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November 9, 2009 4:40 AM

Tampa finally Bucs the Packer-backers


So, you are one of the few who actually grew up in Southwest Florida, where you have spent too much of your life secretly rooting for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Yours is a thankless chore, because not only has your team been mostly awful most of the time, especially this year, but you have come to be surrounded by a bunch of transplanted Midwestern farmers, who have brought their football allegiances and 120-pound 7-year-olds with them to gobble up your tee times, beaches and sport bars.

You grudgingly put up with 'em because they are double-fistedly responsible for keeping the restaurant and supermarket industries going great guns down there.
But you long for those days of John McKay when your lovable  team could just lose quietly, and among friends, while you worked on your tan every other Sunday afternoon.  

As you walked into the stadium yesterday through the thick smell of brat, Old-Wilwaukee breathing cheeseheads were oinking about getting back on the winning track after their boy, Brett, stole their clogged hearts a week ago in the land of their ancestors.  

For awhile it looked they were going to get their pudgy little hands around another victory over your sad-sack team, until a funny thing happened, they didn't.

Donned in the colors of one of your two greatest teams, your 0-7 Bucs, got their groove going thanks to a kid starting his first NFL game at quarterback.

Josh Freeman sliced and diced the Swiss cheese Packer secondary, and hung three TDs passes up on 'em to key a 21-point fourth-quarter rally and a 38-28 win.

Best of all, he quieted the blubbering cheeseheads.
And you didn't need to say one word, because, hell, with all this peace and quiet suddenly about there was still time to grab a nap on the beach.  

Now onto a sampling of what the nation's sportswriters and columnists are saying about their football teams across every NFL city, because in the Grill Room we love the newspaper business, even if it hates itself.

(12) Atlanta 31
(30) Washington 17

(14) Arizona 41
(13) Chicago 21

(8) Cincinnati 17
(7) Baltimore 7

(2) Indianapolis 20
(11) Houston 17

(22) Jacksonville 24
(25) Kansas City 21

(5) New England 27
(19) Miami 17

  • Patriots back on top, but were they ever really gone?
  • New England has Porter's number: zero.
(29) Tampa Bay 38
(16) Green Bay 28

(1) New Orleans 30
(21) Carolina 20

(23) Seattle 32
(32) Detroit 20

(15) San Diego 21
(17) N.Y. Giants 20

(27) Tennessee 34
(18) San Francisco 27

(10) Dallas 20
(6) Philadelphia 16

(*) denotes NFL 100-proof ranking

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