Another Super Bowl heads to Tampa

by Gary Shelton on May 24, 2017 · 8 comments

in NFL, Tampa Bay Bucs

Wednesday, 4 a.m.

You probably won't get to the game. A ticket costs a fortune, and watching it at home is free.

You won't be invited the parties, the ones where the guy who once played Leonard's cousin on the Big Bang Theory is singing.

You won't spot the celebrities. You won't go to Media Day, unless you're a guy who likes to wear wedding dresses. You won't give advice to the underdog coach. You won't vote for the Hall of Fame. Unless you count ordering from Papa John's, you won't hang out with the star quarterback.

Except for that, yeah, you're probably thrilled to death that the Super Bowl is coming back to Tampa. Eventually.

 Content beyond this point is for members only.

Already a member? To view the rest of this column, sign in using the handy "Sign In" button located in the upper right corner of the blog (it's at the far right of the navigation bar under Gary's photo)!

Not a member? It's easy to subscribe so you can view the rest of this column and all other premium content on

Actually, it will be four years – time enough for a new president, unless Putin gets re-elected – before the game stops here. At which point, you can fully expect the New England Patriots to beat, say, the Green Bay Packers.

Ah, civic pride.

Okay, call me a grump. But I've never quite understood the cache of hosting a football game that most people are going to watch on TV anyway. In some ways, it just means the restaurants are more crowded and the hotels are impossible.

Still, this is the NFL, and the biggest game in the world. Where else would you rather it be? Detroit?

Look, I get it. People in Tampa were delighted that the Raiders came here to beat the Redskins. It was historic when the Giants beat the Bills. It was good when the Ravens beat the Giants. The Steelers' comeback win over the Cardinals was one of the best Super Bowls ever. And it's cool to say that happened here.

Tampa Super Bowls have been good ones: Marcus Allen and Joe Theisman and Thurman Thomas and and Scott Norwood and Bruce Smith and Lawrence Taylor and Mark Bavaro and Ray Lewis and Trent Dilfer and Ben Roethlisberger and Santonio Holmes and Kurt Warner and Larry Fitzgerald and Whitney Houston.

The first time I was around a Super Bowl played in my hometown was Super Bowl XXIII, the one with the riots. Solomon Wilcots, now an announcer but then a safety with the Cincinnati Bengals, had the classic line: “We went out to see Mississippi Burning, and we came back to see Miami Burning. A neighbor flashed his gun at me that night. It was an eye-opening experience.

The next home game? It was the Giants' 20-19 win over the Bills in which Bill Parcells outcoaches Marv Levy in about a thousand directions to win behind Jeff Hostetler. Levy didn't give the ball to Thurman Thomas

I was at the Times by the time the Ravens played the Giants. And the Ravens' defense did not disappoint. Meanwhile, Trent Dilfer became a Super Bowl-winning quarterback, a staggering sight. (Real question: Trent, are you the worst Super Bowl-winning quarterback of them all?)

Then came excellence. The Cards made a great comeback to take the lead on the Steelers, and the the Steelers won a comebacker to pull it out. It was truly great stuff. (Personal note: It was during the week leading up to the game the p.a. Announcer called my name. The author Michael Connelly, who I had gotten to know a bit, was waiting for me. He showed me his new book – The Scarecrow – in which my buddy John Romano and I were mentioned. It's a good read, even if I didn't solve the crime.)

So how does another Super Bowl week affect your life? Probably not much. Maybe you'll get in. Maybe your nephew will be a placekicker. Maybe you'll see Caitlyn Jenner at Berns.

Who knows?

After all, it's your Super Bowl.

{ 0 comments… read it below or Subscriptions }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: