“Rehab “

By Tophatal

I don’t like to lend money to friends , or family , unless it’s of the utmost urgency ! However , with that in mind I find it less than sobering to see that once again the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in their season home opener will be unable to sell out their game against divisional rivals the Carolina Panthers . With a new head coach , coaching staff and several free agents signed in the off-season to coincide with the franchise’s draft picks in the 2012 NFL Draft . One would have thought that this would have piqued the interest of the fans within the locale . Instead , it has been a hard sell , ineffectively being marketed by the Buccaneers’ Sales and Marketing Department . The television ads have been mundane, without creativity and likewise within the print and radio areas, as well . I’m sorry , but whoever is leading this exercise on behalf of the Buccaneers needs to be relinquished of that position , immediately , and done so , without any compensation !


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Slide show.

Greg Schiano , in his first season as a head coach has an arduous and bold task ahead of him . All of the bravado cannot hide the fact that he will be under a great deal of pressure to succeed. His situation might may well have been impeded by the fact that with the franchise such a big splash in the off-season signing Vincent Jackson , one of most desired and sought after free agents in 2012 . Team GM Mark Dominik for his part , has been quick to sell the attributes of his new head coach and the fact that he brings the much-needed discipline not witnessed from this team in 2011. It remains to be seen what is brought to the table by Schiano and the team in its current guise prior to the their season unfolding .

Now one could be decidedly critical of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and specifically , of the Glazer family . However, to my mind , we have repeatedly seen such instances where the ownership have simply stood pat , rather than trying to lure the fans to attend games at Raymond James Stadium , in Tampa , Florida . Of the Buccaneers’ last seventeen regular season home games , 15 have been blacked out , due to the fact that franchise has been unable to sell the required allotment of tickets in avoid a league mandated blackout within the local television market. Also herein, we have had the idiocy of a member of the Florida state legislature trying to force the NFL to change its policy concerning this issue . I have always maintained that when you have a governmental agency intruding upon the commercial activity of any corporate enterprise , when their actions are not warranted , then no good can come from it all . This is not a legal matter but yet a state legislator with far more acute to deal within the state makes an ass himself within this area. Then again, this is Florida, where common sense simply and intelligence amongst its state legislature do not go hand in hand.

The Buccaneers for the present has a cordial relationship with the Tampa Sports Authority , owners of Raymond James Stadium, and the lessor of the venue to the franchise for their scheduled home games. That agency is a conduit for the Hillsborough County Government .

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are not the only NFL franchise to find themselves in such a position but unfortunately their situation is unlike any other , merely because of the longevity relating to the number of regular season blacked out games . And if I were to tell you that this Central Florida franchise is one of the most valuable teams within the league , then I believe it certainly makes this scenario all the more improbable . It would be remiss to suggest that Avram Glazer , COO, of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers should be magnanimous and philanthropic by offering several thousand tickets at a discounted price to the fans but this exercise has been executed before . One could point to the fact that Central Florida is in the midst of an economic downturn not seen in over seven years. High unemployment, a malaise within the community, and not much ingenuity being shown by the local politicians by way of creating an environment that invigorates the business environment, and leads to an upswing in employment.

As to the divisional match-up , this game has the makings of what will be something of an offensive minded collision of two teams . Throw in the fact that the two opposing quarterbacks in Cam Newton fresh off his record-breaking season , and Josh Freeman , who will be looking to improve their statistical marks of 2011 .

Coming off a 4-12 season in 2011, it is easy to understand why the front office decided to head in a new direction , with the firing of Raheem Morris as the as the Buccaneers’ head coach. The team was decidedly lackluster and we witnessed the regression of Josh Freeman throughout the entire Buccaneers’ schedule and that of the team as a whole . Ill-disciplined , a lack of accountability , and no leadership from any of the veterans on the roster , clearly indicated that the team was heading in the wrong direction. A great deal more is expected of Freeman this season , with the player being given an array of options offense , with Vincent Jackson , LeGarrette Blount and rookie full-back —- Doug Wilson . However, Greg Schiano will undoubtedly, be looking to see more from his revamped defense . Mason Foster, Gerald McCoy and Mark Barron will be asked to make sizeable contributions to a defense that ranked amongst the worst in the NFC and the league as a whole last season.

