overturn Bert Emanuel’s catch (notice how I didn’t write “apparent catch”) in the final minutes of an agonizing 11-6 loss to St. Louis. The fact that the NFL ruled that the catch should not have been overturned and changed a rule months later did absolutely nothing to prevent me from wishing a pox on both these men’s houses.

3. Alvin Harper: Quick, what do Alvin Harper and a cigar store Indian have in common? Pass-catching ability and personality! One of the worst free agent signings in NFL history.

4. Booker Reese: I always felt a little bad for Reese. It wasn’t his idea to trade away a number one draft choice to pick him in the second round! All I know is that he wasn’t worth a first and second round draft choice (especially when that first round choice turned out to be Willie Gault) and Andre Tippett was drafted just a few slots behind Reese in 1982.

5. Leeman Bennett: I don’t like putting Bennett on this list because he is a class-act and a very nice man. However, his record of 4-28 during the 1985 and 1986 seasons still cause many a Buc fan to sit bolt upright in bed at night.

6. Dexter Manley: Signing this man may have been the moment when the Buccaneers truly hit rock bottom. When a team brings in a know drug abuser to provide “leadership” in the locker room, you know things are not right. After a handful of games, Manley went into the tank and was out the door.

Of course this list is just my own. You may have seven completely different names form Bucs history that cause you to reach for the Pepto-Bismol. Rest in peace George, you provided a great deal of comic relief for a lot of us. The Bucs eventually stopped being funny, you never did.

Denis Crawford, June 2008