If the Bucs want a taste of the chilly reception they'll get at Veterans Stadium on Saturday, they need only stop by one of several message boards bombarded this week by the kind of dirty, low-blow smashmouth trash-talking they can expect to hear on the sideline.
Philly fans, not exactly known for their gracious hospitality, have lived up to their reputation. Pick almost any online forum, and expletive-laden barbs are flying like snowballs.
Consider big99.com, the online home of Bucs star Warren Sapp, where message threads from invading Eagles fans had titles such as, "Is Sapp pregnant?" and "What is Warren Sapp's 40-yard dash time?"
The latter generated fast responses from Bucs fans _ an impressive 4.18 seconds, by one count _ but another poster identified as "Mayor of Philadelphia" wasn't as kind.
"Sapp has two different 40-yard dash times," the post read. "It is important to indicate if there is food at the finish line or not."
Bucs fans, to their credit, have defended their team well in many cases. The Eagles page at sports.philly.com ran a poll asking which team would win Sunday, and it's safe to say a Bucs fan has hacked into the poll. On Thursday afternoon, results showed a ridiculous 71,000 votes cast, and more ridiculously, 90.2 percent picked the Buccaneers.
In a more credible poll, the Eagles' official site asked fans who Philly most needs to stop to beat the Bucs. Warrick Dunn easily won with 62 percent, with Warren Sapp getting 29 percent and Keyshawn Johnson drawing a humbling 6 percent for a distant third.
One Bucs fan site, redtidenews.com, cleverly doctored an Eagles logo to read "Filthydohphia Chickens" and showing a big clucker instead.
"This is gonna be a good old fashioned Tampa Bay Butt-Stomping," wrote a Bucs fan named "Moozician" at redtidenews.com. "Your QB McNabb is gonna be McSapped . . . and McLynched . . . say bye-bye to your "MVP.' "
Another thread of messages asked who the Eagles' other weapons are besides McNabb, and a fan known as "BucsWINBucsWIN" answered, "Batteries, knives, snowballs, beer bottles, the usual assortment of thug tools."
One constant on both sides of the fray seems to be poor spelling. One fan known as "PewterGodz" wrote at philly.com that the Eagles should "Be affraid, be very affraid," to which a Philly fan replied, "I guess we can be aFFraid, but the Bucs will be aFFFFFFFFFreezing."
Perhaps the best zinger of the week came from a post at NFL.com's message boards, from a fan listed as "BucsPewter," who offered a poll to ask what makes Eagles fan so angry. The options: "the Eagles, the Vet, the turf at the Vet, the food at the Vet, the Rocky statue dressed in red and pewter, or living in Philadelphia."
MORE FUN: On a slightly related note, Bucs fans will enjoy tradecade.com, a site lobbying for the Chicago Bears to dump second-year quarterback Cade McNown, who is 3-11 as a starter with a 67.5 quarterback rating. The site invites visitors to sign a petition, which they say is being sent to the Bears on a daily basis.
"We, the loyal and long-deprived fans of the Chicago Bears, hereby demand that you immediately put an end to your CadeXperiment and trade him to the highest bidder in exchange for a few clean jock straps, a Gatorade cooler . . . and/or anything you can get for him," the petition reads.
In just six weeks, more than 15,000 people are said to have signed the petition, and it's good to see the Bears fans still have a sense of humor about their quarterback woes. The list of names includes Bears quarterbacks Shane Matthews and Jim Miller, as well as Jimmy Hoffa, George Halas, God (several times) and Chicago's own Abe Froman.
If you have a question or comment about the Internet, send an e-mail to staff writer Greg Auman at aumanac1aol.com.