Of all the games in week one of the NFL season openers , perhaps the most eagerly anticipated, might be the return of Peyton Manning as he leads the Denver Broncos in their season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers . In the aftermath of last season’s wildcard round of the NFL Playoffs , when the Steelers were subjected to a rather humiliating loss to the Broncos , who were led at the time by Tim Tebow . It has to be said, that the defeat left a bitter taste in the mouths of the Steelers’ players and the abrupt end to their postseason foray in 2011 .

In what was a career defining moment for Tebow, in many ways was also a sign that the player while undoubtedly not lacking in heart , as he left a lot to be desired as a quarterback in the NFL . In the off-season , John Elway , Head of Operations for the Denver Broncos, made the decision that the franchise needed a veteran quarterback to lead the team. With four-time league MVP Peyton Manning available, after being cut by the Indianapolis Colts , it seemed only natural that Elway would pursue the former Colts’ quarterback. With Manning now firmly entrenched as part of head coach’s John Fox’s offense , the player also becomes a quasi on-field offensive coordinator , thereby further assisting the offensive mindset of Fox’s coaching staff.

Manning’s acquisition made for a great story during the off-season and then when you add in the fact , that his younger sibling Eli Manning led the New York Giants to their second —- Superbowl in five years . Then you can understand the numerous reasons why Peyton Manning seeks to reassert himself as the top quarterback in the NFL. In what amounts to be a division that a number of fans believe to be a foregone conclusion , there is the belief that the Broncos will stroll through the AFC West with consummate ease . The Kansas City Chiefs , San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders, would like nothing better than to rewrite the script, to add their own ending to the plot-line that’s said to have been scripted. An 8-8 mark in 2011, garnered the Broncos the division and a berth in the postseason of 2011. I don’t believe that such a mark will be conclusive enough to repeat that feat but I could very well be wrong in that assumption ! The Broncos’ regular season meetings against the Chargers , Chiefs and Raiders , could very well provide us with the premise that we seek.

The opposing quarterback in this game will be two-time Superbowl winner Ben Roethlisberger . Coming off a 12-4 season in 2011 , having finished second within the AFC North to the Baltimore Ravens . Mike Tomlin and his players will this season seek to reassert themselves not only within the AFC but also within the NFL. With several nicked up players, the injury bug seems to have caught up to the Steelers’ aging core of veterans on the roster. However, with the departures and free agency acquisitions , alongside what has been determined to be a very good Steelers’ draft class of 2012. The thinking has to be, that Tomlin and the coaching staff will be well served by this unit, as they march forward this season.

the loss of Bruce Arians as the Steelers’ offensive coordinator has led to some discord between Roethlisberger and Arians’ successor Todd Haley . Haley has sought more of a run-first offense , whereas the quarterback was quite happy with Arians’ playbook of the passing option for the majority of the Steelers’ plays. This season and it remains a work in progress for Ben Roethlisberger and his teammates in adapting to Todd Haley’s offensive playbook. Mike Tomlin has made it clear he wants his offense clicking on all cylinders as the their season takes shape. The first signs where he will be able to gauge its success will be the game against the Indianapolis Colts’ defense.



Picture gallery .

Week one of the regular season , which games of the regular season do you believe will be the most anticipated ? Also in light of the repeated problems facing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers being unable to sellout a number of their regular season home games , is it your opinion that the team ownership should bear the burden of making sure that those unsold tickets be purchased by club ? Or do you believe that the NFL should be doing more to assist the franchises in meeting that goal ? Do take this opportunity to leave a comment on this topic and anything else you believe to pertinent to the subject matter.


