© St. Petersburg Times, published September 9, 2002
Bucs fans got short shrifted Sunday. Because Fox stayed with the most boring and lopsided game of the day (Miami-Detroit), there was no pregame show.
At halftime, viewers got news. And during the game, they were stuck with analyst Tim Green, who won't have a video game named after him any time soon.
At least they got overtime.
Some other thoughts:
Like the Bucs offense, Green was surprisingly awful in the first half and only slightly better in the second.
Where to begin?
-- Though Fox had just shown a highlight of Chicago's Jim Miller hitting David Terrell for the winning touchdown against Minnesota, it flashed the Vikings as winners.
"That's great for new Minnesota coach Mike Tice," said Green, who went on to rave for a minute about the talent in Minnesota. Well, at least it's a speech Green can use again.
In a related note, Fox also showed Philadelphia beating Tennessee, which was wrong.
-- As bad as the offensive line was, Green gave credit to the Saints defense rather than seizing the opportunity to analyze the Bucs' biggest weakness, ignoring hot-button topics such as Cornell Green never playing in a game with the Falcons, Jets and Dolphins but being good enough to replace 2001 No.1 pick Kenyatta Walker, the aged Roman Oben and Lomas Brown, the injured Cosey Coleman, etc.
If anything, shoot it down to little-used sideline reporter Chip Carter, the sports director at WTVT-Ch.13, who could have filled viewers in.
-- Green was transfixed by the Saints' multiple receiver sets. But every time he hinted a pass was coming, they ran. On one occasion, after the Saints lined up with three receivers, he exclaimed, "They'll probably pass out of it." After the Saints ran, gaining 4 yards, he said, "They should have passed."
-- Green called the Saints' first two drives "incredible." They gained 100 yards and settled for two field goals. Incredible?
-- Only after the referee signaled the Bucs committed a chop block did Green say, "I saw a chop block on that play." He then said he saw LeCharles Bentley do it. Oops. Bentley is the Saints right guard. At least Green asked for forgiveness on that one.
-- A replay showed Keenan McCardell getting bumped off his route, which Green said was why Brad Johnson's pass missed the mark. "That's not overthrown. It's a disruption (of the pass route)," Green said. Wrong. The pass was overthrown, missing the open receiver.
-- After Mike Alstott carried up the middle and tight end Todd Yoder caught a short pass in the second half, Green said, "Now we're seeing innovation."
Innovative? So that's what Mike Shula, Les Steckel and Clyde Christensen were all those years.
-- Because Tiki and Ronde Barber are twins, it's easy to forgive an announcer for mixing up the two. After the poor performance, letting Green -- who mixed up the two, naturally -- slide isn't so easy.
Green aside, Kenny Albert was terrific. He was mistake-free, clean and informative.
When Darren Howard blocked Martin Gramatica's field goal, Albert quickly pointed out the Boca Ciega High graduate was from St. Petersburg.
And down the stretch, Albert brought home the excitement of the finish with a great final call in which he seamlessly squeezed in that James Allen made the play, what school Allen went to and the fact punter Tom Tupa is a former quarterback.