Talking about it is almost as much fun as winning

by Gary Shelton on February 20, 2021

in general

Arians' team has enjoyed the talk./(Kyle Zedaker/Tampa Bay Buccaneers via AP)

Saturday, 4 a.m.

Once upon a time, when the world was young, it was a dog-eat-dog world.

Now, it is a talk-dog-talk world. And there is nothing like a Super Bowl to lead a team to yap away.

And so it is that the Tampa Bay Bucs continue to celebrate their recent Super Bowl victory over the Kansas City Chiefs. They did it, and now they are gleefully telling the world about it. This is much to the delight of their fans, of course. Every time a Buc opens his lips, it's like confetti falling anew. These days, it is the sound of victory. Yay, us.

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Oh, some of us who attended an old school -- fogeys -- would prefer a more dignified approach. Some of us grew up on a black-and-white world where winners went "aw, shucks" and praised their opponents. They played the humble card, even when they didn't really believe it. It was part of winning graciously. The winners spoke in cliches; the losers said nothing at all.

To be honest, we knew better. After the press conferences were over, and mothers had been thanked, the players gathered into a room and did the woo-hoo dance. But in public, they were gracious winners.

No more. Now, receivers yap at cornerbacks, and linebackers yap at running backs, and the media yaps at quarterbacks. Every play is followed by a verbal exchange.

And when the winning is done, everyone brags.

And so the noise has begun. There is a joy to it, an exuberance that has been unleashed. One minute, Bruce Arians is saying "we physically kicked (the Chiefs') ass." The next, Shaq Barrett is calling the Chiefs' outmanned tackle Andrew Wylie "a scrub" and the next, Sean Murphy-Bunting is referring to defensive coordinator Todd Bowles as "a mastermind."

And away we go.

There was linebacker Devin White, the guy who rode his horse around Ray Jay to celebrate. White talked like an auctioneer, loud and fast.

"We knew that they was gonna be a cocky team, which they have every right to be," White said. "They [were] the No. 1 offense in the entire National Football League. But the thing is, we knew they couldn't block us. We knew that our front four was gonna dominate them. So they did us a favor. They played right into our hands.

"At the end of the day they shouldn't even talk about not having their offensive tackles when they didn't even help them. They put them on islands by themselves with the best pass rushers in the game. So that's their own fault.”

Barrett, who ripped Wylie during the game and again afterward, added this: ”I told him he was a scrub. I told him he was trash. He gotta take a train home,”

And on it went. It got to the point where it was silly to fine Antoine Winfield for flashing a peace sign at Tyreek Hill, especially since Hill had done the same (with a backflip) during the regular season. Bucs' cornerback Carlton Davis referred to the team's secondary as "gravediggers." Even quarterback Tom Brady, never the world's most exciting quote, got into it by talking about "keeping the receipts" of all the critics he had had, as if Brady hasn't been the most praised (deservedly so) player in the history of the league.

Hey, I'm kind of old. A large part of me would like to see the Bucs shuffle their feet and talk about breaks and fortune and coming together at the right time. Let the fans do the trash talking.

In the end, it doesn't matter. It isn't as if other teams aren't going to try to win against Tampa Bay next year. They'll give every ounce of energy to shut down the Bucs.

And then, they'll try to shut them up. Good luck with that.

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