Thoughts ahead of the Super Bowl
And please remember that it is Super Bowl with two words. Otherwise, Scott Smith of the Buccaneers will come looking for you armed with a dictionary and a direct line to Dewayne White's cell phone. Not spelling it with two words is his pet bugbear (one word).

I might even watch the game this year. My non-interest in years gone by has simply been because if it is not the Bucs playing, then I do not usually watch any other NFL football at all. During the losing years, our season was over by the end of December, meaning it was hard to keep my interest going for another month until the big one.

Then came 1999 and the championship game loss to the Rams. Out of principle, I refused to watch any of the Super Bowl that year because if we had seen any kind of decent QB play that year, no-one would have beaten us over the final month of the season.

I still have a problem with the way the game is covered in this country - you have the biggest game of the season and you immediately try to appeal to an audience that has not followed the game all year. What about detailed analysis for the real fans instead of "let's explain the rules for the 50th time for the muppets who really don't care anyway"?

Black coaches in the Super Bowl
Can we please stop going on about colour now? This is not the 1960s any more and no NFL team is going to hire a coach based on colour. This kind of positive discrimination spin has had its day and the sooner we ignore colour and race, the better we will all be. After all, how many white cornerbacks are there in the league at the moment, or Hispanic left tackles?

Memories of the Buccaneers' Super Bowl victory
Any Super Bowl will now always bring back reminders of that incredible experience that was being at a Super Bowl. It was the culmination of 20 years of loyal support and each time I watch the DVD, it still makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up to know that I was lucky enough to be there. To quote Tim Taylor of the Tampa Bay Lightning, "today we walk together forever". They cannot take it away from us all now.

Bar these coloured pants
The Saints wearing all black uniforms in the Championship game just looked ridiculous but it has been a growing trend this year. The Jets wore all green on occasion, the Cardinals all-red, and the Titans' all sky-blue outfit was a serious crime against fashion. Even the referees looked idiotic in black pants in Chicago. Stop this trend now before mullets come back too.

The Super Bowl shuffle
Chicago making the big one again gave everyone a chance to watch the only decent NFL song there will ever be, the 1985 Super Bowl shuffle. If you watch it (and there is a link from the Tampa Tribune site at the moment), notice how Walter Payton and Jim McMahon have been edited in as they missed the original filming. It is a classic piece of NFL history from the greatest single-season defense you will ever see.

A Super Bowl prediction
The Colts are going to win and win big. OK, so I agree with Katherine Smith of The Tampa Tribune on this one but the reasoning is pretty logical. Which coach knows the Cover Two defense better than most? And who do you think knows how to beat it better than most?

To defeat the zones in a Cover Two, you need a QB who has a strong enough arm to hit the slants and deep out patterns. There is no-one better than Peyton Manning right now. The weather will not be a factor and the Bears' defense has not been good in the past two months.

Can you honestly see the Colts' offense being shut down at all? These are not the mistake-prone New Orleans Saints playing on the road in the sleet and rain. And once the Bears fall behind, do you really think Rex "Totally" Grossman is going to bring them back?

Sorry Lovie Smith, Mike Ditka, Karl Baumann, the Blues Brothers, Jay Mariotti, Pete Cetera, Michael Jordan etc, but your boys are going to take a hell of a beating.

Paul Stewart, January 2007