John Romano - Sports Columnist

Sports Columnist

Finding the right career can be hit-and-miss. In my case, it was swing-and-miss. When Major League Baseball scouts declined to watch me play, or even acknowledge my existence, journalism seemed like a plausible fallback plan. I started covering prep sports for St. Petersburg's Evening Independent as an 18 year old college freshman, and have worked for newspapers ever since. I have a daughter in college, a son in high school and a wife in charge. And I still can't hit the curveball.

  1. Chris Godwin's production has dropped off as the Bucs have transitioned to a new style of offense that does not cater as much to Godwin's ability to make tough catches in traffic across the middle.
  2. The spotlight is likely to get much brighter on Bucs quarterback Baker Mayfield after his bounce-back season in Tampa Bay in 2023. Mayfield could be one of the top two free-agent quarterbacks available in the offseason.
  3. Bucs linebacker J.J. Russell (51) celebrates his first NFL sack while Panthers linemen help quarterback Bryce Young to his feet late in the third quarter of Sunday's 21-18 Bucs victory.
  4. The College Football Playoff committee's rationale for leaving Florida State out of the playoff picture? The season-ending  injury to quarterback Jordan Travis.
  5. The Rays have embraced their St. Petersburg home (along with their mascot Raymond) but that does not mean the team does not need the region-wide support indicated by the Tampa Bay moniker.
  6. USF quarterback Byrum Brown was the only freshman in the nation with more than 3,000 passing yards and 700 rushing yards in 2023. His performance has Bulls fans worried that high-profile programs might want to entice Brown into transferring.
  7. He won 11 of his first 21 games as Bucs head coach and earned a division title in 2022, but Todd Bowles is under increasing heat as Tampa Bay has lost six of its last seven games.
  8. Even at 4-7 with six losses in the past seven games, running back Rachaad White and Bucs fans still have reason to be hopeful. With four division games remaining, the Bucs actually control their own destiny in the NFC South.
  9. Florida State linebacker Kalen DeLoach (4) celebrates with defensive lineman Patrick Payton (11) after he intercepted a Florida pass late in the second half of Saturday's game in Gainesville.
  10. Just about two months after undergoing back surgery, Andrei Vasilevskiy returned to the active roster on Friday night in an 8-2 victory at Carolina. He is now 265-123-28 in his NHL career with another 65 wins in the postseason.
  11. When they left the Superdome with a 26-9 win against the Saints on Oct. 1, the Bucs were in control of the NFC South. A loss at home to Atlanta a few weeks later seriously jeopardized their chances, but Tampa Bay still has an outside shot at a third consecutive division title.
  12. More than 30 months after Gov. Ron DeSantis and Marcellus Osceola Jr., chairperson of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, celebrated a new gambling compact in 2021, sports betting is finally up and running in Florida.
  13. Carlton Davis dives in vain against 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel (19) in Sunday's 27-14 Tampa Bay loss. The Bucs secondary has given up an average of 302 passing yard the past six games.
  14. The Rays have survived regular seasons without Blake Snell, but they could have used their former ace in the playoffs after first-round losses the past three seasons.
  15. In his first season in Tampa Bay, offensive coordinator Dave Canales has the Bucs scoring slightly better than last season while also protecting the ball from turnovers.
  16. Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans (13) catches a pass from quarterback Baker Mayfield and goes on to score a touchdown in the third quarter Sunday against the Titans.
  17. Todd Bowles and Jon Gruden are the only head coaches in Tampa Bay history to take the Bucs to the playoffs in their first year on the job. But halfway through his second season, Bowles has an 11-14 record in Tampa Bay and the Bucs are on a four-game skid.
  18. The futures of quarterback Baker Mayfield and head coach Todd Bowles could both get a boost — or a nail in the coffin — depending on how Sunday's game against the Titans turns out for the Buccaneers.
  19. The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino is expected to resume in-person sports betting on Dec. 8. On Tuesday, the Seminole Tribe quietly re-introduced its sports betting app for existing customers.
  20. Texans wide receiver Tank Dell (3) makes the winning touchdown catch against the Bucs on Sunday with 6 seconds to spare in the game.
  21. A near-miss of a sack against Chicago's Justin Fields in Week 2 has been the only quarterback hit Devin White has been credited with in 2023.
  22. His return to Anaheim did not go as anticipated, but Joe Maddon's legacy in baseball is secure after turning around the Rays and winning a World Series on Chicago's north side for the first time in more than a century.
  23. Georgia defensive lineman Mykel Williams (13) and linebacker Damon Wilson Jr. (35) sack Florida quarterback Graham Mertz (15) during the first half Saturday in Jacksonville.