01/14/18 TV and Radio
Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.
Excuse Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp for getting so carried away that he dropped the queen bee of curse words on live television Sunday. His team beat Manchester City 4-3, handing Man City its first loss in 23 Premier League games this season....
We've been a little busy lately.
What with Dirk Koetter staying and Evan Longoria going. We've been distracted by UCF and amazed by Alabama. There has been Jon Gruden news and what is shaping up to be a very special season for the Lightning.
With all that going on, we've lost track of college basketball. Believe it or not, we're only a couple of weeks away from March Madness.
So now seems like a good time to catch up with what is going on in college hoops....
01/12/18 Lightning Strikes
Nothing comes easy. Not when you're trying to win a Stanley Cup.
The Lightning is finding that out.
For nearly four months, things have gone about as smoothly as they could for the Lightning.
Best record in hockey. Top scorers in the league. Best goalie in the business. Scoring goals at a crazy clip. Beating teams any which way you want.
We're barely more than halfway through the season and the Lightning has all but locked down a playoff spot....
Nick Saban is the greatest college football coach of all-time.
The current Alabama run — five titles in nine seasons — belongs at the top of any dynasty in the history of the sport. To do what Bama has done in this day and age of parity is remarkable
So, naturally, the question becomes: How do they do it?
Yes, they have talent. Start there. They have tons and tons of talent, more than the other guy in most cases....
01/07/18 TV and Radio
Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports:
The big coaching news in the NFL, of course, is Jon Gruden joining the Raiders for a ridiculous $100 million. But overlooked in the news is that Gruden will no longer be in our living rooms every Monday night as analyst on Monday Night Football....
There are a lot of things the Bucs don't have.
A rich tradition. A pass rush. A running game.
Did I mention they don't have a pass rush?
You know what else they don't have? A rival.
Think about it. The Bucs don't have a true rival. They don't have one of those teams that makes your blood boil at just the sight of their colors. They don't have a I-hate-your-guts team that you circle on your pocket schedule....
A million games down. Just one more to go.
After a long regular season, a slate full of bowl games and two semifinals, including an epic instant classic in the Rose Bowl, we are down to next week's All-SEC national championship between Alabama and Georgia.
Over the next week, we'll hear plenty about the SEC, the Tide and the Bulldogs. But let's give a quick glance back at what we've seen so far. Here's my Two Cents on college football:...
TAMPA — Finally, it's over.
That's the best thing you can say about the Bucs' 2017 season. It's over.
You don't have to watch anymore.
No more Jameis Winston bone-headed turnovers. No more special-team blunders. No more games where the other team's quarterback can stand back there all day deciding which of the three open receivers he wants to throw the ball to.
No more wasted Sunday afternoons. No more avoiding SportsCenter on Sunday nights....
Last year was a crazy year in sports in Tampa Bay. More so than usual.
We had really good, so good that some are dreaming of a Stanley Cup.
We had really bad, so bad that people lost jobs.
And really ugly, so ugly that more people might lose jobs.
We're welcoming new faces (Dan Mullen) and familiar ones (Willie Taggart), and saying goodbye to a Tampa Bay legend.
Yep, it was crazy....
Dirk Koetter is returning as head coach of the Bucs next season. That's one way to put it.
Here's another way, the more accurate way: Dirk Koetter isn't getting fired.
The news came down Friday afternoon.
Surprising? Yeah, you bet. One more stinker on Sunday and the Bucs will finish the season with six consecutive losses and a 4-12 record. Those are the kind of dreadful numbers that get people fired in this business, especially when expectations were as high as they were this season for the Bucs....
12/27/17 Lightning Strikes
Jonathan Drouin returns to Tampa Bay on Thursday for the first time since last summer's trade.
How will Lightning fans treat him?
Boos and jeers for a player who was as enigmatic as he was talented during his brief time in Tampa Bay?
Or whistles and cheers for a player who gave fans plenty of thrills and chills during those three seasons?
"It's going to be mixed, like a lot of trades,'' Drouin told Tampa Bay Times Lightning writer Joe Smith. "Some people obviously still like me, and some people didn't like what I did. That's just normal and part of what happened in Tampa. No matter what happens, I'll have a lot of respect for the city and the fans and the team.''...
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Here's one way to look at the Bucs' 22-19 loss to playoff-bound Carolina on Sunday:
They played hard. They played well. They probably deserved to win and would have had it not been for a handful of bad plays and bad luck and maybe a couple of bad calls. Overall, however, they played better than their opponent.
That's a nice sentiment and might give you enough of the warm fuzzies to forget that Tampa Bay has lost five in a row and is 4-11....
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — 'Twas the night before Christmas, and all was not quiet in the Bucs house. Bad penalties, bad special teams, bad calls and bad breaks. Add it all up and it was a giant lump of coal in the Bucs' stocking. A loss, that is. Another loss. That's five in a row for a team that's now 4-11. I've made a list and checked it twice to find out who was naughty and what wasn't nice from the Bucs' 22-19 loss to the Panthers....
Upon further review, replay stinks.
All replay. All sports. Especially football.
Let's get rid of it and get rid of it right now. Seriously. It's ruining games. It's ruining seasons.
This isn't about one play, but let's talk about one play.
Last week: Steelers versus Patriots.
In the final minute, Steelers tight end Jesse James caught a pass at the 1-yard line, turned around with the ball and stretched it over the goal line. When he landed on the ground, the ball rattled in his hands and appeared to have barely scraped the ground....
12/21/17 The Heater
ST. PETERSBURG — Evan Longoria is gone.
And that's a good thing.
Not the gone part. That still stinks as much now as it did when we all learned the Rays were trading away the face (and heart and soul) of the franchise. It's the "long'' part that's the good news.
The Rays shipped Longoria about as far away as they could.
Out of their division. Out of their league. And way, way out of their time zone....