Anything on the line by the Golden Gate?
So what do the Bucs have to play for this Sunday in San Francisco? Neither team has anything on the line although across in New England, the Patriots would love a Tampa Bay victory as they own the Niners' top draft pick.
On the statistical front, Earnest Graham needs 123 yards to reach 1,000 on the season, and Joey Galloway is only 15 away from his own four figure mark. Greg White is on eight sacks, Javon Haye four fumble recoveries, and Micheal Spurlock is one short of setting a new franchise record for kick-off return touchdowns in a season with two (he currently holds the record with one).
Starting with our Ernie, he would become the seventh Buccaneer back to exceed 1,000 yards rushing. Ricky Bell started the ball rolling in 1979, followed by James Wilder (twice), Reggie Cobb, Errict Rhett and Warrick Dunn (twice each) and most recently, Cadillac Williams in 2005. No-one has come close to Wilder's 1,544 yards in 1984, simply the finest Buccaneer backfield season ever when you throw in his 85 receptions.
There have also been seven Buc receivers to go over 1,000 yards, with Galloway having done it the past two seasons. Before him, the Bucs had a four year run of it happening with Michael Clayton, Keenan McCardell and Keyshawn Johnson (twice) reaching the plateau. Further back in history, Mark Carrier, Bruce Hill and Kevin House (twice) have hit the milestone.
Double-figure sack seasons have been the property of three Bucs over the years, Simeon Rice (five), Warrep Sapp (three) and a guy named after a local Tampa restaurant called Lee Roy Selmon. Greg White can join the club also populated by Marcus Jones, Chidi Ahanotu, Santana Dotson and BroderickThomas.
And then there is Jovan Haye who needs one more fumble recovery to tie Bill Kollar's franchise record of five. Kollar went on to become a long-time NFL defensive line coach after retiring in 1981, and spent some time coaching the Buc pass rushers.
One last point on the game in San Francisco and that's to do with the game time. Over here in the UK, we are all very glad it's been brought forward. Although it means we have to listen on the internet instead of watching the game live, at least it will finish at a reasonable time. The original late kick-off would have been 1.15am over here. You try going to work on the Monday having had about two hours of sleep!
Paul Stewart, TBO.com, 23 December 2007