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January 19, 2003
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Warren Sapp and John Lynch are two foundations of the Bucs defense who haven't tasted a Super Bowl.
The clock is ticking
The Bucs' core of veterans has been through many wars but has never made it to a Super Bowl. For Sapp, Lynch and Brooks, especially, time is running short.

Are you ready?
This is the most important day of Heather Longo's life, and it's giving her nightmares.

Gary Shelton: Bucs can take it or leave it
PHILADELPHIA -- Once, John Elway stood on the same ledge. Once, he faced the same doubters.

John Romano: Gimme five!

Hubert Mizell: Today it's okay to root, root for the home team
Media homers are predominantly offensive ... but having seen -- even shared -- pains of tormented generations of Bucs fans, from followers of 0-26 originals in 1976-77, to ticket-buying victims from the exasperating '80s, on into the excruciating early '90s, is it okay if an old sports writer -- just for today -- puts a gentle muffler on objectivity and pulls for Super Bowl deliverance from so many who overpaid dues?

Side show: A guide for the football-impaired
You don't know a quarterback from Nickelback. "Paper or plastic?" has more meaning in your life than "Run or pass?" Down is the stuff in your jacket that's been keeping you warm. And for all you care, the coach of the Bucs might as well have starred in those Chucky slasher movies.

Bucs defense fears no power
TAMPA -- The thing about reputations is that they don't need to be true, they just need to be.

McNabb makes wins his duty
PHILADELPHIA -- He salvaged an image from the rubble of disappointment.

Even keel disguises Reid's passion for game
PHILADELPHIA -- The temperature outside was 27 degrees, cold enough to squeeze snow flurries from passing clouds.

Familiarity breeds success for offensive line
TAMPA -- They aren't going to pound their chests and point their fingers at critics in the traditional "I told you so!" manner.


Little to love, but Vet was home
It's easy, in typing a site's address, to get things mixed up, like confusing with

Chucky's chalk talk
Bucs coach Jon "Chucky" Gruden on today's opponent, the Eagles:

What they're saying
Eagles return man Brian Mitchell was the one to take issue with (Warren) Sapp's venomous statements about Veterans Stadium this week, not the Eagles' tight-lipped defenders. Sapp said the stadium is "a (expletive) of a place, my mother can't even come." The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' equally loquacious defensive end Simeon Rice said the Bucs are "going to blow the place up."

We predict

Guest column: Revamped Bucs pose new threat
I think this is an entirely different team from the ones that have lost in Philadelphia the past two years. This team has a different coaching staff, you have a totally different mentality. Sure, it has no explosive people on offense, none, and that eliminates an element. But it's more efficient, you have receivers that can make plays, they're big guys.

Ditka rates '85 Bears defense vs. 2002 Bucs
Whether the 1985 Bears, 2000 Ravens or 2002 Bucs can claim the NFL's best-ever defense, one thing is clear: Bears coach Mike Ditka and defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan rode herd on the most colorful cast of without-the-ball characters since facemasks became de rigueur.

Trail of tears
In the past three seasons, the Eagles have beaten the Bucs four times, twice in the playoffs:

Kickin' back: Legend smiles on today's Bucs
Hall of Fame defensive end Lee Roy Selmon was the leader of the Bucs when the team made the NFC Championship Game in 1979. Here are his perspectives on the Bucs today, the University of South Florida, amateur athletics and the great upsets of all time.

TV crew sees a different Bucs
To this weekend's broadcasting team, Bucs coach Jon Gruden has been worth the price already.

Jurevicius joins Bucs, will play
PHILADELPHIA -- Receiver Joe Jurevicius joined the Bucs at the team hotel Saturday afternoon and will play today.

Letters: Bucs chat
There was no way the 49ers could beat the Giants, but they did. There was no way the Falcons could beat the Packers in Green Bay, but they did. There was no way David could slay the giant with a slingshot and three stones, but he did. The so-called experts say there is no way the Bucs can beat the Eagles. I guess they don't know who they are, or what they are, or what they are made of. I really feel sorry for the Eagles. They don't know what they're in for.

Rays wait to expand roster on the cheap
With the signing last week of infielder Marlon Anderson, the Devil Rays probably are done making additions to the big-league roster this offseason.

Tampa Bay finds itself just average
FLYERS 3, LIGHTNING 2: The Lightning, with its seventh loss in nine games, drops to .500 for the first time this season.

Even on ice, fever present
It wasn't overwhelming but, during this Tampa Bay at Philadelphia matchup, football was on some fans' minds.

Past vs. Senators looming
PHILADELPHIA -- The way center Tim Taylor sees it, Monday begins a new season for the .500 Lightning, and what better way to start than by beating the Senators?

Smack is back

The Raiders have returned to the hard-hitting, trash-talking, sometimes nasty team of the past.

