Do Not Pass Go Do Not Collect $200
Well it goes without saying the eyes of the nation were simply upon the opening weekend of the NFL and the slew of games staged by the league. Apart from the league’s intent to eulogize and commemorate those fell on September 11th 2001 this was also a time for the nation to adjudge how far it has come from that fateful day . Though I can remember the events clearly it still all seems so surreal for myself and many of my closest friends. Perhaps none more so , than those who just happen to be first responders (firemen, police officers and EMT’s) , many of whom traveled up to New York city to offer their services for the next few months in light of the events that took place .
Slide show for your perusal .
Here within the Tampa Bay area the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hosted the Detroit Lions at Raymond James Stadium in a game that was far from being a sellout and which was blacked out locally for television coverage due to that fact. What might be even more disconcerting was the mere fact that the Buccaneers had recently lost (died due to complexities — having suffered a stroke) their most influential and famed player , Hall of Fame great Lee Roy Selmon . Anyone who knows of the player’s accomplishment at the collegiate and professional level will know that Selmon was one of a kind , magnanimous , respected and above all a man of genuine integrity !
Josh Freeman (5) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is greeted by teammates during the season opener against the Detroit Lions at Raymond James Stadium on September 11, 2011 in Tampa, Florida. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images ….
With the game itself not being televised within the local community as is prefaced by the NFL rules , it was left for those outside that radius to witness the Buccaneers’ own eulogies to their former player and the fallen of 9/11 . Somehow as a fan of the NFL what I found disturbing was that there was no sign from anyone within the Tampa Buccaneers’ front office to take the lead and perhaps purchase the 7,500 that would have necessitated the game being a sellout . With there being MacDill Air Force Base in close proximity of Raymond James Stadium as well as a Veterans’ Administration medical facility as well as the local first responders within the community who have served the locale to the best of their ability . I found it something of a poor response from the organization and in particular the Glazer family as owners of the team ! One would have thought that this would have been such a wonderful way of bringing the community together , feting the contributions of Lee Roy Selmon within the community and commemorating the lives lost on 9/11 in a more effective way. But it would appear that Mark Dominik , Jason Dial , Malcolm , Bryan or Joel Glazer would appear to be insightful enough to realize that had they taken the opportunity of making such a magnanimous gesture in purchasing those 7,500 tickets and distributing them amongst the community , servicemen and first responders how it would be portrayed within the locale. But it is as I’ve always felt the Buccaneers’ ownership simply exists to bleed the community dry as and when needed !
Certainly for Schwartz and his coaching staff with the changes made during the off-season and the drafting of players to complement the existing roster . There may well have been reason enough for there to be a renewed belief in the team. And with the likes of Ndamukong Suh , Calvin Johnson , Nick Fairley , Titus Young and Jahvid Best all looking to show that this team has improved beyond its issues of last season .
For Buccaneers’ coach Raheem Morris coming into this season he knew that this team had something to prove . Their season ended abruptly in 2010 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers missing a playoff berth by failing to notch what would have been a season’s best 11th win in the NFC South . In what might be the most competitive division in all of the NFL the Buccaneers do facing a daunting task when one considers who the other residents are within the division. The New Orleans Saints , Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers will all will be looking to pre-empt and usurp any type of divisional supremacy that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers may well be seeking within the NFC South. I do believe that the Panthers will be a work in progress with Cam Newton looking to acclimatize himself within the NFL and the very fact that the team has a first year coach in Ron Rivera makes what appears to be an arduous task ahead for the organization .
Raheem Morris knows that with the improvements seen in Josh Freeman and the team’s offensive line they are bound to get better . GM Mark Dominik and the scouting department certainly made sure that on both sides of the ball the roster would be adequately served via the draft and that of free agency acquisitions . But overall the organization did not make the type of splash that many believed they need to make move themselves amongst the pack of major contenders within the NFC .
