Jon Cooper’s done better as a Lightning head coach than the Tampa Bay Buccaneers all-time
Hockey, specifically the National Hockey League, is not football nor the National Football League. I’m always drawn to compare the two with thanks to the Tampa Bay media going ga-ga over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and holding back all-too-much on Tampa Bay Lightning coverage until the end of the NFL season. To hell with success and competitiveness, Buccaneers uber alles.
Something popped into my head last night after the Lightning’s 1-0 win in Philadelphia to extend their winning s
treak fluke to 10 games: How does the tenure of head coach =Jon cooper compare to the Bucs all-time?
One coach? Compared to 40+ years of gameplay? What the hell leads me to think of something like that? Quite simply, the fact Cooper’s Lightning have made the playoffs five times in his 6 full seasons as head coach (and could be on their way to a sixth berth as the 2019-20 season rolls on) which is half as many berths as the Bucs have all-time.
Coop’s in his seventh full season as head coach (he joined as head coach during the 2013 season and had 17 games), helming Tampa Bay for 553 games as of this writing… That just so happens to be 124 games less than the Bucs have played all-time (677 in 43 seasons); about 82% of the games played. His success in that time dwarfs that of the Bucs: Of the 553 games played, 332 were won. That’s a .600 win percentage (though the common stat used in the NHL is tied to point-percen5ate, which is .619). In 43 seasons in the NFL, the Bucs have won 281 of 677 games played; a .409 win percentage.
While fans cry foul over Coop’s playoff-performances (No title! Bad you!) it’s worth noting he’s coached the Bolrs to the same number of Conference finals (3) and playoff finals (1) in his tenure as the Bucs have done in franchise history. Only three of the Bucs 12 head coaches ever made the playoffs (John McKay, Tony Dungy, and Jon Gruden). Of course, that Lightning has gone into the playoffs with four HCs (Terry Crisp, John Tortorella, Guy Boucher, and Cooper) with eight total coaches.
They are two completely separate sports and there’s no argument against that. It’s still a message of competitiveness and local pride that has to be hammered home: The Tampa Bay Lightning are a force in their league. The Bucs aren’t.
What is the next accomplishment for Cooper and the Lightning? We’ll find out in this second half of the NHL season and in the proverbial Second Season that is the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
In search of Andy Hardy’s “Casablanca” parody-clip with Head Coach Sam Wyche
The late Andy Hardy was Sports Director at WTVT Channel 13 for longer than I know. In his last years in his role, the latest futility of Tampa Bay Buccaneers football was overseen by head coach Sam Wyche (we’re talking 1992 through 1995).Read More
Reflecting on the history and the Ice Palace that is Amalie Arena
I’ve got a phrase in my head. It’s a pretentious intro to a Tampa Bay Lightning hockey game. Something to be used repeatedly to give weight to the event and where it’s being played (as well as merit to the person saying it).
Weight comes to words with repetition. Sometimes it’s dubious, sometimes it’s forgettable, sometimes it goes down into the history books and is engraved in society (or, in this case, sports culture).
Along the banks of the Garrison Channel at the heart of Tampa, Florida. We welcome you to the hall of the venerable ice palace known as Amalie Arena for a night of Tampa Bay Lightning hockey.
To see that turn of phrase might lead Joe Q. Average to wonder what the hell venerable means (here’s your answer). Others of the Tampa Bay area (specifically younger generations and transplants of recent years) may be curious (or scoff) at Amalie Arena being called an “ice palace”. That just happens to be the building’s original name. That fact isn’t news for long-time Lightning fans. This fall will be the building’s 23rd anniversary of its opening.
And yet we’re left to wonder about the story behind the name Ice Palace.Read More
A lackluster competitiveness and the drive to improve (or lack thereof)
I was going to be critical of Edmonton, Alberta, and Canadian hockey fans who have gone to social media to protest Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli after the Oilers were flambéed by the San Jose Sharks on Saturday.