Tonight's game
AFC Championship: Titans (12-5_ at Raiders (12-5)

Underappreciated Titans have been here before
OAKLAND, Calif. -- It doesn't matter to the Titans that they are big underdogs today, that all the attention in is on the Raiders, that they seem to be mere bit players.

Jaguars' GM pick stays in Baltimore
JACKSONVILLE -- The Jaguars have ended discussions with Phil Savage about becoming the team's general manager, a team spokesman said Saturday.

Venus overcomes 33 errors to advance to quarterfinal

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Venus Williams had her latest opponent sprawling and sighing, and she stayed on course for a fourth straight Grand Slam final against her sister, Serena.

Season on the bubble
No. 13 Creighton 85, SIU 76

OMAHA, Neb. -- Kyle Korver had 24 points and 11 rebounds Saturday, and Creighton overcame a 13-point first-half deficit to hand Southern Illinois its first Missouri Valley loss.

College football
Walton TD caps North win

MOBILE, Ala. -- Shane Walton only needed to touch the ball once Saturday.

In brief
Kwan near perfect in winning 7th U.S. title

DALLAS -- Michelle Kwan reasserted herself Saturday night with the style and perfection that has marked her career, winning her sixth straight U.S. Figure Skating Championships title and seventh overall.


700 Club

Maple Leafs spoil Julien's debut in Montreal
MONTREAL -- Nik Antropov scored 56 seconds into overtime as the Maple Leafs spoiled new Canadiens coach Claude Julien's league debut with a 3-2 win Saturday night.

College basketball
Florida escapes South Carolina with win

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Matt Bonner's outside shooting touch was a little off.

Gator focus on win, not UT mystique
GAINESVILLE -- Forget the pageantry of having one of the most storied women's college basketball programs in the nation in town.

USF holds off rally to upset Memphis
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Jimmy Baxter had 21 points and four assists Saturday as South Florida defeated Memphis 75-74.

UConn reaches record of 55 straight wins
HARTFORD, Conn. -- Connecticut made history Saturday -- then celebrated as if it won a national championship.

Top 25: Terps take out Devils again
COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Cole Field House and the Comcast Center are across campus from each other. Maryland found a bridge between its old and new arenas: beating No. 1 Duke.

Wolfpack keeps 'Noles winless in conference
TALLAHASSEE -- For a half Saturday, Florida State looked as if it would get its first win in the Atlantic Coast Conference, but the Seminoles could not keep up with North Carolina State, losing their fourth conference game 70-63.

St. John's rallies from 16 down
WASHINGTON -- Marcus Hatten scored 14 of his game-high 34 in the final 3:17 to help St. John's erase a 16-point deficit in the final seven minutes and beat Georgetown 77-72 Saturday.

Fans, drivers get close for charity

WINSTON SALEM, N.C. -- Dale Earnhardt Inc. donated the shell of a No. 8 Chevrolet driven by Dale Earnhardt Jr. for the charity auction at Saturday's Winston Cup Preview.

Magic puts Hill on injured list

ORLANDO -- Grant Hill is out of action again.

Baddeley extends lead to 2

HONOLULU -- Aaron Baddeley took three years to reach the PGA Tour, but Saturday he looked to be in a hurry to win his first event at the Sony Open.

Late win a building block for Jesuit

CLEARWATER -- Jesuit got a goal from Travis Hamilton in the 79th minute to beat Clearwater Central Catholic 2-1 Saturday.

Hernando wins Springstead title
SPRING HILL -- With the spotlight shining down in the darkened gym, Hernando took center stage at the Masada Springstead Invitational. For their collective performance on the mat, the Leopards earned the team title with 209 points, edging Tampa Jesuit's 198-point effort.

Brandon dominates Gainesville tournament
GAINESVILLE -- Brandon remained undefeated Saturday with a victory in the Domino's Invitational Tournament, which was a combination of pool dual and individual competition.

Cowboys, Tigers suffer losses
DUNEDIN -- A new starting lineup and a new defensive strategy was almost enough for Gaither to overcome Boca Ciega in the Dunedin Shootout Saturday. But even Cowboys coach Dwayne Olinger admitted that their new system will take some time to learn as Gaither fell 63-75 to the Pirates.

Packers knock off top-ranked team
DUNEDIN -- The late Frank Griffin, the head coach of Dunedin's 1966 state championship team, taught pride in the community and had an appetite for competition. So it was fitting that on the day the Frank Griffin Athletic Center was dedicated, some of Pinellas County's best teams did the county proud against quality opponents.

A new level of PCAC dominance
Countryside sets two school records, wins nine individual titles and routs its county foes yet again.

Daily fishing report

Bucs cornerback Ronde Barber went fishing between practices last week. His schedule permitted only a short session of inshore angling early in the morning. Air temperatures had dropped to 40 and the seas were churned from wind, awful conditions that make fishing challenging.

Red grouper seem to be on upswing
ST. PETERSBURG -- Red grouper stocks are in better shape than first thought, and federal fishery managers might scale back proposed recreational and commercial restrictions.

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