Category: Football

College Football Playoff National Championship in Tampa

Friday, Saturday and Sunday, January 6 through 8, 2017, will be the dates; and Tampa, Florida, will be the place for this exciting family-friendly multi-day fan festival. Thousands of fans will enjoy the many varied special activities, some of which are outlined below, as well as mini pep rallies for each participating team, appearances and performances from institutions’ bands and mascots, special celebrity appearances and exhibits, youth sports clinics, interactive activities, entertainment, and more.


AT&T Playoff Playlist Live!

Friday, Saturday and Sunday, January 6 – 8, 2017

Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park


FREE outdoor concert series featuring a variety of national recording artists including Usher, Gavin DeGraw and Jamie N Commons on Sunday.


Extra Yard 5K and Family Fun Run

Sunday, January 8, 2017 in Downtown Tampa’s Championship Campus


This official Extra Yard 5K road race at 8:00 AM is 3.1 miles down a scenic route of a portion of Bayshore Boulevard. A One-Mile Family Fun Run at 9:00 AM will also be held along a portion of the course.


There will also be a post-race awards ceremony, live entertainment, activities with race sponsors, and many benefits along with the registration fees. Proceeds will benefit Extra Yard for Teachers that goes the “extra yard” by celebrating, honoring, empowering, and inspiring teachers.


Championship Tailgate

Monday, January 9, 2017, at Raymond James Stadium


FREE for all championship game ticket holders.


This ultimate game day tailgate will feature ESPN broadcast sets, interactive games, concessions, sponsor activities, and more. Dierks Bentley will headline the Capital One Quicksilver Music Stage.


Media Day

Saturday, January 7, 2017, at Amalie Arena – 9:00 AM

FREE event


Attendees will see their favorite players and coaching staffs and listen to interviews as over 1,000 media members preview the national championship game.


Taste of the Championship

Sunday, January 8, 2017 at the Florida Aquarium

7:00 to 10:00 PM


Attendees will get to sample gourmet food and beverages from different geographic regions throughout the country presented by a variety of Tampa-area restaurants. Proceeds from the $250 general admission support the College Football Playoff Foundation..


NASL Tampa Bay Owners Seeks To Bring MLS Soccer to Saint Petersburg

William Edwards, owner of the North American Soccer League (NASL) Tampa Bay Rowdies is proposing a privately financed soccer stadium in Saint Petersburg, Florida. The Saint Petersburg entrepreneur seeks to construct an attractive, contemporary style stadium, for a possible Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise. The site, where the historic Major League Baseball Al Lang Stadium sits, overlooks Tampa Bay, in Saint Petersburg.


Edwards, at a team rally/news conference, indicated that he is in preliminary talks with the MLS to bring a franchise to the Florida Gulf Coast, in an 18,000 seat stadium. The Al Lang site renovation and expansion includes 12,000 additional seats. The site is adjacent to the fine arts venue, the Mahaffey Theatre, which Edwards runs for the City of Saint Petersburg. Initial estimates peg the stadium expansion at $80 million. Architectural renderings show the stadium will not expand into Tampa Bay nor go beyond the confines of its property boundary.


The site came to the attention of the MLB Tampa Bay Rays 10 years when they were seeking a site for a new stadium. Unlike Edwards private financing proposal, the Rays baseball club demanded public funding and expansion into the surrounding streets and into Tampa Bay.


Many see Edwards stadium proposal an ideal fit for the downtown Saint Petersburg. It taps into the downtown aura without an intrusion and further elevates Saint Petersburg, Florida as a “major league sports town.” The proposed soccer venue would compliment the picturesque waterfront of the burgeoning Tampa Bay metropolis.


While William “Bill” Edwards plans for the waterfront stadium is ambitious, it requires voter approval. Edwards, working with community leaders indicated he will not pursue a referendum on the project until he receives final approval for an MLS expansion team.

Sports finance analysts estimate Edwards shelling out $150 million to the MLS for an expansion team. The figure could balloon even higher as the MLS Orlando City franchise currently holds territorial rights to the Saint Petersburg location. If everything falls into place, Williams envisions the Saint Petersburg MLS franchise beginning play in 2019.


MLS sees the Tampa Bay region as a viable market given the rave reviews the region gets for lifestyle, culture, and weather. A voter referendum would occur in August 2017, at the earliest.


Buc Coach Koetter Irritated by Gruden Comment

Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden lashed out at current Bucs coach Dirk Koetter during the Monday Night Football broadcast of their game against the Carolina Panthers. The former Super Bowl-winning coach, now a color analyst for ESPN, offered sharp criticism of a fourth quarter play call.


