When Tampa hosts the Super Bowl two years from today (Feb. 7, 2021), …
From surprising matchups to floating barges to political predictions, the Roundtable Team leaves no stone unturned in forecasting where we will be in two years.
Close but no Hav-a-Tampa
Rick Stroud, Bucs beat writer @NFLStroud: Bruce Arians will have made a big impact on the Bucs and QB Jameis Winston, who will be given the franchise tag for one season to determine whether to commit long-term. The Lightning will display the Stanley Cup in downtown Tampa for Super Bowl partiers to pose with. The Rays will announce plans to break ground on a new stadium in the Al Lang Field site. Finally, John Lynch will take his bows as a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame at Raymond James Stadium.
No home-team Super Bowl
Eduardo A. Encina, Bucs/pro sports enterprise writer, @EddieintheYard: … the Bucs won’t be in the game. They will have completed their second season under Bruce Arians, having trended upward each season but still not close to a Super Bowl. The Lightning will have won a second Stanley Cup. The talk around the Rays will be about how long Blake Snell remains in Tampa Bay. And the number of Taco Bus restaurants in the Bay Area will have expanded to 32.
Baker replaces Brady
Thomas Bassinger, sports data reporter, @tometrics: … we’ll watch the Cleveland Browns, led by MVP Baker Mayfield, compete for their first NFL championship since 1964. Their opponents: Dwayne Haskins, Saquon Barkley and the New York Giants.
Can the Bucs get tickets cheap?
Martin Fennelly, columnist @mjfennelly: … Tom Brady will be in the game. We know that. Let’s move on. The Lightning will have won the Stanley Cup, the Rays will have closed the lower deck, too, USF will still be in the AAC, Saints fans will still be burning Roger Goodell in effigy, Colin Kaepernick will still be out of work, even after the impeachment and Jameis Winston will take an Uber out of town. X-Rays on Bruce Arians will still show no signs of trouble. X-rays of Bucs will reveal no traces of playoffs.
Elementary, my dear Watson
Ernest Hooper, columnist/assistant sports editor, @hoop4you: … DeShaun Watson will be preparing to guide his Houston Texans team into a stadium where he led Clemson to a national title in January of 2017. On the other side will be the New Orleans Saints. Drew Brees will have come out of retirement to lead his old team after new starter Tua Tagovailoa’s season-ending injury, and the return will include an NFC Championship victory in which the game turns on a controversial no call on a pass intereference play. The Rays will have morphed into a roster of entirely made up of switch-hitting utility players, and the Lightning will be in rebuild mode after winning two Stanley Cups and Steven Stamkos’ retirement.
Rays break water on a new stadium
Mike Sherman, sports editor, @mikesherman: Inspired by the Lightning’s Stanley Cup and the Rays’ World Series victory flotillas in recent months, the Rays announce they are breaking water on their latest idea for exploiting a market inefficiency -- stadium-on-a-barge. (Didn’t you write that once, Martin?) The U.S. Merchant Marines Academy purchases naming rights. Speaking of inspiration, Jameis Winston, who inspired Bruce Arians’ ban on the use of the phrase “No risk it, no biscuit” at One Buc Place, will have cured his turnover tendencies enough for the Bucs to have reached the playoffs for the first time since 2007.