"I was kind of surprised and saddened to see the Bucs open the 2003 season on the road, especially in Philadelphia. It would have been real special for all eyes to be on Tampa to start the 2003 season at the Ray-Jay, but imagine the positive. What if the Eagles closed down Veterans Stadium and opened up Lincoln Financial Field with a loss to the Buccaneers. That would absolutely kill those obnoxious Eagles fans. The mayor of Philadelphia would have to put a suicide watch on the entire city if the Eagles started the season with a loss to arch-nemesis Tampa Bay."
"The clear advantage I see in playing the Eagles game as the season opener is that the Philly defense may not be in full stride at the start of the season. Jim Johnson is one hell of a coordinator, but replacing Shawn Barber, Hugh Douglas and ace nickel corner Al Harris will be a tough order."
Leo Haggerty - Pewter Report Managing Editor:
"Well, a big thank-you-very-much goes out to the National Football League from the Buccaneers. I was under the impression that the winner of the previous Super Bowl gets to start the season at home on Monday Night Football so they can show off the Lombardi Trophy with an unblemished record. I guess the mystique of the Bucs closing down Veterans Stadium in the City of Brotherly Love with a victory over the Eagles and a chance for a rematch with the Birds in the inaugural game at Lincoln Financial Field was too tempting for the NFL schedule-makers to pass up. I hate to see the Pewter Pirates have to hoist the Super Bowl banner at 0-1 for 2003 but that's what I expect to transpire. Hey, look at it this way. Tampa Bay started its 2002 campaign with a home loss to New Orleans and that led to a Super Bowl championship. It's just one of the 16 games on the Bucs' schedule and that's how they need to approach it. The Birds need this win more than the Buccaneers or the city will turn on them like they turned on Santa Claus who was pummeled with snow balls in the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade."
Jim Flynn - Pewter Report Assistant Editor:
"They say it's harder to defend a Super Bowl title than it is to win the first one, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will certainly have their work cut out for them when their road to Super Bowl XXXVIII starts in Philadelphia on Monday Night Football."
Tampa Bay had lost four consecutive contests to Philadelphia before the Pewter Pirates downed the Eagles in the NFC Championship Game, 27-10. One could easily make the argument that the Bucs will lose to the Eagles in this contest. After all, Philly will be looking for revenge and they're opening a brand new stadium."
"While the Bucs will go into this game as the underdog, I suspect the Eagles might still be shellshocked from its devastating loss to the Pewter Pirates nine months earlier, just as the Rams were left reeling the season after they were upset by the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVI. Some say Philadelphia has Tampa Bay's number, but if that talk hasn't already ceased, it will definitely come to a halt if the Pewter Pirates can open the Eagles' new stadium the same way they closed out Veterans Stadium."