Gruden opined that Koetter had no confidence in Tampa Bay’s young quarterback Jameis Winston after a running play was called on a critical third down and long yardage play. The run failed to gain the nine yards needed for a first down, imperiling the Buccaneers’ fading chances of victory in the crucial intra-division game.


Gruden cited Winston’s poor judgment in attempting a dangerous pass against double zone coverage by the stout Panthers defense on a previous play. The pass fell harmlessly as an incompletion, but a fourth quarter interception on that part of the field might have sealed Tampa Bay’s fate.


The Bucs managed a late game-winning drive with Winston still at the helm. Gruden’s scolding still stung a clearly angered and resentful Koetter in the post-game press conference.’s Mark Cook reports that Koetter attempted to dismiss Gruden’s criticism as empty words tossed out by a color commentator simply filling air time. Koetter also characterized the cutting remark as thrown out in ignorance, as Gruden has not been on the Bucs payroll in years, and is an outsider.


However, Buccaneers management had given Tampa resident Gruden unusual access to the team for several days leading up to the game. ESPN viewers may have given added weight to his in-game observations of the Tampa Bay players and coaching staff.


The Bucs have invested their future fortunes in Winston, now in his second year in the NFL. The 2013 Heisman trophy winner is expected to match, if not exceed, the phenomenal success of 2010 Heisman winner Cam Newton of the Panthers. It is widely perceived that Koetter was hired as head coach primarily for his track record in developing quarterbacks.


Koetter asserted that he has complete confidence in Winston.

Bucs Stun Division Rival Panthers and ESPN

Buccaneers Beat Panthers in Win and Climb in ESPN Rankings


Football teams move up and down every week in terms of how well they played in their last game. There are often power rankings on sports site that mention this.


The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are just one recent example of how these power rankings play out over the course of a typical NFL season. The Bucs manage to pull off a stunning upset of the division rival Carolina Panthers during a Monday Night Football game, winning by a score of 17-14 and tightening the NFC South division race, now with a 2-3 record.


Notably absent from the game was Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, who had previously suffered a concussion and was now on the league’s concussion protocol, forcing him to sit out the game. Derek Anderson, the backup was now thrust into the starter position and it was noticeable, due to the fact that the Panthers now sit at 1-4 for the season and last place in the division.


ESPN definitely took notice of this, moving the Bucs up six spots due to the win, from 29th place last week up to 23 after this win. A necessary move for them to jump several shots, given that the Bucs had already lost three straight games prior to Monday Night and were sitting in the basement of rankings across all sports boards, ESPN included. The Bucs’ defense did give up lots of offensive yards and big plays but ultimately made a game-changing play to keep them alive, that play being a well-time red zone interception of Derek Anderson. Roberto Aguayo, the rookie placekicker, made the game-winning field goal to give the Bucs their second win.


The Buccaneers are around other teams like the Indianapolis Colts and Detroit Lions in terms of rankings because like the Bucs, they also came up with wins when they needed them, however theirs were more impressive. At the same time, power rankings on any site, be it ESPN or the NFL, don’t determine the final record for the season or how well everything plays out but does right now. The goal of any team should be to try for that number one spot in all power rankings.

The Field Goal Kick That Landed a Win for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Monday’s night NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Carolina Panthers started with both teams holding one and three records. By fourth quarter Business Insider reported the teams were tied 14 and 14 until Buccaneers’ rookie kicker, Roberto Aquayo kicked the football straight down the middle of the field landing a win for the team. It was the best play performance for the rookie who had missed two previous kicks in the second quarter and fourth quarter.


Aquayo never missed a kick while playing for Florida State University inside 40 yards, but is struggling on the Bucs team. His struggles turned into victory after his team players provided him support on the sidelines right before the winning kick of the day. Thus far Aquayo has a field goal kicking record of four of eight for the season.


Preseason was difficult for the rookie kicker in the beginning after missing two field goals and an effort to kick the extra point field goal in the first and second week. By the end of the final two weeks of preseason, Aquayo was five for five. He finished the preseason with eight of 10 field goals.


Buccaneers coach, Dirk Koetter spoke to ESPN and said that he has concerns about the rookie kicker when most kickers are able to make goals inside of 50 yards when the weather permits. The first missing kick Aquayo made was during the second quarter which was 33 yards out. This happened at Carolina 30-yard line after Russell Shepard recovered Ted Ginn Jr.’s punt. The second missed field goal happened in the fourth quarter after Brent Grimes made a touchdown interception in the end-zone.


Coach Koetter applauded the Buccaneers team players who encouraged Roberto Aquayo on the sideline before the field goal kick. The team support and power actions of defense to get the ball back and Jameis Winston leading the offense gave him another opportunity to make a field goal. Koetter continues to have concerns about the rookie after a loss to Los Angeles Rams two weeks ago. He missed a 41-yard field goal which would have given the Buccaneers the lead. Koetter is pleased with the overall performance of the NFL team and the winning field goal.