I was. Past tense.
If you’re an Oilers fan and see this and get pissed off at the would-be criticism, relax. Really. You’re reacting to a shit situation that’s been ongoing under different guidance for too-long now. You’re reacting as you should. Do Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans do that? No so much.Read More
Attendance in Tampa Bay sports sides with the might of the Lightning
Tonight is the 20th home game of the Tampa Bay Lightning’s 2018-19 season, the second-to-last home game event of the year 2018 as well. I’ve already heralded the accomplishments of the Bolts first-half in on-ice achievement. Now let me shed light on an aspect of the Bolts off-ice. Something Tampa Bay sports media gives the brush-off in overall coverage in town.
Amalie Arena’s stated max capacity is 19,204, and the Lightning has filled the building at or near capacity for their 19 games at home so far this season. That’s a home-capacity total attendance of 362,748 (you can view full attendance numbers for the NHL here, via ESPN). That’s a pretty damned solid turnout; the Bolts are 5th in the NHL in attendance.
Now, how ‘bout dem Bucs? The much heralded, over-promoted in Tampa Bay news, over-hyped Tampa Bay Buccaneers team have been meh in their season performance, a 5-10 record. Raymond James Stadium’s max capacity is 65,890 and the Bucs haven’t quite made it to capacity too often. After 7 home games, the Bucs average attendance is 54,567, 82% OF CAPACITY AND fourth weakest in the NFL this season (view the full attendance numbers here). It’s the season total attendance number that’s of most note: 381,971.
The Lightning should meet that attendance total tonight as they host the Philadelphia Flyers. They’ll exceed the total with the final 2018 home game against the Montréal Canadiens on Saturday. The Bucs will, of course, top that number with their final home game against the Atlanta Falcons… But the Lightning will top that total-attendance number early in 2019. C’mon, their averaging 19,000 a game, the finale at Ray Jay will bring 54,000 (give or take). The Bolts will make up that differential in three games at the Amalie.
There are many aspects that can be brought up to factor in with attendance (ticket prices, economy issues), but the one aspect that tops it all: this is common. 41 home dates will do that for an NHL team. 41 home dates will do that. The Lightning are still a dominant presence in the NHL while the Bucs are a dominant topic in Tampa Bay sports media coverage while mediocre in performance.
A quarterback alone cannot cure what ails the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
It’s a shell game at quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this season with Jameis Winston and Ryan Fitzpatrick sharing time at QB. Not that they planned it, not that they intended it that way, and not that the Bucs have found success with either man behind center.
Oh, Tampa Bay is .500 after four games, leaving the door open for success or failure with 12 more games to be played. Hey, it’s par for the course so far. The downside being that last two games were losses. Sunday’s was a Chicago Bears blowout of Los Buccaneers, 48-10. One of the leading headlines Monday afternoon on TampaBay.com read that Jameis Winston will return to the role of starting quarterback full-time for the rest of the season and possibly longer. All by way of a loss and Fitzpatrick not solving every issue during play.
That does not, in any fashion, cure what ails the Buccaneers. Not remotely and offense-first hype from the Times (and from fans) is part of the failings. Read More
Philly’s Gritty monstrosity – A fitting declaration for a weak mascot
Mascots and pro sports are a way to rile up the fans in a good way, a caricature personality that associates with a sports team. Some of those mascots are fitting-yet-playful parody characters who embody the franchise, like Roary the Lion with the Detroit Lions of the NFL, Osceola (and his steed, Renegade) with the Florida State University Seminoles. Others are a more playful association, like Mr. Met for the New York Mets or ThunderBug with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
And then there’s what the Philadelphia Flyers unveiled today:
Now, I’m not a Philadelphia sports fan and never have been, I still take the Flyers franchise as a rival to the Tampa Bay Lightning (the Flyes were the Bolts first ever playoff opponent). I’ve never taken much to the 76’ers, or the Eagles, though the Phillies have earned a token appreciation simply by way of where they play spring training. All that said, nothing I’m about to say is intended to slight or put down Philly as a city or a sports town.
