On the verge of the 2004 season
So how are the Bucs going to do this season? It's probably terrible to admit but I really don't know and still haven't got over my "well at least we won the Super Bowl" hangover. I am with Ian Beckles on this one in saying that I don't see the 2004 Bucs as a playoff-dominant team, but I don't see them falling down the toilet to four or five wins as some "experts" seem to think.

The free agent signings that the Bucs made this off-season were sensible ones - no big money arrivals (see no cap space), but experienced veterans who have been round the block once or twice (or about ten times if you're talking about Tim Brown). But this is the same philosophy that the Patriots used after their Super Bowl-hangover and it led them back to the big game.

But for this weekend against the Redskins? I just want to see us play like the old Bucs on Sky this Sunday. All the focus has been on Joe Gibbs' return to the NFL but a lot has changed since he retired from coaching. The salary cap, free agency, the forward pass, Astroturf - can he adjust? If he can, let it start week 2.

What you can expect is to see "former Buccaneer fullback" Cecil Martin in the new revamped Sky studio giving us all insights into his one game on special teams as a Buccaneer during last season.

Stand by this season to hear about Lawrence Tynes every single time you turn on Channel 5 or Sky Sports. Lawrence who? This guy has beaten out Morten Andersen for the Chiefs' kicking job this season, allegedly by stealing Andersen's Zimmer frame but supposedly because Kansas City couldn't get cap relief on players over the age of 60.

But Tynes once played in NFL Europe and also apparently was born in Scotland. Seeing how the likes of Rab C Colvin and Poison Dwarf Saunders climb up the arse of any NFL player who mother once drove down the M74 past Dumfries, you can expect to get this guy rammed down your television set throughout the season. Remember, this is why NFL owners chuck millions of the dollars down the tube at NFL Europe these days.

Talking of British-born players, how about making American Football an Olympic sport? Apart from giving Martin Dodds an excuse to send all the other Fantasy League owners 40 pictures of himself in Athens, can you just imagine the UK taking on the USA at gridiron? What do you mean it would be a mis-match? We've got Lawrence (first name terms now), Rob Hart, that guy from the Patriots' practice squad and Dwain Chambers said he was going to play in the NFL too. So if it that ridiculous an idea, how come NFL UK haven't put out a press release about it - they do for all the other moronic suggestions.

Apart from that, please all look to Mecca and pray for the health of Michael Vick five times a day. Seeing as he is the only starting QB I have left on my fantasy team (when Quincy Carter was told to toe the line, he thought they said sniff it), it's the Atlanta wunderkind or bust for the four-time champion Borg franchise. Still it could be worse - I could have had Rickey Williams (quick pop quiz for Dolphin fans - who holds the longest run in Miami franchise history? Rickey - about 7,000 miles from the NFL drug testers). Enjoy the season.

September 2004