Picture and slide show details below.

(1) FILE – In this Aug. 24, 2012, file photo, Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Vincent Jackson looks for yardage during their NFL preseason football game against the New England Patriots in Tampa, Fla. The Buccaneers were 27th in the NFL in scoring and also had one of the league’s least productive running games last year, but the team is counting on their rising young quarterback, multiple veteran free agent acquisitions and a new head coach to make a difference. The Buccaneers are scheduled to begin their regular season on Sept. 9 at home against the Carolina Panthers. AP Photo/Dave Martin ….

(2) FILE – In this Aug. 24, 2012, file photo, Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano watches from the sideline during an NFL preseason football game against the New England Patriots in Tampa, Fla. The Buccaneers were 27th in the NFL in scoring and also had one of the league’s least productive running games last year, but the team is counting on their rising young quarterback, multiple veteran free agent acquisitions and a new head coach to make a difference. The Buccaneers are scheduled to begin their regular season on Sept. 9 at home against the Carolina Panthers. AP Photo/Chris O’Meara ….

(3) Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Josh Freeman (5) throws for a first down in the first half against the New England Patriots during their NFL preseason football game in Tampa, Fla., Friday, Aug. 24, 2012. AP Photo/Dave Martin …

(4) Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ GM Mark Dominik in his third year as the front office executive of the organization is presiding over the revamping of the team , with a new head coach acquisitions and draft picks by franchise in 2012. AP/ Getty Images / Nolan Turner …

(5) Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) avoids a tackle by New York Jets linebacker Aaron Maybin (51) during the first half of a preseason NFL football game , Sunday, Aug. 26, 2012, in East Rutherford, N.J. AP Photo/Bill Kostroun …

(6) Denver Broncos head coach John Fox, left, reacts to a call against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL preseason football game , Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012, in Glendale, Ariz. AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin ….

(7) Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) goes over plays with teammates Adam Weber (2) and Brock Osweiler during the first half of an NFL preseason football game, Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012, in Glendale, Ariz. AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin ….

(8) FILE – In this Aug. 26, 2012, file photo, Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) passes against the San Francisco 49ers during the first quarter of an NFL preseason football game in Denver. No need to ask Steelers coach Mike Tomlin if Peyton Manning is back. As far as Tomlin is concerned, the Broncos quarterback never left. AP Photo/Jack Dempsey …..

(9) Denver Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno (27) rushes as Arizona Cardinals defensive tackle Dan Williams (92) and Daryl Washington (58) defend during the first half of an NFL preseason football game , Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012, in Glendale, Ariz. AP Photo/Matt York …..

(10) Pittsburgh Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger throws under pressure from Buffalo Bills’ Nick Barnett (50) during the first half of a preseason NFL football game in Orchard Park, N.Y., Saturday, Aug. 25, 2012. AP Photo/Gary Wiepert ………


NB : Read more NFL pieces within this site @ Tophatal’s Blog category NFL


NFL news and news from around the league

NFL schedule week 1 & NFL results week 1

NFL standings by division & NFL standings by conference

2012 NFL Draft


Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ news

Tampa Bay Buccaneers profile

Tampa Bay Buccaneers roster

Tampa Bay Buccaneers schedule

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2012 draft picks

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Rihanna …. Feat’g Justin Timberlake …… Rehab “

Author: tophatal ...........