One of the more pleasing aspects of seeing this Buccaneers’ team play has been the leadership and maturity shown by Josh Freeman . The player alongside such seasoned veterans as Ronde Barber and Kellen Winslow Jr have applied themselves to the task at hand . But if anything it has been the play of Mike Williams and LeGarrette Blount that has given the real optimistic fans of the Buccaneers the greatest belief that this team is now ready to mount a serious challenge within the league . The defense of the Buccaneers has always maintained the team’s persona . And as and when needed they have continued to step up to the plate . But one should expect there to be problems that will arise when some of the players have missed assignments or simply have those momentary lapses in judgment . That was clearly the case as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers came up short in a 27-20 loss to the Detroit Lions that should simply have been avoided . The Buccaneers’ players know where the blame ought to be apportioned and I do believe that Raheem Morris and his coaching staff will hold those accountable when the players have their postgame analysis of the events that took place during their season opener !
Tampa Bay certainly did themselves no favors during the game but the lessons learned will be put into place when the team meets their next opponents the Minnesota Vikings this upcoming weekend at Mall of the Americas Stadium in Minneapolis , Minnesota in an NFC conference game.
In what I genuinely thought might be a couple of divisional races that might well have been over within baseball now look to be taking on a life of their very own . The wildcard races also now look to be more intriguing given the errant play of several of the teams that were ahead of the pack within those particular races . In the AL East the Tampa Bay Rays seem to be making a strong case that they might well be able to chase down the Boston Red Sox and gain that elusive wildcard berth within the AL. But I for one do believe that it may well be all too little , too late as the season for the team is now winding down .
For Joe Maddon and his coaching staff this has once again been a gallant effort on their part that simply ought to be admired given the lack of financial resources afforded this organization. The New York Yankees although they hold a 3.5 game lead over the second placed Red Sox and a seven game lead over the Tampa Bay Rays are not likely to take their feet off the gas pedal as they seek to win the division outright . Joe Girardi wants to take this Yankees’ team into the postseason playing at a consistently high level with many of the roster’s top players coming into their own and finding a rhythm.
No doubt for the Tampa Bay Rays this season could be judged as one as what might have been . Never one to find any real consistency for long stretches over the course of the year , missed after missed opportunity came for this Rays’ team to really stamp their authority within the division and across the landscape of the game as a whole . Sadly when those opportunities arise and you fail to take advantage of them , this is what tends to happen to an organization.
Fans watch as a large U.S. flag is displayed prior to the Boston Red Sox-Tampa Bay Rays baseball game Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011, in St. Petersburg, Fla. AP Photo/Terry Renna …..
What remains to be seen now for the Tampa Bay Rays as they move forward beyond this season will be the approach taken by the front office led by GM Andrew Friedman and senior managing partner Stuart Sternberg . We have all read repeatedly the problems that this organization has faced over the years and the very fact that the league hierarchy has provided very little assistance if any , to Sternberg and his partners, as they seek an accord in trying to get a new stadium built for the Tampa Bay Rays . But what else should one expect from an executive hierarchy that has simply shown little leadership under the guidance of Commissioner Bud Selig .
If there is anyone that I would on the Tampa Bay Rays’ roster as having had an outstanding season then it would have to be starting pitcher James Shields . He has simply stood head and shoulders above the rest of the pitchers on the team. But it would be remiss to suggest that he and the pitching staff have not been ably abetted by the defensive prowess shown by the members of this squad. At the end of the day however , we may well see the organization simply seek to further deplete this roster by trading away a number of the high salaried players on the team as they seek an influx of youth by way of their prospects , farm system , draft and the perfunctory use of low salaried players who they believe can still be productive for the organization . This now appears to be an a never-ending story that has now engulfed the game and something that Selig , the team owners and league hierarchy simply refuse to address .
In stark contrast while the Tampa Bay Rays simply struggles to remain relevant within the game considering the recent — success of the organization it has to be said without the competitiveness shown by organizations such as the Rays , I seriously doubt that the fans of the game would really take a genuine an overall interest in the stories that unfold over the course of the season.
