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Letters to the Editors

Critics exhibit short memories


© St. Petersburg Times
published January 12, 2003

Reading some of the pathetic complaints in Sunday papers from local fans makes me realize one thing: We have quite an obsessive group of naysayers around here. Does anybody remember this team being the joke of the NFL, running around in orange uniforms with Bucco Bruce on its helmets? Was that another lifetime? I'm so darned proud of these guys -- great coaching, great playing. Their season could have ended and I would just be thankful for having watched the caliber of play that we have now in our hometown.
-- Steve Richardson, Seffner

Our Bucs have one truly great superstar and one clearly overrated pretender. Derrick Brooks is the consummate team player who dominates games, gives 100 percent on every down, shuns publicity and is a class act off the field. Warren Sapp is a good but not great defensive lineman who plays for himself, takes off more downs than Randy Moss and is an embarrassment off the field. His virtual disappearance in the second half of each season and every big game is conveniently ignored by a doting media that is reluctant to criticize this camera-hogging, self-promoting quote machine.
-- Tom Kely, Clearwater

Sure, Brad Johnson was slighted by the Pro Bowl. Realistically, what chance did he have? It's a popularity contest based on perception, not performance. And the honorees are:

1. Brett Favre: adored by millions who feature his name on jerseys; adorned by a handful of Super Bowl rings; feted weekly on MNF from the pulpit of personal cheerleader John Madden.

2. Michael Vick: unable to escape preordained legacy; already anointed the second coming of Unitas; a can't-miss Hall of Fame shoe-in.

3. Jeff Garcia: reminiscent of Joe Montana, Steve Young and other uber-glorified San Francisco Super Bowl winners; never unlucky enough to play QB for the Bucs.

Johnson is too stoic and humble for his own marketable good. Short of a Super Bowl win, "crane dances" remain his best chance for recognition. Too bad. He is a deserving player (and his crane dance is not pretty).
-- Matt Schmidt, Tampa

What is going on with Tom Tupa? Are we the only Bucs fans who have noticed that this guy is totally struggling? I haven't heard one talk-show host, or read one article about it. He is kicking ducks all over the field and no one seems to notice.

He was dreadful against the Steelers (except for one punt early in the second half), but I shrugged it off as a bad performance. Then he had another bad week in Chicago. I understand that Tupa has been with the team for a full season now, that he knows the audibles/fakes and that he holds for Gramatica, so a change is not coming, but the Bucs are the epitome of a field-position team.

The defense may be the collective MVP this year, but Tupa has a lot to do with where the defense trots onto the field (case in point: The Dolphins were knocked out of the playoffs after former Buc Mark Royals shanked a punt late in the game).

Tupa will play a major role in the postseason. Let's just hope it is more of a spiral than a roll.
-- P. Michael Natale, Chicago


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