Brit ex-pat living C Florida . Now working with a consultancy firm in the field of corporate governance on the international front , concerning economic policies . Also covering the area of finance , banking, international banking. An MBA graduate from the (LSE) and UCL (London) , M&A (mergers & acquisitions), economics , risk management & assessment . Martial artist (tae-kwondo, karate, savate , muy-thai) & an vowed sports ' fan , sports' junkie. Served in armed forces British ... Royal Marines . Taught unarmed combat to members of the military and also competed in tournaments prior to joining the Royal Marines . Also an avid motorcycle junkie & free running enthusiast . Tech geek and computer repair technician. Entertainment: Musical tastes _ reggae, r&b, soul, hip-hop, rap , jazz, classical. Film genres , Preferably thrillers , crime dramas Hobbies ..... reading biographies & anything by John Grisham Just a lil' something to make me feel comfortable ! Tophatal

23 thoughts on ““Rehab””

  1. Someone explain to me how excuses are now being made by Bucs’ fans for the ongoing anemic support this franchise receives from their so-called supporters . Tampa is a second class city with ideas of grandeur well above its social and economic standing . F#ck the events of the RNC Convention last week , as the economic impact that was to have materialized , simply didn’t happen ! The Glazers have the idiots of the city council and that of Hillsborough County eating out of their hands, while at the same time , those very same politicians continue to kiss the a#s of the Glazer family .

    If you listen carefully , you might be able to hear a pin drop while the game is in process due to the sparsity of the crowd attendance at Raymond James Stadium for today’s game .

    Meanwhile this Bucs’ team will struggle over the course of the season because Josh Freeman simply hasn’t shown the maturity and or progress in his play since being drafted 17th overall in the 2009 NFL Draft . The play expected of the quarterback has been erratic and decision making and leadership has repeatedly come into question and he has received little encouragement from the seasoned veterans on the roster !

    That was then , this is now .

    Peyton Manning and the Broncos should have a great game against the Steelers this Sunday , in what might turn out to be one of the highest watched regular season games in recent NFL history .


    Gotta love Wedndy , haven’t you ?

    Bucs’ fans can take heart if the stands at the Ray J just happens to be sparse as you can always consider watching paint dry . Or better yet , simply peruse a Wendy Fiore pictorial and see her rather revealing assets .

    Yeah baby , more bubbles , no problem ……………… imagination , son , imagination !

    Tophatal ………………….


  2. Malcolm Glazer (right) and two of his sons .

    ” Sons , I care about the Bucs but Man Utd simply interests me more ! They’re worth more god-damn it ” ! Malcolm Glazer

    50 most valuable professional sports’ franchises globally .

    Freeman has to succeed this season rather showing the regression of last year .

    Freeman’s career gamelog and career stats

    Let’s see what sort of start the Bucs can get off to compared to 2011 , 2010 and 2009 .

    Broncos’ owner Pat Bowlen , (left) , Manning (center) and EVP John Elway

    Also can Peyton Manning be a winner in his first game back in the NFL in almost two years ? These questions and others will be answered in the first week of the regular season of the 2012-13 NFL schedule

    Tophatal ………………


      1. Sam’s Sports’ Brief

        It’s not just the attendance with the Buccaneers but the very fact that they have failed to develop consistent Pro Bowl caliber type player year and year out that the fans will sit up and take notice of .

        It has been only through Tony Dungy’s reign that the Bucs started to produce a plethora of Pro Bowlers . What does that tell you about Dungy as a head coach and his subsequent successors ?

        Buccaneers head to head series with Carolina Panthers .



  3. I am having toruble getting into the NFL. I really don’t care what happens. It’s really not that important in the scope of things,


    1. Bobby Gee

      For me , it's not so much the NFL but all of the controversy during the off-season that has now dragged into the regular season. The Saints' scandal simply won't die , further damaging the league's image . Not only that but Roger Goodell , now looks an even bigger fool than anyone could ever have perceived ! This pompous ass in the space of 14 months have forced the fans to endure two lockouts , without cause simply because of his damn ego and that of the team owners’ , who in essence are the league hierarchy .

      The stoppage concerning the referees’ union (NFLRA) are no closer to being resolved because one again the talks have broken down , without either side coming close to even reaching a reasonable accord . Thanks ” commish” , but no thanks !

      College Football and the lack of competition at present has become mundane !

      Tophatal ……….


