Pardon The Interruption - Bandwagon fans
One of the most common phrases heard around the NFL fanbase these days is "bandwagon fan". You can support more than one team, you can get away with knowing nothing about your particular favourite team or their players, but whatever you do, don't admit you have just become a fan in the past couple of years.
Because this will get you slaughtered on message boards around the gridiron community. OK, so most of these boards have a bunch of prepubescent trolls who as I've referred to before, only follow American Football in a desperate attempt not to be seen as total nerds in everything they do.
But these trolls, and we've got a few around the world ourselves as Buc fans, jump from team to team at a moment's notice. Anyone pick up how many Colt fans suddenly appeared on the NFLUK site 13 weeks into the 2005 season? And how they've all gone missing at the same time as Mike Vanderjagt's playoff fieldgoal hit the endzone corner pylon?
But don't knock these new fans as a matter of course. Everyone's got to learn sometime. Perhaps had the internet and message boards been around in 1982, I myself could have been accused of being one after seeing the Bucs win a game and thinking "that team in orange must be pretty good, I guess I'll support them".
The Bucs UK has members dating back to 1985 amongst its current ranks. But many have come on board in the last three or four years coinciding with the Super Bowl win in January 2003. To these newer fans, I simply say "embrace the history". Take time to learn more about your favourite team (any guesses which website would be best for this?)
I'll never forget when I produced the Top 50 Bucs of all-time and some total idiot ranted and raved about the selections and then admitted he'd never heard of Mark Cotney or Steve Wilson. They only played nearly a decade each for the franchise! He though was your typical "recent convert" who only knew the players on the current team. Nothing wrong with this of course, but not exactly a basis for making reasoned comment on the history of the Buccaneers.
So if you come across a recent convert to the Pewter Pirates, give them a chance. After all, at some distant point in the past, we were all one too.
Some other thoughts
Why you should never believe the NFL injury reports especially those from the Patriots. Did you know Tom Brady has been listed on their injury report with a "minor shoulder injury" every week for the last two seasons? And Brady has a current streak of 88 consecutive starts including playoffs.
From the amazing stats category - New England LB Mike Vrabel has eight career receptions in the NFL. And eight career touchdowns. Quick pop quiz - name any of the three Buccaneers with perfect 100% TD/reception ratios - answer next week.
Quick NFL Olympic update - Miami RB Ricky Williams was last season heading for Turin to take part in the curling after he heard the aim was to get stoned in the house.
You've been great - enjoy the Korgis.
Paul Stewart, February 2006.