1. Archive


Published Oct. 19, 2008

This week's electronic conversation between Sports columnists John Romano and Gary Shelton:

JR: They are not exactly Csonka and Kiick. They are more like the old and the overlooked. But tell me, Gary, how impressed are you with Warrick Dunn and Earnest Graham in the Tampa Bay backfield?

GS: They have been great all season. Last week, though, was something. Can you imagine any other featured tailback in the NFL volunteering to move to fullback? It's like moving from being Batman to being Alfred.

JR: Except Batman couldn't handle Alfred's job. Graham pulled it off as if he was born to play the position. Right now, they're on pace for 1,000-yard seasons, and I don't know which is the surer bet.

GS: I'd say Graham, but you're right: If they were any more impressive, their parents should have named them "Longoria" and "Upton."

JR: Let's review. Running backs sharing the ball? Good. Quarterbacks sharing the ball? Goofy.

GS: Sharing with Mickey?

JR: As long as we're not including Minnie in the deal.

GS: Good to see a grouchy old guy like you fired up. I would watch you do cartwheels, but then the refs would throw a flag. I'm still a little amazed after last week.

JR: Surprised by the humorless refs or by the wonderful Bucs?

GS: A bit of both, but mostly by the humorless souls who run the NFL. If a player is showing up an opponent or he has turned the end zone into a one-man dance review, fine, call a penalty. But over players having fun? Isn't football supposed to be fun?

JR: You start thinking like that and you're going to blow your chance at being commissioner. Meanwhile, how much fun do you suppose folks are having in Seattle with their Seahawks?

GS:Not much. All of a sudden, the football looks like gray skies and old coffee grounds. But at least Seneca Wallace gets back this week. Cartwheels for everyone!

JR: So what you're telling me is the Bucs are about to go to 5-2, which would be their best start since 2005. We both thought Tampa Bay was a borderline playoff contender. Are the Bucs actually better than that?

GS: Certainly, 5-2 looks doable. The Bucs should be able to win at home over a banged-up Seattle team. Whether they can get beyond the first round of the playoffs remains to be seen, though.

JR: What if they call up David Price?

GS: You're blurring lines again, Cheech. Tell me: Is this the coolest time ever to be a Tampa Bay sports fan?

JR: I suppose you could say that, but let's not forget the Storm's 1991 ArenaBowl championship.

GS: Never! Certainly not as long as they still make Storm Underoos.