Pardon the Interruption - Week 5
Hello again boys and girls and welcome to another edition of PTI. OK, so I'm getting more like Tony Kornheiser each week apart from the fact that he's bald, a hell of lot older and a lot funnier than I am. But what the hell - on with this week's rant.

4-0 and all that jazz
I did enjoy Woody Paige tipping every undefeated team to lose on "Around the Horn" last Friday. OK, so we were lucky as hell to get away with a win, but a win is a win. We did everything we could to lose that game but didn't and the mark of a good team is to win when playing badly. It so reminds me of 1997 when the Bucs beat Miami to go 4-0 in an emotional roller-coaster of a night in Tampa - the following week, the Bucs somehow scraped a 19-18 win over a terrible Arizona team (some things never change) in similar vein to our win over Detroit. That season ended in the play-offs just as our other 5-0 mark did in 1979.

Ronde's terrible debut
Everyone now accepts that Ronde Barber is one of the best corners in franchise history, but that game against Arizona is one he'd love to forget. It was the only time he was active during the 1997 regular season due to injuries to players ahead of him, and he was lit up by Rob Moore for over 11 receptions and over 160 yards. I remember discussing how he was a total 3rd round bust with a current Tampa sportswriter at the time and both of us were stunned and pleasantly surprised when he turned it around.

News of the World exclusive
Even the "News of the Screws" got in on the NFL act last week with their "exclusive" story that Malcolm Glazer was about to announce the Bucs would play an NFL regular season game at Wembley next season. It's so pathetic, it's almost funny. Apart from the fact that it would the NFL who would arrange it and not the individual team owner, no-one has spoken to anyone in the Buc front office about it at all, and that it's never ever going to happen, it was quite a good story. Not. The only thing it did cause was the last four remaining anti-Glazer/United/Bucs people to immediately begin arranging a protest in their Nissan Micra outside Wembley Stadium.

And also on the same wavelength
A friend told me to check out the NFL UK's website and in particular their message board. The only thing missing were Frodo and Gandalf as there were enough trolls there to last a lifetime. We were looking at their comments on Sky's NFL schedule and irrespective of the intentions to show all 32 teams and the best game wherever possible during their 17-week double-headers, every muppet on this site had their own team's agenda ahead of everything else. It was simply staggering how blinkered some of these people are. Then again, all but a handful of them were the 18-21 year-old nerds who have zero chance ever of pulling a girlfriend and hence attach themselves to American Football in the vain hope of being cool.

Good old Gene
One of the great delights in listening to Buc games on a Sunday night, is Gene Deckerhoff. He's been doing the Buc radio commentaries since the late 1980s (and I'll tip my hat to anyone who can remember who preceeded him). But Gene has this one slight problem - he gets every player's name wrong. Cadillac is Pittman, Pittman is Cadillac, Alstott is Warren Sapp, that sort of thing. Allegedly during the SuperBowl, he called one of the interception TDs totally wrong until Scot Brantley pointed it out 20 seconds after the play was over. But we love him all the same. But Gene please, get one new phrase - every time a player loses yardage on a run, does he always have to be "mugged and mauled in the backfield and dropped for a loss"?

And to wrap up
Which is what you were probably hoping 400 words ago but still. Kudos to Lee Bromfield for finally getting his first win in the fantasy league - now try and beat someone decent instead of the Tesco Truckers. Kudos also to "Offensive Genius" Brian Billick - it's the first time I've ever fallen asleep during a game but your boys managed it against the Jets last week - at least they had an excuse. And kudos finally to that replay official last Sunday. I've watched that play a bunch of times too and I still can't see why you overturned the touchdown call on the field - but you did so thank you.

October 2005