I'm too young to know what it was like to see Joe Namath in a Rams Uniform, or Johnny Unitas as a Charger. So I can only equate it to recent history, as I'm sure Packer fans throw up seeing Brett Favre in a Jet Uni, or imagine Buffalo fans tuning in to see Thurman Thomas...in a Dolphin Jersey!
As Tampa Bay fans we were always immune to these effects. Vinny in Browns colors brought about as many Cheers as Jeers. In fact, it became common place for Buccaneer players to find greener pastures with other teams. Chris Chandler, Steve Young, Doug Williams, Trent Dilfer all went to SuperBowls after leaving their Dale Mabry Address.
But then came the Pewter TurnAround...and with it our true first set of heroes, Superbowl winning heroes! Even the ones who didnt make it to 2002 but helped in the turnaround like Hardy Nickerson, Dave Moore, and Brad Culppeper gave us a lump in our throught to watch them leave. We had never been so close to players before, players who had done so much. We were so used to watching the losing, that we almost knew in the back of our heads that if anybody where to come and turn this around they would mean so much to us. Then you have to add in the age of the internet where we can go on boards and discuss our favorite players, and go to their web pages and learn so much about these players that only a reporter could teach us before.
This community we call Tampa Bay had a hard time letting go of these Sports Heroes of ours. Fan uproar over the decreased playing time of Mike Alstott, and the cutting of Buccaneer First Citizen Derrick Brooks is one of the many ways we grieved over losing these familiar faces we have cheered on and who did so much for us, for our team!
Funny byproduct of our heroes getting so famous and well known....We still get to see them! It was just announced that former Safety John Lynch will be in the booth for Tampa Bay Preseason games on NBC, and we will probably see him during the regular season too as that is his new job: Fox Sports analyst.
A few channels down the dial, and you'll find uber fan favorite and John's former coach Tony Dungy working with NBC starting this year as an analyst for Sunday Night Football. With the flexible scheduling, if the Bucs are having a good year, we could hear Tony's opinions on our Pewter Pirates. Before the games even start on Sunday, you can find former Defensive Tackle Warren Sapp scrimmaging again with Marshall Faulk like it was 1999! ...And dont touch that dial! No matter if you consider him a hero or not, the Coach who took us to our SuperBowl victory will be teaching us X's and O's on Monday Nights this year!
So we dont have to look far to find our Boys on our screens...Now then, Any Chance Kenyatta Walker will be doing his False Start/ Holding act on SportsCenter?