  4. With all of the financial inducements that the city of Tampa and Hillsborough County Council grants the Tampa Bay Bucaneers one would have thought that Malcolm Glazer as a magnanimous gesture would at least offer some tickets to the servicemen and women at McDill AFB for today’s upcoming game . All this from a man whose estimated worth is in the region of $2 billion .

    Fans in the locale are too ingrained view this franchise as the best show in town in terms of value , which the Bucs are most definitely not !

    Bucs attendance in recent years 2011 (30th) , 2010 ( 31st ) , 2009 ( 27th) , 2008 (23rd) , 2007 (21st) & 2006 (23rd of 32 NFL franchises ) , 2005 .

    Information concerning Buccaneers’ home venue Raymond James Stadium in Tampa , Florida. The stadium is owned by the Tampa Bay Sports Authority , the recreational and commercial enterprise arm of the Tampa City Council .

    Avg attendance for Bucs’ home games in 2011 56,614 and total attendance for those 8 home games —– 396,300 (ranks 31st of 32 teams ) . Those figures are a damning indictment as to how anemic the support for this franchise just happens to be . No excuses about this having to do with the economic environment .

    Tophatal …………


  5. Some great points here in this article. I really cannot recall this sport ever capturing the imagination and attention of this city. Not the greatest football town in the league.
    When football came to Tampa there was some excitement but once the novelty wore off it just never was the same. I honestly don’t know if a winning team would make that much of a difference to the area.
    The other game of interest to me besides the Broncos, is the Baltimore-Cincinnati matchup. Not from a nostalgic viewpoint as Manning ‘s would be, but from strictly 2 teams in the same division that will spend the season fighting for 1st as I think the Steelers will regress some this year.
    Nice article Alan!


    1. fantasy furnace/ Hank

      All three major professional sports have struggled to take hold within this market and each of the franchises in question struggles with attendance . The stories concerning the Rays have been well chronicled as to their financial woes , lack of a real fan-base and that they happen to be is one of the worst supported franchises in all of baseball .

      The Lightning having won the Stanley Cup haven’t been the same franchise since , albeit that Steve Stamkos is the best player on the team and one of the league’s best players ; and most recognizable faces . Now you have the idiocy of the NHL being on the verge of another lockout ! Self inflicted wounds because of NHL commissioner Gary Bettman . Attendance for the Lightning last season was somewhat anemic

      In the case of the Bucs , what you see is what you get , an inconsistent NFL franchise that is still living off past glories and their victory in Superbowl XXXVII (SB37) . And as you can see attendance for the team’s home games has been anemic . The current issue with the Buccaneers’ attendance has nothing to do with the economic climate but more to the lack of insight and business acumen by the front office and specifically their Marketing and Sales Department . Those morons would have a hard time selling sand to the Arabs or ice to the Eskimos !

      Thanks for chiming in with a comment !

      Tophatal ……..


  6. Well…I just hope that Peyton does not become injured. But Docs said he was good to go, so….
    Always liked Peyton. Dunno what is with your Bucs, but perhaps winning some games might just improve the attendence….course damn tickets are just too damn costly throughout the League; even nosebleed seats are out of sight.


    1. al clements

      Peyton Manning will be fine just as long as that O line can protect him throughout the Broncos’season . If not , then his return will come to an abrupt end .

      They’re not my Bucs ! Never have been and never will be ! . The only time I was ever truly enamored with the franchise was during the reign of Tony Dungy . His subsequent successors have been poor and that includes Jon Gruden , who has never truly developed any player personnel , or play talent during his coaching career . Only an idiot would try and claim that it was because of Gruden , that Rich Gannon became an MVP caliber quarterback .

      Gruden may well have won a Superbowl with the Bucs but simply look at his record in the years afterwards , and the draft picks during his reign with the franchise . What player in his wake has truly developed come to the fore for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers ? Even their own die-hard fans would be hard pressed to name one damn player !

      Fun bags anyone ?

      Tophatal ……………………..


