By Doug Kelly
No, I’m not jinxing the Bucs in the Super Bowl matchup this Sunday night by prematurely announcing they won it. After all, the Bucs did the trick many moons ago, but any proclamation of being called champions have long since been preceded by the words “were” and “formerly.”
But just for ships and giggles, let’s dust off that old NFL season’s reel just for this paragraph. Indeed, the images of then-Coach Jon Gruden and the Bucs hoisting the Lombardi Trophy signaling NFL supremacy in 2003 have gotten as old as reruns of The Terminator. Memories of then-Bucs QB Brad Johnson are as faded as a Sonny Jurgensen fade pass.
It’s time to make some bold predictions about the outcome of the big game this Sunday. Even if you think that Xs and Os only stand for hugs and kisses, it seems everyone hereabouts has a prediction on the outcome. And so, I’ve imposed on some friends around town to do just that.
One person audaciously picked the Chiefs to win, and in the interest of public safety won’t mention her name. Her hubby, however, went for the Bucs as did all those listed below. Hey, I know all about domestic differences – my son went to Florida State and I the University of Miami, so we don’t talk much when the Seminoles and Canes collide every year.
Most say it’ll be a close game while a few envision the Bucs beating the snot out of the Chiefs. I hope the latter is true, and I sincerely wish no injury to any player. However, let it be known that a Patrick Mahomes doll sits within proximity of my pit bull terrier. If the Chiefs dare beat our Bucs, well … one tip of that doll and … just sayin’.
This game portends a fitting season finale that’s been lit on fire by Tom Brady, a tall, handsome fellow who’s transferred his winning ways as a New England Patriot to our Beautiful Bucs. Brady’s Bucs have ignited the players, ignited the coaches, ignited all of Tampa Bay.
So, here are the predictions of some of your neighbors in the order received:
Chris Latvala, District 67 Florida State Representative: 31-21
Ronnie White, Community Activist: 28-24
Dawson Ehlers, son of Clearwater Fire Chief Scott Ehlers: 34-31
Frank Dame, CEO of the Clearwater Marine Aquarium: 31-28
Brian Aungst Jr., Attorney & Community Activist: 31-28
Dan Slaughter, Clearwater Chief of Police: 31-28
Chuck Warrington, Managing Director of Clearwater Gas Co., 42-35
Ed Bogacki, Owner of Gold Gyms in Clearwater & Tampa: 30-27
Frank Chivas, Owner of Baystar Restaurant Group: 49-27
Sam Hutkin, President of the Clearwater Beach Association: 30-28
Carl Schrader, Owner of Schrader Accounting, 31-27
Marco Rubio, Florida U.S. Senator: 27-24
Matt Noyes, Attorney: 28-24; his son Jacob: 31-28
Amanda Payne, CEO of Amplify Clearwater, 38-18
Van Farber, Community Activist: 34-31
Bob Roperti, Voted 2020’s Mr. Clearwater: 38-35
Sheri Heilman, Co-Owner of Bob Heilman’s Beachcomber Restaurant: 30-27
Michael Delk, Clearwater Assistant City Manager: 37-34
Jennifer Obermaier, Clearwater Library Director: 31-27
Hoyt Hamilton, Clearwater City Councilmember: 31-27
Billy Day, Owner of East Shore Resort: 24-17
Charlie Crist, Dist. 13 U.S. Congressman: 38-28
So there you have it. Let’s see who hits the numbers on the nose. And when the final whistle blows around 11 p.m. Sunday, us Buccaneer boosters don’t wanna hear it’s been a great achievement just getting to the Super Bowl. Hell no, we want it ALL.
It’s high time for a fresh image to replace the fossilized version of Gruden and the Bucs, ’tis it not? Yep, you bet your Hail Mary it does, so let’s get ready to savor the portrait of Coach Bruce Arians and the Bucs hoisting the 2021 Lombardi Trophy.
Let’s do it, Bucs!
Feature photo bay 3D Animation Production Company on Pixabay