It's been a weird, weird week in the world of sports, especially here in Tampa Bay. Don't you think so?
And while the Major Weirdness focused its stun gun on the sport of baseball (and y'all know exactly what I mean... more about that later) and college football (Urban out! Will Muschamp, hello!), there's been some Weirdness afoot in football too. At this point in the NFL season, that's to be expected. Just ask the New York Giants, held hostage by the weather in Kansas City and their opponents for the week, the Minnesota (Tundra) Vikings, who heard the KABOOM as the roof of the Metrodome collapsed thanks to a whole lotta snow. If that's not symbolic of the Vikings' season, I don't know what it. But i digress...
The Weirdness hit our erstwhile Buccaneers where it hurt the most -- on the injury front. Cody Grimm. Ouch. Jeff Faine. Whoa. Aqib Talib. Damn. These outs couldn't come at a worse time -- although there's never really a good time for such things -- with the end of the season fast approaching and the playoffs on the horizon.
The Bucs are hanging in our nation's capital today, bringing their impressive road record to face those Washington Redskins. This is not A Big Game in the sense of those against NFC South rivals (see: Atlanta) or an NFL Big Boy (see: Baltimore.) But with only a handful of games to be played in the regular season, it's not to be discounted or taken lightly.
And I don't think it will be. We've watched this team grow up this year right before our eyes -- or, more precisely our ears, thanks to those NFL blackouts. Ahem. This is a team that believes in itself. And it shows. Yes, there are mistakes still being made, mostly because this is a group of players still fairly fresh out of college. But youth will be assuaged with time. Then look out.
Today's game will be fun to watch. Hopefully Josh Freeman (also the starting QB for The Ignorant Sluts, my still-in-second-place fantasy team) will get to take some chances that will pay off. LeGarrette Blount should run and run and run. Crossing my fingers that the Bucs' run defense -- led by a maturing Gerald McCoy -- continues to find its stride. And maybe the distraction of the latest antics in the ongoing soap opera of Fat Albert Haynesworth (seriously -- suspended without pay for the balance of the season? You can't make this stuff up.) will be one of those intangibles we love to speculate upon.
All I ask is that the Weirdness go manifest itself someplace else on someone else. Call it an early Christmas wish.