The odds against mayoral candidate Frank Sanchez are stacked as high as the pastrami on one of those giant sandwiches at the Lucky Dill Deli.
After garnering a whopping 46 percent of the vote last week, Pam Iorio got the endorsement of the two primary candidates out of the race _ Bob Buckhorn and Charlie Miranda.
Iorio, who ran second to Buckhorn in most inner-city districts, also stands to benefit from a significant turnout in the black community, where voters should be eager to choose among four African-Americans vying for two city council spots.
So why does Sanchez have a chance? Because of the Buffalo Bills, of course.
Late in the 1992 season, Buffalo's Frank Reich threw four touchdowns to overcome a 35-3 second-half deficit and propel the Bills to a 41-38 victory over Houston Oilers in the greatest comeback in NFL history.
It'll take similar Herculean heroics for Sanchez to rally, and he doesn't quite have the homefield advantage Buffalo enjoyed.
His biggest hope has to be that Iorio becomes overconfident, much like the Oilers. As USF professor Susan MacManus says, "complacency is the poison of runoffs."
Buddy Dyer, who became Orlando's new mayor last month after trailing opponent Pete Barr, is the latest in a long line of Florida politicians to rally for victory.
In 1996, Jim Davis overcame a double-digit defict against former Tampa mayor Sandy Freedman to win his congressional seat, and he won with the help of consultant Joe Johnson, who is is now working for Sanchez.
Yet Iorio seems even more formidable.
"We've seen how things can turn on a dime, but in this case, it would have to be a pretty shiny dime," MacManus said.
If I were Pam, I wouldn't implement a conservative defense like the Oilers did in that storied game. In football, it is known as the "prevent" defense, but sometimes, it only prevents you from winning.
When they first got the telephone calls, WFTS-Ch. 28 newscasters Sarina Fazan and Linda Hurtado thought it was a joke.
After all, even popular anchors aren't accustomed to being invited to New York by Glamour.
But you will find Fazan and Hurtado in the April issue of the magazine, which hits the newsstand today. They're part of a contingent of newscasters from around the country who agreed to have hair make-overs.
Naturally, they were nervous, but Hurtado just gave herself over to the hairstylist.
"I just said, "Hey, it'll grow back,' " Hurtado said. "Plus, I wanted a change."
Both anchors were flown to New York and given the five-star treatment. Fazan said it was an amazing experience.
As far as the results, both are pleased. The reaction from WFTS bosses and viewers has been favorable, and Hurtado told the magazine she feels "hip again."
Fazan noted her old style required 45 minutes of preparation, where the new shorter style is low-maintenance.
"I'm very, very flattered," she remarked.
The goal was to recognize a young teen who seemed to be on the right path, so in a recent column I wrote kind words about Delsha Stewart and the speech she gave at a Brandon Rotary meeting.
However, I should have noted she is the daughter of prominent attorneys Delano and Carolyn House Stewart, instead of just mentioning dad. Leaving out mom didn't sit too well in the Stewart home, and I felt even more sheepish at a Sunday reception as a parade of well-wishers congratulated Carolyn on being the new international secretary for Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority.
For the record, Carolyn House Stewart is a partner and shareholder with one of the city's oldest firms, MacFarlane, Ferguson and McMullen, and is believed to be the first African-American woman to become a partner at a major Tampa firm.
I guess when you're trying to recognize, you better represent.
That's all I'm saying.
_ Ernest Hooper can be reached at (813) 226-3406 or Hoopersptimes.com.