Beginning the long off-season
Although the most important game of the 2010 NFL season takes place over the next three weeks until the deadline for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement is reached. Sorry owners but if you want my support, you are going need to prove you are losing money. Otherwise you sound as bad as the baseball moguls did back in 1994.

It is not good claiming you are losing money and then refusing to show the books. Or only showing them once they have been, ahem, audited to show the right picture.

There will need to be concessions on both sides but a long-term agreement, a rookie salary cap and a new rule banning Jerry Jones and Arthur Blank from the sidelines forever would be one I would happily support.

The Pro Bowl
Or "Dancing with celebrities in pads" as Denis Crawford once so eloquently described it. I had to admire Neil Reynolds for going off sick instead of presenting the coverage of the game for Sky Sports this year. The only interesting part about the coverage was listening in to the playcalls from the sideline.

But to say the game was devalued by a lack of player interest was an under-statement. This was summed up the Jacksonville Jaguars activating two offensive linemen from their practice squad to help fill out roster spots on the AFC team.

The importance of being Jermaine
Jermaine Phillips' arrest for alleged spousal battery raised an interesting point about the support teams give players in such legal difficulties. If the said player is an important part of the roster, then all the quotes about "allowing the legal process to take its due course" and "support for our player in this difficult time" come out.

And then you have a situation like the Bucs did at the end of October when back-up offensive lineman Marcus Johnson was arrested on a DUI charge and was summarily released the next day as the Bucs made a statement about following the moral high ground. Anyone would think it depended on the player's status on the team or something ....

Super Bowl half-time entertainment
OK enough of these geriatric presenters - Springsteen OK, Paul McCartney marginal, the Who - embarrassing. There must be a middle ground between the old age pensioner brigade and the chances of Janet Jackson getting her tits out again. A combination of Altered Images, Lady Gaga and Westlife would go down well in my house even if I won't divulge which of the trio is favoured by whom.

Super Bowl gutsy play calls
Can we just lay off this "Sean Payton for Canton" sentiment in the gridiron press for a time please? Yes the onside kick call was a bold and daring move but the same writers who are lauding Payton are the same ones who castigated him mercilessly for calling a reverse in the 2007 game in New Orleans when the Saints were trying to run the clock out against the Bucs. So it's a gutsy call if it works, ah OK, so now I get it.

Message Board muppet alert
"Trade down" is the cry from posters. "Trade down for multiple picks and then take Joe Blow and John Doe". This isn't Madden boys and girls. To trade down, you need to find a team with the relevant picks wanting to trade up. And who have the legitimate case for doing so.

Message Board muppet alert Part 2
Most of whom seem to post inane comments the minute Roy, Anwar, Ira, Joe or any of the other Tribune writers post something on-line. Guys, you're getting boring with your childish insults now. If you don't want to support the Bucs, then clear off and annoy another team's fans instead. The Glazers own the Bucs, you don't. Deal with it.

But even I have to laugh at the "sign two or three decent free agents and the Bucs can contend" type comments. Like who? There just are not the quality free agents out there as the feature we ran on BUCPOWER showed. If you want to upgrade the Tampa Bay offensive line, your choices are Kevin Mawae (old enough to be in the Who), Chad Clifton (still recovering from the hit Sapp gave him in 2002 when he was dogging it on a play) and Stephen Neal (about to retire).

Again this isn't Madden. Just because Vince Wilfork might be available, does not mean that he automatically wants to play in Tampa, and that 30 other NFL teams might not have realised that he would be an addition to their roster.

So simply slagging off the owners, front office, writers and the guy who cuts the grass outside One Buc Place just because the 2010 Buccaneer don't sign every potential free agent on the market is not intelligent. And it actually becomes pretty boring it after a while too.

Paul Stewart,, February 2010