Bill's Sports Binge: Half-full of realism, a serving of sexism and ESPN pulls a Puddy

I feel your pain, Buc Nation. You're happy but not sold. At least not sold enough to drop a couple hundy's on Sunday yet. It's like that girl you're dating but won't pull the trigger and all your friends are telling you to marry her because of this or that. They make a good case. But something just isn't right. At least right now. It's not just the wins, it's how they win, who they play and where they go from here. You're paying attention. And I'm proud of you.

Bucs? I'm proud of you, too. I just won't pat you on the head because you exceeded everybody's under-the-basement low expectations. It's condescending. Gruden was one game away from the play-offs too before he got canned. Dungy was fired after making the play-offs. I'm just saying, there's eight months of free agency, free time, down time, draft talk and drunk and disorderly before opening day. Can we stash the Buc-boners for now?

Quicker Hits: Two massage therapists sue Brett Favre because their decision not to succumb to his textual advances cost them their jobs (You know this story won't have a happy ending, not that Favre didn't try at least twice. Hey-oh!); ESPN's Adam Shefter and Hannah Storm gave each other a high-five celebrating the news of the firing of Brown's coach Eric Mangini on SportCenter and quickly apologized (Wimps. I would have followed up with an "on the flip side". Don't leave me hangin, Hannah); Speaking of ESPN, announcer Rod Franklin was pulled by ESPN for calling sideline reporter Jeanine Edwards "sweetcakes" in a production meeting. What? I'm sorry, I meant he was pulled for calling her the S-word. Hooray, political correctness!

Let's look at the glass together and you tell me whether it looks half full or empty. What do the Browns, Bengals, Panthers and 49ers have in common besides accounting for half of the Bucs' victories this year? All the head coaches should be updating their resumes. Three more victories (Rams, Seahawks and Cardinals) are from the NFC West, the worst division in professional football sports. One is from the (6-10) Redskins, a team with a hundred million dollar paperweight (Haynesworth) and a sleep-inducing quarterback controversy (if you can call McNabb-Grossman a controversy). The last game was against the Saints, a team that quit (gasp!). Yeah, I said it. They quit. What, you think they put in Chase Daniels under center because they wanted to win?

Want half full? Read every other online newspaper in the area. Plenty of Buc love to go around and I'm not necessarily here to disagree with any of it. I'm here for the skeptical fan who simply isn't ready to give up their delicate flower with the current circumstantial evidence we have to go on. The fans have taken it on the chin all year from the local media for the blackouts and I'm here to defend you. I've never seen a more apologetic press than I have this year.

We lost to teams with winning records.

But we almost beat them.

Okay, well then we almost lost to the Browns, Bengals, Rams and Cardinals.

Hey, a win is a win.

We lost to Detroit at home.

That's not the same Detroit team.

You can't win, Bucs fans. They bashed you for not going to the stadium even when the Bucs were winning. But if you did start filling the stadium, they would have called you fair-weather.

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