That is a cliché that has come into vogue in American football recently. A person who is “Old School” is either
a.) One that has a deep appreciation and understanding of the history of the game and uses said knowledge to enhance their enjoyment of the current era or
b.) An old fart who stopped being relevant about ten years ago and sucks the joy out of the game for the “X-Box Generation.”
I would like to think that at 35 years of age I am in the former category. Although the commercials I see during NFL telecasts sometimes makes me think that I am clinging to social relevance with tooth and nail. Perhaps I am making that slow, painful progression from A to B. Thanks to Paul Stewart however, I will be able to work my way through this transformation in a very public way.
But I plan to do so with good-natured humor. As a lifelong fan of the team, I learned a long time ago that the best way to be a Buccaneer fan is to be a fan that is unafraid to see the foibles of football. If one took the game too seriously, one would never have any fun watching the Bucs, especially in the mid to late eighties.
I was born and raised in Largo, FL on the west side of Tampa Bay. I was five years old when the Buccaneers started play in 1976 and have been with them just about every step of the way. I have to admit I don’t recall much of the 1976 and 1977 seasons because at that age football is just a bunch of bright colors wandering around aimlessly. As I came of age in the 1980’s and watched the Buccaneers of Leeman Bennett I discovered that Tampa Bay football was a bunch of men wandering around aimlessly. But I loved them anyway.
I am as qualified to talk professional football as Sean Salisbury of ESPN, because he and I have the same number of playoff victories as a starting quarterback. I can be as frank as Shannon Sharpe because he and I have the same number of Super Bowl rings as players. When it comes to strategy and personnel decisions, I rank right up there with Matt Millen.
I’ve seen the team go “From Worst to First” in 1979, suffer crushing playoff defeats to Dallas in the early 80’s, wander through the NFL desert under a series of ever increasingly unbalanced coaches and finally regain respectability and a World Championship.
I hope to use that experience in my pieces on the current Buccaneers and the state of the NFL. I’ll tell you what I like and what I don’t like, but I won’t hold the team or the game to some high standard. It is after all just a game, despite what many American pundits might think.
I also am thankful that Paul has encouraged my overriding passion: The history of the Buccaneer franchise, and will allow me the opportunity to put out for your pleasure stories from the Buccaneers past. I look forward to sharing with you my thoughts on the Bucs and football, reminiscing of days gone by and just having a lot of fun with fellow travelers. Go Bucs.