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Letters to the Editors

The hiring of Gruden gets mixed reviews


© St. Petersburg Times
published February 24, 2002

Finally, after all the buffoonery in looking for a new coach, the Glazers came up with the guy they really wanted. I believe that Bucs fans will be completely re-energized with his operations as opposed to (Tony) Dungy.

From his news conference, it's very plain that he is, as we all knew if we saw a Raiders game, a very intense, insightful coach who will not put up with any loafing on the part of any of his players and will continually inspire them to play their best, or be gone. Just what the Bucs have needed.
-- Jim Wright, Clearwater

Each and every shrill, loud-mouthed, self-aggrandized newspaper writer and radio and television broadcaster who have castigated the Glazer family unmercifully during recent weeks owe apologies and admissions of ignorance. When the Glazers chose not to do their negotiating in the media, local talk-show mouths threw tantrums on the air. Ad hominem attacks were made on the Glazers. Radio hacks especially acted as childlike cheerleaders for so-called "fans" to attack Glazers.

One of the wannabe insiders on a radio station announced proudly to his faithful following, "We did it, we stayed on the Glazers until they relented, they heard our voice!" The obnoxious nitwit tried to spin the Glazers' actions to make it seem that the talk-show host and his "fans" forced the deal.

All who ranted and raved against the Glazers in this time, apologize, eat crow, go to the corner, sit down and hush.
-- Bob Jackson, Crystal Beach

Dump Tony Dungy, sacrifice two first- and two second-round draft picks, and spend $8-million for Jon Gruden? I mulled it over and did some quick comparisons of the coaches.

First, neither has made it to the Super Bowl. Both led their teams to conference championship games and both made it to the first round of the playoffs last season. No obvious justification yet.

Win-loss record? Dungy's Bucs were 54-42. Gruden's Raiders were 38-26. Dungy averaged 9 wins a season. Gruden averaged 9.5 wins. So far, I'm not impressed. The Bucs are looking to boost their offense -- maybe that's the ticket. Oakland averaged 243 points a game, and the Bucs averaged only 18.9. A difference of 5.4 points.

On the other hand, Oakland's defense allowed 20.5 points, compared with the Bucs' 17, a difference of 3.5 more points allowed. Net gain for the Bucs with Gruden -- 1.9 points. Arguably a less-than-stunning improvement. In addition, Gruden now has to work with coaches and players he's unfamiliar with. Receiver Keyshawn Johnson makes an acceptable (if not obnoxious) substitute for Tim Brown, but I wonder who's going to play Jerry Rice? Charlie Garner? Rich Gannon?

It appears that either the Glazers have a Chucky doll fetish, or they've made a colossal mistake by mortgaging their team's future. Now don't get me wrong. I love this deal, basically because I'm not a Bucs fan. I hope that their next move is to sacrifice all of their third- and fourth-round picks for a world-class groundskeeper.
-- Jay Gorzelany, Bradenton

Keep quiet, Wayne

For so many years, Wayne Gretzky dazzled us with his brilliance on the ice. The way he worked the puck behind the net, the way he baffled goalies with his stick play, the class that he displayed on the ice was pure magic.

So, why the whining, Wayne? To hear the Great One whine about how the Canadian Olympic team gets no respect is an embarrassment to hockey in Canada. He says no one in America wants to see his team win. Well, I have to agree with that. But, that is patriotism, Mr. Gretzky. It has absolutely nothing to do with having no respect for your team.

Do you think anyone from Canada wants to see the Americans win the gold? Not a chance. But, if it would have come down to Canada and another country for the gold, yes, I would have cheered for the Canadians. The real problem with Team Canada is the lack of cohesive talent. Too many prima donnas on that team. The same could have been said for the United States team in Nagano in 1998. They got their faces slapped. The United States got a rude awakening in 1998. That is why they are fighting as strong as they are. They are making up for the farce of the last Olympics.

Canada thought that all they had to do was show up and the gold was theirs. Wrong! Too much talent in these final eight teams. Lindros is long gone, he is past his prime; Yzerman should not be playing because of injury; they have not adjusted to the larger ice.

Wayne, let's face it, your team is not very good. You should have enjoyed your days playing golf in California and leave the talent appraising to the professionals that understand how to put a team together. You are the greatest hockey player ever to play the game. Let us enjoy that memory of you rather than hearing the nonsense you are spitting out at the Olympics.
-- Pete Budzinski, Treasure Island

Fix the judging properly

When the International Skating Union (ISU) presented its plans to address their "judging issue", high on their list was the introduction of "super secret" computers to randomly select seven of 14 judges' scores. Apparently the ISU feels that the introduction of such technology will lower the possibility of judging irregularities.

Since when does technology provide a replacement for honesty and morality? Has the ISU admitted that their judges are so infected by nationalism, partisanship and politics that there is no way to simply ensure honesty?

Maybe the judges should really listen to the words of the oath they took at the Olympics. Judges that take such an oath and then proceed to be block voting or otherwise "rigging the results" are acting immorally.

Why does any such dishonesty only receive a slap-on-the-wrist, short-term suspensions? If the athletes who take a similar oath are found to be dishonest through drug tests, they are disqualified and have long-term bans and lifelong blots on their lives. Why does the IOC and ISU treat the judges differently?

Bring honesty and a level playing field to judging, not technology.
-- Don Fowler, Seminole

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