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Tuesday, Apr 24, 2018
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Martin Fennelly Columns

Fennelly: Believers in Bucs hard to find

There are few, if any (key word: any) people outside Tampa Bay Buccaneers headquarters who think this team will beat the Seattle Seahawks this Sunday.

Believe me, we've been looking. We're scouring the planet, in fact.

The betting line says Sunday in Seattle is Little Big Horn — Thursday, 7-1 Seattle, with the best record in the NFC and its most deafening stadium, was listed as a 16-point favorite against the 0-7 Bucs. The over-under on how many Bucs will purposely miss the team flight to Seattle is holding steady at 6.

Update: I asked my mail deliverer. She said Seahawks. I asked the baker at Publix. He said Seahawks. I stopped a school bus. Driver said Seahawks. The children screamed Seahawks. Went to the library. The person at the desk whispered: Seahawks. Found a mime. He made undulating waves, flapped both arms — Seahawks.

The last time the Bucs were this large an underdog, spread-wise, was in 1996, Tony Dungy's first season as coach. The 1-6 Bucs were 17˝ Deputy Dawgs at Lambeau Field against 6-1 and defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay. Thing is, the Bucs lost but held Brett Favre and the Packers to 13 points, a sign of things to come.

Maybe that's how this current Bucs crew has to look at it.

“That's always the beauty, man,” Bucs safety Dashon Goldson said. “When people don't give you hope, you have no hope, pick you to lose, and you go out there to surprise everybody, there's no better feeling.”

“We love it,” McCoy said. “You love to go into an environment like that, because if you withstand that punch, and you fight back, then everybody is like 'Whoa, this team might have something.'

“I've never done it, but I bet walking in someone else's house, punching them in the face … They wanted to watch 'The Voice,' but you want to watch 'Breaking Bad.' So you go in, punch them in the face, and no, we're watching 'Breaking Bad.' ”

Absolutely. Like he said.

Update: Tampa Police helicopters and ground forces have spotted someone who believes the Bucs will win Sunday. The suspect is currently in the Temple Terrace area, traveling with an accomplice, someone who thinks the ObamaCare rollout is proceeding “Splendidly.” Residents should remain in their homes.

That reminds me of my favorite Bucs underdog story. It goes back to the first Bucs season, to 0-14. Late that year, John Mc-Kay and his team, by then 0-12, traveled to Pittsburgh to face the two-time defending Super Bowl champion Steelers. The Bucs were installed as a then-record 26-point underdog.

Pittsburgh won by six touchdowns. One local newspaper photograph from the game showed Bucs defensive end Ed McAleny smiling with some Steeler after it was over, with the scoreboard showing 42-0 in the background. The headline: “A Real Laugher.” McAleny was cut when the Bucs returned to Tampa.

It's on to Seattle.

“You love playing in those hostile environments, us against the world,” Bucs linebacker Mason Foster said.

Update: A Finnish archaeological team in the Amazon basin has come across a member of an isolated, primitive tree-dwelling tribe. The tribesman was offered foodstuffs and shown what fire was. Later, he was asked to bang two pineapples together, once for Seahawks, twice for Bucs. His response was telling. He produced a dead ocelot. Then he asked how Josh was doing.

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