  7. RGIII shreds the Saints’ defense on the way to the Redskins’ to putting up their biggest points’ total in a victory (40-32) in in at least six years .

    The Bucs look good on their way to a very good win over the Panthers . Unfortunately within the stadium you could hear a pin drop because of the deadly silence and the lack of passionate support from the Bucs fans in attendance at Raymond James Stadium .

    Of the five rookie starting quarterbacks starting this past Sunday , only one player led his team to victory .

    Tonight there’s a double-header with the Bengals at Ravens. Game two features the Chargers against the Raiders .

    Tophatal <……….


  8. Al…

    You’re not giving Tampa Bay fans nearly enough grief.

    Look, I know exactly where the stadium is, who and when the Buccaneers play, just as everyone else in this immediate area. No extra-special, marketing plan is going to get me to go to a game.

    I work on Sundays but I sure as hell would like to watch my team on the TV.

    When do the fans in the area shoulder some of the blame?


    1. Since I moved up from South Florida in 2003 , I’ve attended 11 Bucs’ home games in total . Some of those games were a great spectacle to watch , while others were a monotonous bore ! . My point is , the Glazers simply haven’t done enough in conjunction with the community to ensure sellouts for these blacked out games . MacDill is not that far away , so you can’t tell me that the servicemen and women wouldn’t be appreciative of receiving several hundred tickets or the front office donating ….. some tickets to local charities as a magnanimous gesture .

      As I continue to maintain , as knowledgeable as the fans within the area just happen to be , they are nothing more than fair weather fans for the Bucs , Lightning and Rays !


      Tophatal …………………..


      1. From what I’ve seen from the housing down at MacDill, Al, those guys can probably afford their own tickets but your point is well taken. The Glazers are, well, who they are and certainly hold their share of the blame.


        1. Chris Humpherys

          After the re-listing in the IPO (initial public offering) of Manchester United shares on stock exchanges in London , New York and Hong Kong . The Glazers were seeking to raise between $400 to $ 600 million in new capital to pay down the considerable debt that the soccer club still maintains . If they are unable to do that in a timely fashion then the club cannot enter any of the major European club competitions ________________ specifically the UEFA Champions League tournament , which is very lucrative .

          Either the Glazers become hands on concerning the Bucs and devote more of an effort there or they choose to sell the NFL franchise to someone who actually cares , rather than the continued abuses we now see from them concerning the city of Tampa , Hillsborough County and the Tampa Bay Sports Authority . In 2010 the Bucs owned the TBSA in excess of $750,000 that went unpaid for almost 18 months . Rather than the city going after the club via the proper legal channels , they instead started cut staff within the city personnel , all under the abeyance of then Mayor Pam Iiorio and the city’s legal advisers .

          The Bucs as a franchise , are worth in excess of $1.3 billion , and they couldn’t afford to pay a city governmental agency a lousy goddamn three-quarter of a million dollars ? Cheap bastards !

          In the 2012-13 season UEFA brings in incremental rules that will seek that teams in all of their club competitions do not maintain a weighted debt-ratio that is 3 1/2 times their gross revenues . It will affect clubs such as Man Utd ( debts $1.1 billion) , Real Madrid , Barcelona (top Spanish sides) and several of the prominent Series` A clubs in Italy . It was one of the reasons why the Red Sox ownership were able to buy Liverpool FC on the cheap , as the club was sought to stave off bankruptcy proceedings in the Chancery Division of the Crown Courts in London .

          Bianca Beauchamp


          Tophatal …………..


        2. sportschump

          I’m not going to begrudge the guy gals at MacDill from earning their piece of government “cheese ” , after-all they’ve deserved it in serving the country . My only issue is how the government treats them at large ! Both of these Presidential candidates will only pay them ” lip service” by saying what they believe we want to hear but when it comes to actions their deeds are simply not there !

          Lanny Barby


          Your thoughts on the Bucs taking on the Giants this weekend ?

          Tophatal ……


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