Players you just have to dislike
There are certain sportsmen and women or even commentators who you just take an instant dislike to and this remains in perpetuity. Amongst my own personal s***-list would be Robbie Savage, Geoff Boycott, Tiger Woods, Maradona, Peter Alliss, Geoff Boycott (so bad he makes the list twice) and John Terry.
But how about in the world of the NFL? Are there players you truly despise, players you really enjoy seeing make a mistake or lose a game?
It is something very British to have one team and simply dislike every other team around. It starts in football and continues for life - Liverpool hate Everton, Tottenham hate Arsenal, everyone hates Manchester United etc.
In NFL terms, I guess most Buccaneer fans dislike the Carolina Panthers for recent divisional rivalry games and going back before that, perhaps the Bears for the 12 straight defeats from 1983 to 1988. But how about individual players?
The Bucs UK used to have a thing about former Bears' kicker Kevin Butler. He was banned from our fantasy league from the very early days and I remember when he moved on to play for Arizona, he missed a potential game-winner in September 1997 that probably made Gary Hughes' life, let alone his day. He hated Butler that much!
I have no time for self-centered egocentrics in the game and this includes all the mouthy wide receivers in the game. Terrell Owens, Chad TinkyWinky or whatever he's now called and before them, Michael Irvin. Owens plays solely for himself and has ruined pretty much every team he has ever been on. So I am gutted he has as many championship rings as I do right now.
His agent, the odious Drew Rosenhaus, can sit in the same boat too. It makes me sick to think I spent $5 on his book from a second-hand store back in the 90s.
Ray Lewis, that accessory to a double murder at the Super Bowl (legal note - "allegedly") , is another player I really despise. Whatever he has achieved on the field was marred forever by his actions around that nasty little saga.
Commentators are not immune either which is why Joe Theisman would always make the list. He simply tries to shout everyone else down during his commentaries and always assumes he is right when he starts second-guessing players and coaches alike. Actually, you could insert Geoff Boycott in there too for cricket. Funny how none of these self-proclaimed experts ever seem to get a job coaching - perhaps because everyone else in the game realises they talk rubbish.
Do any Buccaneers make my list? It would be easy to put players who have left Tampa Bay in this category such as Vinny Testaverde. I am always amused when I think of Thurman Thomas moving from Buffalo to Miami, and Brett Favre from Green Bay to Minnesota to finish their careers. The likes of Richard Lambert and Geoff Reader found it hard to even cheer quietly for those two based on their prior exploits against their teams.
I was appalled back in 1991 when the Bucs signed Dexter Manley who was on about his 14th drug rehabilitation at the time. I wrote it then and I stick by it now It was one of the darkest days in franchise history when he took the field irrespective of what he achived. When he was finally kicked out of the game for good late in that season only marginally lifted the dark clouds that had gathered.
Players move teams just like you or I move employers. OK so 60,000 people don't watch us work or buy our shirts, but that is no reason to take an instant dislike to a player because he now wears the colours of another team. So if Barrett Ruud went to the Giants, or Quincy Black to the Dolphins, it would not make me appreciate them any less.
But as for the likes of Chris Chandler or Broderick Thomas, stories I have heard of their behaviour in Tampa has left me dislike them as individuals and as players. And Aqib Talib is definitely heading down that road with his recent actions.
So who to quote the old football chant, "22.214.171.124. who do we really hate?"
Answers on a postcard to Nick Halling, former Sky NFL Presenter, Lymington, Hampshire.
You've been great, enjoy Shalamar