Tampa Bay Loses A Close One To the Rams

According to Tom Jones, the sports writer for the Tampa Bay Times, the Buccaneers have got to get it together because “You can’t lose to a team like the Rams.” He went on in his observation to ask “If the Bucks can’t win this game, which games will they win?” Clearly, he has more than an unbiased view of Tampa Bay’s football team which you would assume from a local sports writer. His column goes on to describe Tom’s disappointment at Tampa’s losing season last year. However, he fails to disclose that losing seasons are just another part of the game. That’s just a fact.

I can remember quite clearly that when Tom Landry was coaching the Dallas Cowboys in the 70s, the cowboys were a smoking hot football team. They could do no wrong and almost no one could beat them. The years when they had Roger Staubauch as quarterback, Emmitt Smith as their running back and Michael Irvin was their wide receiver they dominated the league. If you ever saw them play it was actually watching perfection at work. They were, to say the least, amazing to watch. Did it last? Of course not. After Staubach retired, the cowboys went into a long, long drought of not being able to win squat. In fact, there was a period of time when a group of girl scouts could have probably whipped them in a game, at least that’s what many of the fans thought. But, that’s just the way it goes in the world of sports. Sometimes you’re up and sometimes you’re down.

When asked about their loss to the Rams, Tom writes that Tampa’s coach, Dirk Koetter, quipped that it was something in the team’s culture. Koetter then went on to explain that he’s seen teams that had it – I suppose he meant the desire to win- and just wouldn’t let go of it and he’s seen teams the didn’t have it. Tom Jones took Koetter’s statement as the coaches admission that the team just wasn’t mentally there yet. But Tom decided to take it a step further by letting his readers know that the game pitting Tampa Bay against The Rams last Sunday was a perfect example of a team snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. This observation may or may not be correct, though, because it always comes back to this fact, any time there is a football game, any bad team can beat even a good team anytime. How bad is Tampa? They’re not that bad really. According to Vegas oddsmakers, Tampa has an 80 to 1 chance of winning the super bowl. How about the Rams? According to the bookies, they have a 125 to 1 chance.

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Outlook for Tampa Bay Buccaneers

For the past five years one NFL franchise that has struggled the most has been the Tampa bay Buccaneers. The Buccaneers have had several consecutive years with losing records. However, according to one recent news article (, this could be changing in the near future.

As we head into the 2016 NFL season the Tampa Bay buccaneers are considered by many to be poised for the most improvement of all teams in the league. Last season the team surprise to many experts around the league with the amount of growth and improvement they saw. Much of this was due to the success of rookie quarterback Jameis Winston. Winston was arguably the best offense of rookie in the league last year and put up a very surprising stat line. Much of the 2016 season will depend on whether Winston is able to take another step forward and become a dominant player in the league week after week.

While the Buccaneers will rely on the improvement of their quarterback, they still have many other strengths on their team. One of the top players on their team last year was running back Doug Martin. Last year Martin surprised many people across the league by finishing second in the NFL in rushing. This surprised many people because just one year before he suffered a major knee injury.

Another reason for excitement about the team is that the Buccaneers had a very good draft class. They ended up making several selections of offense of an defense of players that should be able to start in contribute for the team right away. While this should make them better in the forthcoming year, it will have even more of an impact in the years to come.

The biggest concern that people have regarding the Buccaneers chances of making the playoffs is the strength of their division. The Buccaneers will continue to have to play the Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, and Atlanta Falcons. All of these teams could be very competitive and will fight for playoff spots.

Buccaneers looking For Return to the NFL Playoffs

Tampa Bay Buccaneer fans may be feeling a little more comfortable about the team’s kicking situations these days compared to a few weeks ago.

During the off-season, the Bucs spent a second-round draft pick on Florida State standout Robert Aguayo in hopes that he would be the franchise’s long-term solution to place-kicking. The role of the kicker took on slightly more importance with extra-points being moved back 15 yards.

Aguayo, whom the Bucs actually traded up to get, started of in shaky fashion by missing an extra-point and two field goal attempts in the first two weeks of the 2016 NFL preseason.

However, he has been perfect since then. Since his early troubles, Aguayo has made all four extra-point attempts and all five field goal tries, including a 50-yarder.

The Bucs were hoping for a long-term upgrade after starting 2015 with undrafted free agent Kyle Brindza who promptly missed half of his 12 field goal attempts and was only 6-for-9 on extra-points through four games. Veteran Conner Barth was re-signed after Brindza was released and he went 23-for-28 on field goals and hit 25 of 26 extra-point attempts. However, Barth was only 6-of-11 on attempts of 40 yards or longer.

