Super Bowl XXXVII
© St. Petersburg Times, published January 27, 2003
TALK OF THE TOWN
Five topics suitable for inane debate on talk radio:
FINALLY, THE BEST: Remember the moment. Enjoy the feeling. Tampa Bay never has been known as a great sports market. Not enough natives? Okay. Not enough corporate support? All right. Not enough history? Not anymore.
THE DEFENSE RESTS: Order their busts for Canton, Ohio. Derrick Brooks, John Lynch and Warren Sapp have Hall of Fame numbers and reputations. A Super Bowl ring and prominent places on one of the great defenses in memory should ensure enshrinement.
REMEMBERING EVERYONE: Divvy up credit any way you wish. Say it was Tony Dungy who started it, or Jon Gruden who completed it. Credit the Glazers for providing the opportunity or GM Rich McKay for making all the right moves. But do not forget the community's role in getting Raymond James Stadium built. Whichever side you supported, the community deserves to share this win.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Still awful.
ALL'S FORGIVEN, NOT FORGOTTEN: Do not be quick to erase the legacy of Bucco Bruce, 0-26 or Yucs. Do not act as if the past is of no consequence. If you ignore the past, it merely is part of history. If you embrace it, it is part of your memories. The first 26 seasons were not without meaning. They were the first steps in a grand journey.
5. Because defense rules. We did not know it at the time, but the game was won in the first quarter. Oakland, on average, started its first four drives at the 48. Those netted 29 yards and three points. The Raiders could have jumped on the Bucs early and could not pull it off. It was a kick in the ego.
4. Because Michael Pittman loves home cooking. Including the postseason, the San Diego prep star went 43 games in a row without more than 100 rushing yards. Who knew he was sandbagging?
3. Because the Raiders could not handle the pass rush. They say the way to beat them is taking Rich Gannon out of his comfort zone. The Dolphins did it in December with Jason Taylor. For the Bucs, it was Greg Spires and Simeon Rice.
2. Because the Raiders are punks. They love their renegade reputation. They love to act like rules are made for others. That attitude makes them one of the most penalized teams in the NFL. In a span of six plays, the defense committed three penalties for 18 yards to set up Tampa Bay's touchdown drive at the end of the first half.
1. Because Bill Parcells has no honor. Had Parcells kept his word and agreed to coach the Bucs, they would not have won Super Bowl XXXVII. Parcells does not have the offensive acumen of Gruden.
Five reasons Barret Robbins was not available:
5: Got caught with Bill Romanowski's stash.
4: Frustrated when he could not stop Sapp on Madden 2003.
3: Like the rest of us, was unnerved by the thought of Celine Dion as part of the pregame entertainment.
2: Two words: fish tacos.
1: Heard Eugene Robinson could hook him up south of the border.
5. Wasn't it Tim Brown who suggested the Bucs defense was not as good as the 2000 Ravens? And Brooks was no Ray Lewis? Last we looked Timmy, Brooks had more touchdown receptions than you in the Super Bowl.
4. Wasn't it Frank Middleton who suggested McKay wasn't too bright for letting him get away? It wasn't personal, Frank. The Bucs couldn't afford your pastry bills.
3. Wasn't it Jerry Porter who suggested Gruden was too conservative and had a tendency to sit on a lead? Well, Jerry, the Bucs decided not to sit on a 20-3 lead. They sprawled on it. Their opening drive of the second half went 89 yards and chewed up nine minutes. 2. Wasn't it Lincoln Kennedy who suggested Gruden had a Napoleonic complex? Hey, Linc, Napoleon conquered a good chunk of the world. You couldn't handle 53 guys and the munchkin they rode in on.
1. Wasn't it Al Davis who once suggested you should just win, baby? Hey, Al, thanks for the advice.
Thanks for the memories, fellas.