No wasted words. To the point. "What can we do about the Bucs?" I've heard the question 100,001 times in the franchise's 18/ths overwhelmingly odious seasons.
From you, me and the world, at least 10,001 suggested cures have been voiced since Tampa Bay's perplexing NFL baby first cried in 1976. A generation later, October 1994 offers no obvious, automatic, absolute answer.
But keep asking, please.
Don't tame the flame.
When a pro sports team has a 2-5 record for the year, plus 84-202-1 forever, public ire is understandable and bare-knuckled media inquisitions demanded.
Apathy is the ultimate sin.
Bucs inefficiency, which through all their rancid autumns has driven consumers into apropos rages, appears in Season 19 to be pushing more and more people into a "who cares?" mode.
Possibilities are lethal.
It would be far, far preferable to see 70,000 snarling, bellowing, berating, booing, hissing Bucs patrons at Sunday's game against Minnesota than to have 30,000 Tampa Stadium holdouts with soft, smiling faces and supportive-no-matter-what attitudes.
Scream at Bucs players!
Shout at Bucs coaches!
Seethe at Bucs management!
I'm about to tell you what I think about the Bucs. But do me a favor. Tell them what you think. Send a message in serious and concerned terms. Address it to the man now guiding the Bucs franchise, Culverhouse Trust spokesman Steve Story.
His law-office address:
Culverhouse, Botts & Story
1408 N Westshore Blvd.
Tampa, FL 33607
Now, re a few items that appear widely troubling to the Tampa Bay community on this 10/26/94, here are my thoughts:
SAM WYCHE: If he's not 7-8 with one to go in December, the Tampa Bay head coach should be terminated, but only if Story and fellow trustees Jack Donlan and Fred Cone intend on making the slick moves and spending the heavy money needed to snag a replacement whose mere hiring will double Bucs season ticket sales from 23,000 to 46,000.
TRENT DILFER: He is the Bucs' quarterback of the future. There's nothing not to like about Dilfer's arm, mind, intensity, physical stature and NFL potential. After Tampa Bay's playoff hope? is officially dead, the Bucs should suffer some and grow a lot with T.D., hoping that by Christmas Eve the kid from Fresno State is living up to his initials.
CRAIG ERICKSON: NFL teams need two competent QBs. Erickson's talents and moderate salary range make him well suited to eventually be an effective, steady, always-prepared backup to Dilfer.
ERIC CURRY: For an athlete so big, quick and advertised, the defensive end from Alabama has made pitifully few contributions to a Bucs operation that keeps starving for a strong outside pass rusher.
RICH McKAY: During every Bucs slump, a semi-constant occurrence, there are wails for a "real general manager." Maybe so. I do agree that Hugh Culverhouse, the team's late owner, was ridiculously pigheaded in never accepting that his front office was miles shy of adequate. But in the 36-year-old McKay, there seems to be the demanded savvy, drive and hunger. What if he had full personnel power, rather than allowing the head coach the final call on drafts, trades, cuts, et al?
TEAM COLORS, LOGO: Change it all. Bury Bucco Bruce in an unmarked grave. Let's see new Bucs colors, new graphics, new style, new appearance, new class, new uniforms, new helmets, new attitude, new imagination and _ eventually _ justified new optimism.
FRANCHISE SALE: Since it appears to be destined, why not now, with the Bucs being offered at a fair-market-value price, but only to investors who plan to permanently base the team in the Tampa Bay area? If there is no such person or group, it would then be fair to shop elsewhere.
Maybe you have ideas.
Write them down.
Mail to Steve Story.
Do it for Tampa Bay's (community) sake.