Pardon the Interruption - are you ready for some football?
Forgetting the opening game in Pittsburgh, Sunday is when it all kicks off again. Time to boot the family out of the computer room so you can listen to Gene & Hardy on Buc radio calling the game (over/under on Gene's first mistake is the third offensive play), and watching all the other scores unfold on NFL.com.
I don't have Sky on as well when I'm listening to the Bucs so sorry Nick, apologies Kev, but the Bucs come first. And of course I hope they will this season even though I am predicting a 7-9 season for the Pewter Pirates by the time all is said and done.
Which is a hell of a lot less wins than my fantasy team are going to do. Starting with the traditional Week 1 match-up with the two FFL Bowl finalists from last season, Geoff Reader's Hurried Vikings are going down first, followed by everyone else's manky mobs. The Borg might be no more as my boys have been renamed Top Gun. The best of the best. Bring it on guys.
Wedding bells and baby blues
Congratulations this week to Bucs UK member Pete Smith who is getting married on September 9th (with fellow club member Nigel the proud dad), and also to Tony Smith whose wife Kath gave birth to their first child, Grace, last month.
Final week roster cuts
One good indicator on how strong an NFL roster really is, can be obtained as the final cuts are made. All 32 teams released around 20 players each as they reached their 53-man limit for the start of the season. And whereas in previous years, the Bucs would have jumped in to sign some of the other cuts, they didn't pick up a single one this time round.
I remember previous seasons when at least three or four new faces would suddenly arrive in the few days before the first regular season game. And you'd recognise the name and think it was a good signing. Err hello. If they were so good, why were they being cut?
Sometimes of course, it really can be a numbers game and a good player can find himself asking what he has done to deserve this and will wind up doing well in pastures anew. But for the likes of Edell Shepherd for the Texans, and Marquis Cooper in Minnesota, fans of those two teams better not expect too much. Becuase we know why they were released here.
Humble pie eating
Got to admit I was wrong on this one. I had David Boston being released before the final pre-season game. But he not only went all the way through exhibition play, but made the final roster and will probably be the No.3 as the season starts. Bad for me, good for the Bucs.
NFL UK site disappearance
Not that anyone would really have noticed. Apart from Mike Carlson's excellent "Coast to coast" previews, and Nick Halling's Hall of Fame, it's one of the biggest wastes of internet space out there. The message board almost makes the Bucs' own one look normal, as in, it's full of dweebs and muppets.
Our own message board has got pretty lively recently as Lee has taken it on himself to try and insult every Buc fan on the other side of the Atlantic who makes a comment about how great it is that there are Bucs fans in the UK. We really have got to try and get some Panther fans to start posting on our board to really send Lee over the edge.
Just over a week until my own trip to Tampa. It's been four years since I was last there and a lot will have changed in that time, just as it did from 1998 to 2002 on my last excursion. But it will be a chance to meet up with a lot of old friends, and a lot of new ones I've made through this site. I will try not to mention whatever I get up to too much on my return - just the odd 50 columns should be enough!
You've been great - enjoy the Pet Shop Boys and Dusty Springfield
Paul Stewart, September 2006.