GAME ON – MAY 20
By Rob Kriete

THE BUCS NEW NORMAL

First of all, and I will start EVERY article with this paragraph, sports pales in comparison with what is occurring with the Coronavirus. Hopefully, the columns that I, and the rest of our correspondents, provide you is a momentary escape from the trials and tribulations that Americans, and the rest of the world’s population, are experiencing. The COVID-19 is not a video game that you can press reset and get a new life. This is real and dangerous so, above all, be prudent and stay safe.

I hear the expression, and rather often nowadays, “The New Normal” as it applies to sports. “Normal” has always been a relative term, at best, anyway. In whatever capacity you are experiencing the new, old or ab-normal, I hope it includes good health for you and your loved ones.

Tom Brady, sporting an orange practice jersey while coordinating an unofficial practice with some of his Buccaneer teammates, is a “new normal” that most quarantined Bucs fans are understandably excited about. First, in my 30 years of living in Tampa, it has seemed that the favorite quarterback of every Pewter Pirate fan has always been the next one! It seemed rather normal when Bucs’ quarterbacks would leave Tampa Bay for greater glory elsewhere…often in Super Bowls. Perhaps a quarterback with an unparalleled resume coming to play for the Bucs is the new normal this town and team deserve.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have not normally been, with all due respect to the likes of Alvin Harper and Simeon Rice, a free agent magnet or a desired place to play. There was even a time when the great Bo Jackson threatened the franchise against drafting him. Yet, the scuttlebutt around the league has players talking openly about wanting to play with Tom Brady in Tampa. Heck, it prompted Rob Gronkowski to stop playing the role of “Rowdy Roddy Piper” in the WWE and suit up for the Red and Pewter (and Orange).

As we all navigate varying degrees of normal, I am excited for the upcoming Buccaneers season. I understand the risks that come with investing in a veteran quarterback, but this franchise has seen a lot of players become great for other teams. Now it is time for, arguably, the greatest quarterback to show us all a “new normal” in Tampa Bay.

I can’t wait until it’s GAME ON.  How about you?