Picture gallery for your perusal .
As the MLB season winds down and the NFL season has began , fans of both sports will certainly have something to look forward to with a great deal of interest. From my own standpoint , I will be looking forward to the postseason within baseball with a great deal of fervor but my biggest disappointment without a doubt was in seeing the poor showing of the Glazer family with regard to the lack of support in trying to make that Buccaneers’ season opener more of a determined success by making tickets available to members of the local community . Would it have been to much to ask given the solemnity of the occasion ? What thoughts if any do you have with regard to the points raised within this piece ? And by way of the NFL week one results which game by your own estimation was the biggest surprise ? Simply chime in with a comment on this and anything else you feel pertinent to the subject matter .
Alan aka tophatal ……… https://tophatal.wordpress.com
Picture and slide show details below .
(1) TAMPA, FL – SEPTEMBER 11: A #63 logo honoring defensive end Lee Roy Selmon is painted on the field at Raymond James Stadium as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the Detroit Lions in the season opener September 11, 2011 in Tampa, Florida. Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images ….
(2) Lee Roy Selmon seen here at Raymond James Stadium addresses the crowd at a celebration honoring the inductees into the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Ring of Honor . The player who suffered a stroke died last week and his burial took place this past Friday . Selmon having retired from the game as a lifelong Buccaneer remained in the area to become a successful businessman , philanthropist and AD at the University of South Florida . St Petersburg Times / Chris Marshall …….. .
(3) Wide receiver Nate Burleson (13) of the Detroit Lions dives toward the endzone during the season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium September 11, 2011 in Tampa, Florida. Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images …
(4) TAMPA, FL – SEPTEMBER 11: Running back Kregg Lumpkin (28) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers dives for a gain against the Detroit Lions September 11, 2011 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images ……
(5) Josh Freeman (5) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is greeted by teammates during the season opener against the Detroit Lions at Raymond James Stadium on September 11, 2011 in Tampa, Florida. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images ….
(6) Josh Freeman (5) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is tackled by Amari Spievey (42) of the Detroit Lions during the season opener at Raymond James Stadium on September 11, 2011 in Tampa, Florida. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images ….
(7) New Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris, second from right, poses for a photo with, from left, new general manager Mark Dominik, and executive vice presidents Edward Glazer, Bryan Glazer, and Joel Glazer during a news conference Saturday afternoon Jan. 17, 2009 in Tampa, Fla. Morris replaces Jon Gruden, who was fired on Friday. AP Photo/Chris O’Meara …..
(8) Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Jon Lester throws in the first inning during a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays, Sunday, Sept.11, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Fla. The Rays won 9-1 . AP Photo/Terry Renna ….
(9) Tampa Bay Rays’ B.J. Upton rounds the bases after hitting a grand slam during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011, in St. Petersburg, Fla. The Rays won 9-1. AP Photo/Terry Renna …
(10) ST. PETERSBURG, FL – SEPTEMBER 11: Pitcher James Shields (33) of the Tampa Bay Rays is congratulated after leaving the game in the ninth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Tropicana Field on September 11, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ……
(11) Fans of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrate during the singing of “God Bless America” during the game against the Boston Red Sox at Tropicana Field on September 11, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images) …….
(12) Fans watch as a large U.S. flag is displayed prior to the Boston Red Sox-Tampa Bay Rays baseball game Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011, in St. Petersburg, Fla. AP Photo/Terry Renna …..
(13) Pitcher James Shields (33) of the Tampa Bay Rays pitches against the Boston Red Sox during the game at Tropicana Field on September 11, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images …….
(14) Infielder Sean Rodriguez (1) of the Tampa Bay Rays forces Carl Crawford (13) of the Boston Red Sox at second base during the game at Tropicana Field on September 11, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images ……
MLB standings as of 11th September 2011
MLB wildcard standings as of 11th September 2011