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Martin Fennelly - Sports columnist

Sports columnist

I was born in Queens, a New York City borough, and can still remember my dad taking us to the airport. Where we’d lie on the roof of the family wagon and hear the blood roar of planes as they landed. Then we’d get Carvel. Life remains that simple to me, even after all these years, including the last two at the Times, where I began in May 2016. I’m not lying on a roof, but in 27 years writing sports in Tampa Bay (including a quarter century stint at the Tampa Tribune), I’ve seen the great and the not so great. But I’ve always enjoyed the human element running through these games and the people who play them. Telling their stories and others is still as fresh, as meaningful, as rewarding to me as ever. And then I get Carvel.

  1. Tim Tebow answers a question during an interview on the set of ESPN's SEC Network in Charlotte, N.C.
    Martin Fennelly: His sanctimonious rant against college athletes being paid is out of line
  2. Tampa Bay Lightning forward Pat Maroon (14) during drills on the first day on the ice at the beginning of training camp at the Ice Sports Forum on September 13, 2019 in Brandon, FL.
    The veteran left winger, fresh from a championship in St. Louis, prepares to dig in with Tampa Bay
  3. UCF defensive back Aaron Robinson runs after intercepting a pass against Stanford during the first half of Saturday's 45-27 Knights win.
    Fennelly: Like last year and the year before, Saturday’s big win (this one over Stanford) isn’t music to every ear.
  4. Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88), center, along with defenseman Jan Rutta (44) and center Yanni Gourde (37) hope to avoid another post-season collapse, which included this 5-1 loss in April to the Blue Jackets in Game 2 of the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
    Fennelly: The Bolts’ season will be one long car ride until they reach the playoffs. What, if anything, did they learn from last season’s collapse?
  5. Los Angeles Rams center Austin Blythe (66) and Carolina Panthers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (93) run during a play in the second half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)
    Martin Fennelly: With the Bucs set to face their former defensive star Thursday in Charlotte, do not dismiss the power of haunting.
  6. Jameis Winston's third interception of the game sealed the Bucs' fate in a 31-17 loss to the San Francisco 49ers Sunday at Raymond James Stadium. The 49ers had only two interceptions all of last season.
    Martin Fennelly: Just like before, Winston’s bad mistakes cost the Bucs in a bad 31-17 loss to San Francisco.
  7. Bucs cornerback Vernon Hargreaves is the only starter still standing from Tampa Bay's 2016 draft. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)
    Martin Fennelly: The former first-round pick is still around, and at age 24 is the elder statesman of Tampa Bay’s secondary.
  8. Florida State coach Willie Taggart, left, and USF coach Charlie Strong, right, have gotten off to horrible starts this season.
    Martin Fennelly: Deciding whose shoes you would prefer to walk in, the Florida State or USF head coach, is a pick-’em at the moment.
  9. Coach Bill Belichick holds the Vince Lombardi Trophy after last season's Super Bowl win over the Seahawks. Fans of a different avian mascot — the Eagles — think their team lost a Super Bowl because the Pats cheated.
    Martin Fennelly: What to give a league that has everything? A list of 100 people places and things that made the National Football League.
  10. In this Feb. 24, 2015, file photo, Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians speaks during a news conference in Tempe, Ariz.  NFL Films was embedded with the Arizona Cardinals in 2015 season. The result is ``All or Nothing,’’ an eight-part series that debuts Friday on Amazon. At the center of it all is Arians, one of the best coaches in professional football and certainly among its most colorful. (AP Photo/Matt York, File)
    Martin Fennelly: Tampa Bay’s new coach was the real ------ star of 2015 NFL Films documentary. There’s still time for a Bucs fan binge-watch before Sunday’s opener.