That said, what the ever loving hell?? Ugh! Read More
Reacting to preseason Tampa Bay Buccaneer hype
Does it reflect poorly on me that my reaction to the Tampa Bay Times asking “Is This Tampa Bay’s Most Talented Offense Ever?” is “Who gives a shit?”
Defense wins championships and this franchises only successful era was founded by a defense-first coach and highly stocked and well-coached defense. The 2018 season is looking more and more like a Hugh Culverhouse-era letdown. You can’t and shouldn’t get hyped in the preseason, especially with a team with a long tradition of mediocrity. Questions like that – gauging talent level – are more fitting after a pro-sports season after accomplishments.
Maybe I’ll eat my words. Tampa Bay Buccaneer history – immediate and long-term – suggests otherwise.
A snap reaction to snap reactions aimed at the Tampa Bay Lightning and the 2018 NHL Eastern Conference Finals
I don’t know if it’s a casual fan base element, bandwagon fans or actually faithful of the Tampa Bsy Lightning who put on the panic hats if and when the Lightning struggle or fail to win… I know there’s an element of the die-hard fans who are like this – one of them is a good friend of mine – but I do know they have come out of the woodwork during the Lightning’s Eastern Conference Final series with the Washington Capitals after the disappointing opening games of the series.
To those who are crying that the Lightning are missing a piece of the puzzle in the roster, I’d like to welcome you to hockey or to the Tampa Bay Lightning from your original team. What’s worth citing as missing is your experience as a Bolts fan and your knowledge of the Tampa Bay Lightning roster and what it’s capable of.
Reacting to the Tampa Bay Buccaneer uniform ranking
Via the Tampa Bay Times: “Bucs uniform ranked 32nd among NFL teams, because there isn’t a 33rd”
To be fair to begin and give context, this piece is inspired by a ranking that was done in The Sacremento Bee, so it’s a reaction column inspired by an opinion piece. By way of opinionated reactions to the opinionated ranking, let me give you my own opinion:
If there had been a 33rd uniform ranking, Bucco Bruce would rank below it. Bad uniforms and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a history that goes hand-in-hand with the mediocrity of the club and its lackluster competitive prowess.
A note on Tampa Bay sports and the playoffs
Though it literally does not play out like this:
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers make the playoffs on average less than once every four seasons of play. I’ve already pointed out the Bucs annual win percentage is abysmal and this just illustrates the club has only made the playoffs 10 times in 41 years of existence.
In contrast, the Tampa Bay Lightning makes the NHL playoffs once every two-and-a-half seasons or so… Well, that is if they make the playoffs this season and to say that’s highly likely is an understatement. As of this writing the Bolts have 94 points on the season and lead the league. If things stand pat and the Lightning make the playoffs, it’ll be the 10th time it’s been done in 25 years of existence and 24 seasons of play (remember the 2004-05 Nil season was entirely wiped out due to lockout).
I was simply going to share this among friends, hammering home the once-every-four-years vs. once-every-two-and-a-half stat but I felt like I’m being cruel to leave out the Tampa Bay Rays. This will be Tampa Bay’s Major League Baseball team’s 20th season of play (only 5 seasons younger than the Lightning) and it’s notable that the Rays post-season faring is more comparable to the Buccaneers than the Lightning: In 19 completed season of play, the Rays have only made the playoffs four times (2008, the team’s 10th anniversary season, was the first time the club ever went to the playoffs).
As awful as that looks, there’s a defense for the Rays compared to the Buccaneers or lightning for that matter: MLB’s playoff system is a much tighter beast than the NFL and NHL. The league only started using wild cards (single slots in each league) in 1994. It was expanded to two in 2012.
