3-1. The three wins were to average (at best) teams. The lone loss to one of the top teams thus far in the 2010 NFL season. Second place in the division. A showdown with the defending champs on the horizon. A win this weekend against the New Orleans Saints and we potentially jump into first place, or at least beat our win total from last year. If the Tampa Bay Buccaneers can come out of this game with a win, it will no doubt raise some eyebrows and put us squarely on the national stage with Peter King trying to find new ways to make up for his 2-14 prediction. A win this week and it validates the youth movement, the rebuilding effort, the free agency (non) moves. It puts our team's name into all the analysts mouths, how we're a young team with a young coach just having fun. We'll rise in power rankings, be dissected, we'll be clutch, in short, everyone who wrote us off will be forced to sing our praises.
But for all that, I say this. Give me the win, but you can keep the rest of that nonsense.
Regardless of what is said about the team, they still have to play on Sundays. Maybe I'm a bit cynical but I don't want those accolades. I always wondered why the Bucs didn't get more air time or receive real analysis over the years. Most of it is because we were a laughingstock to the rest of the league. And then it was because we didn't have any big name players on offense. Then it was because we sucked. And you know what, while I'd like for everyone to know who the Bucs are, at this point, I'd rather stay off the radar. Don't have other teams, fans and analysts jumping on the bandwagon.
I don't believe that any team in the NFL gets forgotten by other teams, but maybe overlooked. Afterall, we're supposed to be a doormat. After a 3-13 year, we were supposed to struggle. Truth be told, the team got better and the schedule got easier, a sure recipe to increase your win total. But I don't want to be lumped in with the other big boys at 3-1 or 4-1. Keep talking about how our wins are luck, how we're a bad team that is living right these days. Keep saying we haven't faced a test, that it's only a matter of time before the wheels fall off. I welcome that talk. I want the Bucs to be that "trap" game every team plays where they overlook them just enough to focus on the next game.
I don't think the Saints will overlook us for two reasons. They just lost to the Cardinals (ew) and they have the Browns next, not exactly a powerhouse. But I urge the Saints to focus on those Brownies. Look ahead to Hillis and Mangini. Don't focus on the missed field goal last year that kept us in the game, focus on the butt kicking you gave us at home. You don't need to prepare for us, overlook us, forget us. Then, send that memo to the rest of the NFL.
3-1. Unknown. Saying off the radar. I'll take this all season long.