Pardon the Interruption
Well I can't let the likes of Lee Bromfield and Richard Lowe have all the fun with their weekly columns. More Buc-related features to follow over the next few weeks but time for a PTI NFL special.

The worst team in the NFL
All the talk during the 2006 off-season, was that the Arizona Cardinals are about to shake off their losing tag and become serious winners with the signing of Edgerin James and Kurt Warner and the opening of their new stadium. Halfway through the season, and the Cards are 1-7 and Dennis Green is on the verge of being sacked.

The Cardinals have the same problem as the Bucs did during their losing seasons streak - bad ownership. Nothing will ever change there with the Bidwills owing the team. Every year, they look to be good on paper and then the season starts, and the team falls apart. "The armpit of the NFL" is how Simeon Rice described it when he escaped to Tampa in 2001.

Stories about Dennis Green's off-field antics have been around the NFL for years, and just like the Raydurs under Al Davis, no decent coach is going to want to go and work in Arizona. With the hot new coaching tip for 2007 being former Buc DB coach Mike Tomlin, you can only hope for the latter that he doesn't end up as the Cardinals' next great coaching hope in 2007 and end up with a career full of shattered dreams.

Just believe in the power of prayer
Just over a month ago, Seattle RB Shaun Alexander suffered the curse of being on the cover of the latest Madden game, by breaking his foot. Apart from the wild celebrations around the FFL as Geoff Reader's Hurried Vikings franchise lost its star scorer, came the story from the Pacific coast, that Alexander had been praying to God and by a miracle, he was only going to be out two weeks. Earth to Shaun - you might want to ask for a refund on that promise.

Steroids in San Diego
Out of Charger land came the news that star LB Shawne Merriman had failed a drug test and was going to be suspended four weeks. As Lee Bromfield wrote in his column last week, this guy did not get arms the size of Andre the Giant by simply working out.

But can we just once have a player in this situation, not claim that his drink was spiked, or that his cold medicine was tainted. Imagine if just once, a sportman was allowed to get away with a positive test because someone had allegedly "slipped something in his drink when out one night". It would become a complete free for all in every sport., I mean, even Marion Jones might get away with competing legally then,

Problems for Jeff Fisher's Titans
And also on the list of NFL trouble-makers, comes news from Tennessee that CB Adam "Pacman" Jones has been suspended for a game for off-field shenanigans. This guy was trouble coming out of college, trouble all through his rookie season and trouble this year too. Yes he is talented, but when are some NFL teams going to wake up to the fact that no amount of talent and/or potential can make up for the disruption these players cause to their teams.

The Big Gay Orange Pirate
Regular visitors to the message board will know that the last two Buc games have been seen over the internet thanks to some software called Sopcast and a very nice series of threads posted by the self-named BGOP. But who is he?

He is none other than Alan Needham, who ran the Bucs UK during 1987 when I was taking time out from the exercise. Alan used to also write the first NFL gridiron fanzine in this country, "Third and Long" and was a good source of banter during the early days of American Football in this country. Good to see him back in the Bucs UK world after all these years.

The best team in the NFL
So they lose defensive players everywhere, the star running back is supposedly disgrunted and causing trouble, and their only decent receiver holds out of camp and manufactures a trade to Seattle. And still the New England Patriots are 6-1. Can we now please annoint Bill Belichick as the best coach and the Patriots as the best organisation in the NFL? I mean, over the last five years, has anyone else come close?

You've been great - enjoy Johnny hates Jazz

Paul Stewart, November 2006.