At any rate, unless the Lightning suffers a grand disaster of play to close the 2017-18 season (and there are only 16 games remaining for them), they’ll tie the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in all-time playoff berths. The Rays won’t be coming close anytime soon, if ever, with thanks in part going toward the differences in schedule and playoff formatting between the three pro sports leagues.
Of Tampa Bay sports and media focus
I’ve been put off since last week while scanning headlines and online coverage of news in the Tampa Bay area and seeing a greater-than-usual focus put on the Gasparilla Pirate Festival than usual, while the marquee mid-season event of the NHL All-Star Weekend was an afterthought (or a complication to Gasparilla festivities). It felt almost like the NHL and Tampa Bay Lightning are afterthoughts.
In fact, disappointment and issues with the Bucs holding the headlines in the fall of 2017 and through the early weeks of 2018 have taken away notice to casual readers of local headlines online than the Tampa Bay Lightning haven’t just been playing games, but have been (and this will floor you) winning. Read More
On Tampa Bay sports disappointment and media coverage
A disappointing season in sports – both professional and amateur — is just that, a disappointment, a downer. Things don’t go as planned and the results are lesser than you (as a fan) wish. It’s something that you can’t hold against a high school or college team while the pro sports competitive disappointments can be outright atrocities of a competitive kind, run asunder by a multitude of choices by management as well of incidents of both a competitive variety and by bad luck.
The 2016-17 Tampa Bay Lightning season is a disappointment of a competitive nature where bad luck (injuries) and a horrible schedule played part in the Bolts not roaring into a competitive, playoff-bound position that has become a constant the last three seasons. There was a noted attitude problem in the Lightning locker room, and once that was brought into check the team turned up its competitive vibe and is where it is now: Just outside the playoff bubble with a scant chance of making it and a growing chance of missing the playoffs.
It’s a disappointment, yeah. Yet the strength of the team hasn’t collapsed, things haven’t been put asunder with bad coaching or low quality management moves. For the casual fan that’s locked in on disappointment in the trades of Ben Bishop, Brian Boyle and Valtteri Filppula: They weren’t going to stick around long term by way o the salary cap and costs to do so. Bishop and Boyle will be unrestricted free agents come July 1st, Filppula was due to become one in the summer of 2018. With the club already working with a very tight salary cap, retaining them over retaining forthcoming restricted free agents Ondrej Palat, Jonathan Drouin and / or Center Tyler Johnson just couldn’t be done.
Disappointing to lose fan favorite players, especially Bishop who was such a steady hand in the crease. But when looking at the broad picture, at the “Yzerplan” that accentuates player development, it’s understandable as something that had to be done.
To cut that short: shit happens. Ho hum. Next season is going to be something worth checking out, just as this season was, and the season before…
In comparison to professional sports in the history of the greater Tampa Bay Metropolitan area which has existed 40+ years, this season of Lightning hockey ranks a hell of a lot higher on the disappointment list than oh-so-many others coming from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Rays and Lightning. All that history, all the back-story of each club doesn’t gain web-clicks or sell newspapers at the immediate moment though.
See, Tampa Bay Times (and former Tampa Tribune) sports columnist Martin Fennelly made a bold decree that this Tampa Bay Lightning’s season is the biggest disappointment in the history of Tampa Bay sports. He does quick-quick takes of other top-tier disappointing seasons for local clubs, but highlights the current state of the Lightning as “desperation hockey” and the reason why this season is the top disappointment – ever.
That’s where I’ve been revitalized as a sports blogger, because something so limited in view, perspective and opinion got the green light from the only newspaper in the region. Something so inane, random and weak didn’t just get published – it’s going to get someone his paycheck because he put words down and it fit a column length requirement. Read More
The worst franchise in professional sports
For a long while, the worst team in pro sports was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where heartless and ambitionless owner Hugh Culverhouse reeped the financial benefits of a team in the NFL and cared not for the team’s performance.