Barth was cut shortly after the Bucs traded up to select Aguayo who ranks third in NCAA history in field goal accuracy at 89 percent. He was a three-time All-American kicker with the Seminoles and had never missed an extra-point, but collegiate versions are still the equivalent of 19-yard field goal attempts compared to the longer distances now associated with NFL PATs.

Despite the increased distance in PAT attempts, many panned the Bucs selection of Aguayo more because it is believed that it is considered wasteful to use such a high draft pick on a kicker when a number of quality ones can be found at the end of the draft or are even undrafted free agents.

Aguayo’s early preseason struggles looked like a source of embarrassment for Tampa Bay. However, he has since righted himself and may yet be the long-term kicking solution the team envisioned when they traded up for him earlier this year.

Tropical Storm Rains on Bucs Parade

The rain never stopped for the Buccaneers 4th preseason game against Washington. The game featured almost no starters and was a chance for reserve players on both teams to show their stuff. But that plan was nearly a wash.

In the first quarter, Bucs quarterback Mike Glennon let the wet ball fall behind him on a pass attempt, and the same thing happened to his replacement Ryan Griffin in the second quarter. The calamitous conditions caused both teams to struggle. In the first half, Tampa Bay and Washington combined to produce 10 net passing yards. But the Redskins then decided to focus on the run. They went ahead early and ended up winning 20-13.

There were some bright spots for the Bucs. Rookie kicker K Roberto Aguayo, who struggled earlier, hit two field goals, including a 50-yarder. He also kicked two touchbacks. Quarterback Ryan Griffin led two drives to set up the field goals, including a 17-yard pass to wide receiver Jonathan Krause that produced the 50-yarder. Griffin also directed a 17-play drive that resulted in Aguayo’s second field goal of 22 yards. Griffin ended with 190 yards, 23-38 passing, 1 touchdown and 1 interception.

There were good performances among Bucs running backs and receivers, including RB Peyton Barber, who ran 16 times for 44 yards. He’s battling for number 3 on the depth chart behind Doug Martin and Charles Sims In the second half, wide receiver Freddie Martino had 6 catches for 65 yards. Rookie WR Bernard Reedy caught 3 passes for 19 yards and scored a touchdown. Unfortunately, during punt return duties he muffed two punts.

But the wet evening was a little kinder to the defense. Cornerback Jonathan Banks had 3 tackles and broke up a Washington drive with a third-down play. CB Josh Robinson had two tackles and a stop on special teams. Linebacker Adarius Glanton posted 6 tackles, two for loss.

Altogether, though, Washington’s decision to rely on the run on a wet night sealed the Bucs’ fate. Redskins’ RB Mack Brown delivered 149 yards on 19 carries and scored a touchdown on a 60-yard run in the 2nd quarter; Redskins’ RBs totaled 245 yards.

It was enough to make you say, rain, rain, go away!

For 5 Hopefuls, the Buc Stops Here

This is the time when players give it all to make their team’s 53-man roster. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are no different. They have 5 young guns in particular hoping to show their stuff against Washington Wednesday night.

There’s tight competition for wide receiver spots, and one of those battling is second-year Kenny Bell. Bell spent last year on injured reserve but was impressive at Nebraska with 181 receptions, 2,689 yards and 21 touchdowns Bell has a shot at one of the 5 wr openings. He’s now number 4 on the depth chart and can return kicks.

Mike James has been the number 3 running back in camp and hopes to be there behind Doug Martin and Charles Sims this season. But James has been injured the past 2 weeks of the preseason. Peyton Barber has been filling in, so now James has to compete with Barber. If James plays well on Wednesday, he could clinch the number 3 spot and Barber could remain a Buc on the practice squad.

TE Danny Vitale from Northwestern is a 6th round pick who’s currently the number 4 tight end on the depth chart behind Cameron Brate, Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Luke Stocker. But he’s a versatile player who can play both tight end and fullback. So, though he hasn’t had many reps in camp, he could possibly be targeted 20 times or more against the Redskins.

On the Bucs defense, safety Ryan Smith is a 4th-round draft pick from North Carolina Central. He was the school’s all-time leader in solo tackles at 168 and kickoff return average at 28.1 Smith is currently on the bubble as number 5 safety. He’s hoping to beat out Isaiah Johnson for spot number 4 and a place on the roster.

Cornerback Josh Robinson is another versatile player who’s a former NFL starter. He’s had success at punt return coverage. But he’s at the bottom of the cornerback depth chart and will have to beat out Jonathan Banks for a roster place. If he gets reps on special teams and performs well, he could make it onto the Bucs.

So performance will be everything for these 5 guys who want to Buc the system.