Tuesday, 5 a.m.
Three little teams. See how they plod.
Three little teams, on their way to nowhere.
Three little teams, someday's children, the tadpoles of the National Football League.
Things are looking up here in the state of Florida. Jacksonville has won two whole games in a row. Miami has won one. Tampa Bay has won one.
As they say in the big time: Whee!
What a week for the state, huh? The Bucs beat the defending NFC Champions (of course, everyone does these days). Jacksonville won a game in America, meaning it has been the king of two countries in the last two weeks. Miami beat the Pittsburgh Steelers, who evidently forgot what a running play is.
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If it keeps up, shoot, football teams from Florida are going to start to growl. That isn't quite like being able to bite someone, but it beats the buzzing from aggressive mosquitos, doesn't it?
Let's be honest. When it comes to pro football in Florida, these days aren't exactly the tic, the tac or the toe of excellence. You know when you usually see a team from Florida? It's when the networks show a good player running wild against someone. These days, the Bucs, Dolphins and Jags get C.A.R.E. packages from New England.
The last time Miami was in the playoffs, it was 2008. For both Tampa Bay and Jacksonville, it was 2007. The last time Tampa Bay won the Super Bowl was 2003. That seems like a long time ago, but Miami hasn't won one since 1973, back when TV was in black and white. And that seems like a long time, but Jacksonville has never won one (it's tried since 1995).
As Casey Stengel once said: Can't anyone play this game?
And here they go again, two wins apiece so far. It doesn't encourage one to buy confetti, does it?
So who is the best team (and worst) of these guys? (It's kind of like asking who the toughest kid in science class is, you know?)
Coaching: So far, Gus Bradley has 10 whole wins. Of course, he's coached for three seasons, where Dirk Koetter and Adam Gase are in their first years. Edge: Draw.
Quarterback: Look, you don't have to be Miko Grimes to be unhappy with the play of Ryan Tannehill. Tannehill is in his fifth year, and he's half-a-season under .500. He takes too many sacks, and he delivers too few big moments. He's only 27th in the NFL as far as passer rating. Still, that's better than the other two. Blake Bortles is 33rd with seven interceptions. Jameis Winston is 39th with eight. Edge: Tannehill.
Running back: Jay Ajayi has been hot lately, which has led his surge to 20th in the NFL. That's better than injured Doug Martin (32nd) and Jacksonville's T.Y. Yeldon (40th). As a team, Jacksonville is 31st in the league. Edge: Martin, as soon as he's healthy.
Wide receiver: Again, think Dolphins. Miami's Jarvis Landry is tied for second with 41 catches. Mike Evans of the Bucs is 13th with 32. Alan Robinson of Jacksonville is tied for 50th with 24 catches. Are cornerbacks nervous yet? Edge: Laundry.
Defense: The Super Bowl teams of Miami (No-Name Defense) and of Tampa Bay (Derrick Brooks, Warren Sapp and company) were both good. It must be embarrassing to watch these days. The Jags are eighth in the NFL. Tampa Bay is 20th. Miami is 26th. Edge: Jacksonville.
Points: Not many. Tampa Bay is 31st in scoring in the NFL. Jacksonville is 29th. Miami is all the way to 19th. Edge: Miami.
Third down percentage: Tampa Bay is 16th in the NFL, which isn't great. But Miami is 30th and Jacksonville 32nd. Edge: Tampa Bay.
Top five players, Miami: 1. Dan Marino. 2. Larry Csonka. 3. Dwight Stephenson. 4. Paul Warfield. 5. Larry Little.
Top five players, Tampa Bay: 1. Derrick Brooks. 2. Lee Roy Selmon. 3. Warren Sapp. 4. John Lynch. 5. Ronde Barber.
Top five players, Jacksonville Jags: 1. Tony Boselli, 2. Fred Taylor, 3. Jimmy Smith, 4. Maurice Jones-Drew, 5. Mark Brunnel.
Look, someone has to be among the bottom teams in the NFL. Cleveland, for instance. And the Florida clubs.
Which one is the best?
Well, none of them. Sadly.