The greatest trade in the history of Tampa Bay sports didn't involve one single player.
Monday, Feb. 18, 2002. The Tampa Bay Bucs traded two first-round draft picks, two second-rounders and $8 million to Oakland to get coach Jon Gruden.
In the short term, the deal was a winner for both teams as Gruden got both teams to the next Super Bowl. In the first season after the trade, Gruden's new team beat his old team soundly in Super Bowl XXXVII....
Once he was a part of the problem.
Now he is a part of the solution.
LeBron James. Oh, save us, LeBron. Save us from the dreaded Dream Team known as the Golden State Warriors. You're our only hope to keep a fantasy team made up of All-Stars and constructed by gobs of money and greed and selfishness from turning the NBA, which opened play Tuesday night, into a season of yawns.
This a Warriors team that won an NBA regular season-record 73 games and then added, arguably, the second-best player on the planet in Kevin Durant. The Warriors would have won the NBA title last season, but one man stopped them: LeBron....
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — One by one, they raced off the field and down the hall into the visitors locker room at Levi's Stadium.
"Great victory, fellas!" yelled receiver Russell Shepard.
"Yessir! Yessir!" said tackle Donovan Smith.
Linebacker Lavonte David simply nodded, looking like he had just kicked in the swinging doors of an old-time Western saloon and was looking for someone else to take out....
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The Bucs playing on the West Coast is like the Titanic going on the road to play the iceberg. Not good.
Tampa Bay's away record against the 49ers was 2-12. Make that three wins now after Sunday's 34-17 victory. The Bucs fell behind 14-0 but then ripped off 27 unanswered points.
Turned out to be a heck of a trip. Beautiful weather. Awesome scenery. And a victory. So give the travel agent an A for setting up a nice trip, and now here are some other grades from Tampa Bay's victory....
SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Hey, ho, what do you know, the Bucs are back to .500.
After losing three straight, the Bucs rallied to win their second in a row with a solid 34-17 victory Sunday over the 49ers. And they are now 3-3 and very much in contention in the NFC South. What's even more interesting is Tampa Bay has collected all three wins on the road.
The Bucs now need to figure out how to win at home, where they are 0-2. The next three are at home, and it's a great opportunity to make a big-time move into playoff position heading down the second half....
On Sept. 10, the Beaumont Bulls were getting ready for their youth football game in southeast Texas. Just as the national anthem was about to be played, the group of 11- and 12-year-olds took a knee, along with their coach. Just like 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, the group hoped to bring attention to the racial divide in this country.
Within days, the Bulls' coach, Rah Rah Barber, was suspended....
Just moments before kickoff last Saturday between USF and UConn at Raymond James Stadium, Bulls coach Willie Taggart could have taken a football and punted it into the stands and there's a pretty good chance it would have hit an empty seat.
That was a week after 16,585 showed up to watch USF's victory on Homecoming.
Then, this week, Taggart and the rest of USF found out that the Power Five lifeboat known as the Big 12 conference wasn't taking on any more passengers, leaving the Bulls to flail away in a second-tier conference....
TAMPA — Two months ago, he was a backup quarterback for a lousy football team. This Sunday against the Bucs, he will be the starting quarterback for that same lousy football team.
But so much more has changed in the world of Colin Kaepernick. Nothing for him will ever be the same. Ever.
He takes a knee during the national anthem — his resolute, yet peaceful demonstration to point out the inequities in this country. It's his way of drawing attention to a country that treats African-Americans differently than whites....
TAMPA — Crazy world, this college football.
Let's review. Louisville crushes Florida State, then loses to Clemson. Then Clemson storms the field — embarrassingly so — Saturday after beating N.C. State, which only happened because N.C. State can't kick field goals.
North Carolina upsets FSU, then gets annihilated by Virginia Tech, but comes back to beat Miami. Miami almost beat FSU. FSU beat USF. The same USF that crushed Syracuse, which beat … Virginia Tech....
10/13/16 Lightning Strikes
TAMPA — That's how you start a season.
All the excitement. Pregame introductions. Sellout crowd chanting for Nikita Kuuuuuucherov. Big ovation for Steven Stamkos. Welcome back home, captain.
Then, bang, overcome two two-goal deficits and beat the Red Wings 6-4 Thursday with four goals in the third period. Wow.
"If that was your first hockey game," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said, "that was a pretty good one to go to."...
10/12/16 Lightning Strikes
TAMPA — Time to win a Stanley Cup, boys.
For the past three seasons, the Lightning has come close. It has been a contender. The up-and-comer. The franchise full of potential. The team on the verge.
Three seasons ago, it finished second in its division. Two season ago, it went to the Stanley Cup final. Last season, it came within a game of going back to the Cup final.
All good stuff....
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — No loss is a good one in the NFL. But had the Bucs lost Monday night, it would have been a bad loss. A really bad loss.
It would have been the kind of loss that sits in the pit of your stomach like rotten cottage cheese. It would have been the type of loss that would have made you sick for days and kept you awake for nights.
Think about it. The Bucs were bleeding, having lost three in a row. They were playing a Carolina team without concussed quarterback Cam Newton....
"Good guys win," Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said. That's what he says after every Bucs victory. Well, that's what he has said after both Tampa Bay victories this season. But this was, indeed, a good victory for his guys Monday night.
This looked like a game the Bucs were sure to lose when the schedule first came out. Monday night. On the road. Defending NFC champs and all.
But the Bucs found a way to come up with a winning report card. Here are the grades from Monday night....
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Even before the season, when you looked at the Bucs' schedule, this game seemed like it was waiting for a big fat letter L next to it. In other words, a sure-fire loss.
A Monday night? On the road? Against the defending NFC champs? No way.
Yet, as this game unfolded, it was absolutely there for the taking for Tampa Bay. And that's just what the Bucs did. They took it....
Sean McDonough was walking in the parking lot of his gym last spring when he got the phone call.
Mike Tirico, longtime voice of ESPN's Monday Night Football, was leaving for NBC. There was an opening for lead announcer for one of the most iconic sports series in history, and McDonough was high on the list.
"I sort of did a fist pump,'' he said. "I was just excited about the possibility.''...