For a few years, it was the Tampa Bay Lightning. Don’t give me that crap about the Lightning not having fans — they were there but the product was nothing that would draw fans in any market in the North America (four 50 loss seasons in a row will do that to you). The mystery Japanese owners and “Uncle” Art Williams — football fan come hockey owner — were some of what made the Lightning so laughable.
But today, Tampa Bay hosts another of the most incompetant, misrun franchises in professional sports history and there has never been a day of delight for fans of the team (unlike the Bucs who had reached the playoffs several times before they imploded in the early 1980’s, or the Lightning who went into the playoffs and electrified the region in 1996 before they fell apart). There has been no reason for fans to do anything besides grow apathetic towards the franchise.
I’m talking about the Devil Rays.
Of course someone can point out the Los Angeles Clippers and their futility and I will not argue that. Someone can point to the Arizona Cardinals and I can’t argue with that (as the Cards are owned by Culverhouse-clone Bill Bidwell). Someone can point to the Chicago Blackhawks, and I can argue that the ‘Hawks are facing ill right now but they have a history and loyal fans stick with the team regardless of the ineptitude of the last few decades.
The Rays have had nothing since their inception and — this is hilarious — they have raised ticket prices this season while giving fans absolutely no justification for doing so. No off season moves, no big changes, no signs of progress and no signs of hope.
Please read John Romano’s take on this and basically understand how bad, how sad, how terribly ridiculous this team is run. If there is a franchise that is the poster child for contraction – it’s the Rays. Not because they perform so poorly or they can’t draw fans… but because ownership doesn’t understand what it takes to draw fans in the first place. This is the weak link of a corporation (MLB). Relocate them or close the store and reep the benefits from other locations. It’s a joke what this region has to accept this franchise as “Major League Baseball” and an utter monstrosity that we’re looked at as bad fans for not supporting a team that has given us no reason to care.
The Pigskin and the Pigheads running for President
Did you know….??
The Washington Redskins have proved to be a time-tested election predictor. In the previous 15 elections, if the Washington Redskins have lost their last home game prior to the election, the incumbent party has lost the White House. When they have won, the incumbent has stayed in power.
This election year, that deciding game takes place on Sunday, October 31 … vs. Green Bay.
The Pros and Cons of Rush Limbaugh
I need to sound off here a week after some stuff came up in the national media regarding fellow Cochlear Implant user Rush Limbaugh and his big, fat, mouth…
You see, Rush did something that was stupid – really stupid. If he had watched what he said and had found another way around the issue, he could have gotten away with it and gotten props from many around the country. Instead? He played the race card and he can now eat shit and die for all the country cares – because he committed the crime of trying to suggest a great quarterback was over-rated because the media wanted to paint a black QB as great.
Two sides to it this:
In defense of Rush — Donovan McNabb being over-rated is something that me and my friends have mused about over the years. He’s also a killer QB when he is on and I have nothing but respect for him. We talk about how the media kisses up to certain quarterbacks — Michael Vick is the current wonder boy, Chad Pennington also last year — and that Donovan has gotten put on a pedestal – which imay or may not be above his abilities. Would I willingly trade Brad Johnson for Donovan McNabb? I’d be at war with myself trying to make that decision but McNabb end’s up winning that battle… Yet I still believe the guy gets over-rated at times. If Rush Limbaugh had focused on the idea that certain quarterbacks get propped up and named names – he could have avoided everything.
In revile of Rush — What the fuck were you thinking bringing in the race card?! Don’t spew your “liberal media” bullshit, because that ain’t it. That’s the remarks of a racist — not of a commentator which you tried to be with ESPN. Listen, you have an interesting mind but you have a shitty way of drawing conclusions and therefore you got just what you deserved — getting chased out of this job because you can’t keep your political leanings and staunchly, overly in fact, conservative views from upsetting the viewing public.
In closing: Keep the race card out of the NFL and pro sports in general. If a guy can play – let him do it. If a guy has no talent, keep the bum off the field… and if Rush Limbaugh applies for a job with you — only hire him if it’s a non speaking role.