© St. Petersburg Times, published January 6, 2002
Performance should dictate selections
I was surprised to read of the Bucs players selected to the Pro Bowl. I agree with Ronde Barber and John Lynch. They are definitely deserving. But I feel it diminishes the importance of Ronde's and John's selections to have Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks listed also. Though they have been good players over the years, this season they have not been impact players like Ronde and John. Too many people who vote have their judgment clouded by past success and not the current.
-- Barbara Friend, Clearwater
I can't agree with Rick Stroud's remark that (tonight's) game with Philadelphia will have no bearing on either team. Winning is absolutely necessary to establish momentum in the playoffs, pride in your efforts, and working together as a team. All of these factors are necessary for any team to make it to the Super Bowl. To think you don't have to win is a basic weakness of losers. In professional football, winning is everything. Just ask the coaches.
-- Victor Wood, Indian Rocks Beach
How soon we forget. Since Sept. 11, athletic events have been endearing us with a wonderful variety of national anthem and God Bless America performances. Until now. ABC chose not to interrupt one of several interviews with nameless players rather than broadcast one note of our anthem at Saturday night's Bucs-Baltimore game. And the commentator had the audacity to say they were not going to "interrupt for the national anthem."
Shame on the NFL, the ABC network, WFTS, the Bucs and the producer who made that call.
-- Byron Koehn, St. Petersburg
Donovan McNabb won't play much more than the first quarter, although he might have more incentive. ... He can earn a $1-million bonus if he finishes in the top five in the league in touchdown passes, and he's sixth. Is $1-million worth the risk of the wrath of an angry Tampa Bay defense? Tough call? Not really. Take the dough.
-- Pete Prisco, CBS Sportsline.com
There is an old adage that holds that no matter how many high-tech offensive systems or gimmick defensive schemes emerge during the course of a season, there really never is anything completely new in the NFL universe.
But this weekend that old saying will be challenged as the Eagles and Buccaneers face off in one of the most meaningless games in recent history. In the strictest sense, the contest represents a playoff preview, since the franchises will meet again Jan. 12 or 13 in Veterans Stadium for a wild-card matchup.
That playoff game -- the teams, the site, the significance -- is immutable. And no matter what transpires Sunday, it will have no bearing on their pending playoff encounter, save maybe for providing the respective coaching staffs some new but minute information on an old foe.
Which raises the question: Should both teams simply take a knee for the first three snaps of every offensive possession and then just punt?
-- Len Pasquarelli, ESPN.com