© St. Petersburg Times, published February 3, 2002
One of four Rams who played for the Bucs last year, defensive tackle Tyoka Jackson never was the type to mince words. Here he is on Mike Tyson, Tony Dungy, the Axis of Evil, warring teammates, the IRS and the Bucs curse: RM: Why is it always a bowl, why not the Super Cup or the Rose Dish?
TJ: You know I never thought about that. But I tell you what, they need to call it a bowl because all the gifts you get can't fit in a cup and will be hard to carry in a dish. You need a big bowl to take them home.
RM: Tell the truth, were you ignored on media day?
TJ: I wasn't ignored. Thank God, it would have hurt my ego. I thought that there wouldn't have been too many people coming around but more people wanted to talk to me than I thought, so it was all cool.
RM: The winning team MVP in the Super Bowl gets to go to Disney World, where does the losing team MVP go?
TJ: The losers go back home. It's the last place you want to be, sitting at home by yourself, but that's where you have to go.
RM: Maybe the folks at Busch Gardens should make a pitch for the losers?
TJ: I don't think they want to get cursed out at the end of the game. They know.
RM: Where are you going if you win?
TJ: Vegas. That's where the fight is going to be.
RM: If you were a member of the Nevada Boxing Commission, would you have given Mike Tyson his license back?
TJ: If I was on the commission and being true to my convictions, true to the rules and ethics that I believe in, probably not. But I bet the chamber of commerce is wishing that they did. If I worked for the chamber of commerce, I probably would have reinstated him.
RM: Mike's got some issues.
TJ: He's a very, very challenged man upstairs. No doubt. Now, he's a hell of a fighter, but he's got a lot of layers to him. There are times when he seems to be a nice guy and then there are times when you see underneath the other layers, and it's layers I don't want to see.
RM: Tony Dungy.
TJ: A soft-spoken man who has a very competitive interior. He got a raw deal but he'll bounce back.
RM: Were there chemistry issues in the locker room during your years with the Bucs?
TJ: It never got as bad as I heard it got this year, but in the years before that you could see a slow deterioration in the locker room.
RM: Now, the bad will between Chidi Ahanotu and Warren Sapp is well-documented; were you ever in the middle of the mess?
TJ: Right, smack bang in the middle.
RM: And the "exchange" before the Green Bay game last year?
TJ: Right in the middle of it. All I could think about was that I didn't want this thing to go down because we were on our way to the playoffs and trying to lock up the division title. I always felt that two grown men should able to do whatever they want to do and I normally wouldn't have stepped in the middle of it. But, I just felt like I couldn't let it happen. I broke it up.
RM: Those are two titans, you could have been the victim of some collateral damage.
TJ: Oh no. Believe me, if I had gotten hit, it would have been a three-way fight. It would have been on.
RM: New Orleans has so many beautiful women, why is there a need for female impersonators?
TJ: Somewhere out there, someone is attracted to female impersonators. That has to be the reason. There's a supply, so there's got to be a demand.
RM: President George Bush says we have to do something about the "Axis of Evil; Iran, Iraq and North Korea." What would you suggest?
TJ: I would send them a whole bunch of Limburger cheese and crates and crates of Ex-Lax. If we do that, I don't think we would have any more problems with those guys. That would straighten them all out, believe me.
RM: Considering we're in the city of voodoo, whose voodoo doll would you like to have and where would you stick the needle?
TJ: Man, there are so many, where would I start? I probably would start with whoever is running the IRS and I would poke the needle in his hands so he could stop reaching in my pocket and taking out all those taxes.
RM: If you have a web page, what's your call name?
RM: And the links?
TJ: Hershey's chocolates ... you see where I'm going with that?
RM: Do you buy into the theory that good things, like a Super Bowl appearance, are destined for players who leave the Bucs franchise?
TJ: Normally, I would not buy into that kind of stuff because I'm not superstitious. But, I've got to tell you, it seems to be happening. Maybe it's time for people to look at that. It's a long track record. It's been going on for years. I'm going to have to study that thing. Look, Chidi, Don (Davis) and Yo (Murphy) and I, here we are in the Super Bowl. Look at (Trent) Dilfer last year. There might be something (to) that.
RM: What advice would you have for some of your friends still playing for the Bucs?
TJ: (laughing) No comment.
RM: Which New Orleans drink is your favorite, the Hurricane or the Grenade?
TJ: I don't drink, so I couldn't tell you.
RM: Never drink?
TJ: I think the last time I tasted alcohol was back in college and I was just tasting it. I've never even had a whole beer. It burns, man. If it tasted good I would be the biggest drinker in the world. But it's nasty, so what's the point? And I have fun without it.