Lists, Lists And More Lists

October 3 - Another installment of Pewter Report contributing writer Sandy Penner's weekly column.

Everyone loves lists. No not just women, everybody. They're easy to read and understand, they're funny but at the same time they don't take long to compile. Usually, the Letterman-like Top 10 list is what people go for. Not me. Since I go against the grain, I should put together some Top 5 lists, right? Well, once you account for the lazy factor what I'm left with is a bunch of Top 3 lists. Call it Letterman-like or a quasi list but it's still a bunch of ideas scribbled on a napkin.

The 1\4 pole of the NFL season is always a good time for reflection. It's not the halfway point yet it's still a landmark occasion in which we can gauge exactly what's going on. For the fans out there who want to multiply their teams record by four and dump the rest of the season, that's not where we're going with this. So, without further delay here are your easy to read NFL lists, and remember good things come in threes, I think.

TOP 3 THINGS WE KNOW ABOUT THE BUCS

1. Their defense is playing at a really high level. The tackling has been stellar and if you want to give out pro bowl invites now, mark down Sapp, Rice, Brooks, Barber and Quarles.

2. The schedule is unquestionably easy. The Bucs lucked out with St Louis, Minnesota and to a degree Chicago not being what they once were. In addition, they don't leave Tampa in the month of November and play one cold weather game all season. The Bucs could try and lose and they should still win at least 11 games.

3. Jon Grudens offense will work. It's only a matter of time. Frankly, it might not be until next year when it really kicks in but it'll happen. Spreading the ball around is the key to any successful offense in the league.

TOP 3 THINGS WE DON'T KNOW ABOUT THE BUCS

1. Do the Bucs love Gruden or fear him? In the movie A Bronx Tale, Sonny (a mob boss played by Chazz Palmanteri) is asked whether he would rather be feared or loved. His answer was feared because fear lasts longer. Maybe it will work with Gruden as well.

2. Are the Bucs a legit Super Bowl contender? I guess we don't know that yet because it's still too early but the combined record of the Bucs beaten opponents is 1-10. The games at Atlanta and Philadelphia as well as the Cleveland game at RJS will give us a better indication.

3. Will Keyshawn explode again? If I had my druthers I'd rather not see it but if you take away Key's combativeness and competitive fire, you have just an average receiver.

Now for some easier ones.

TOP 3 MVP CANDIDATES

1. Drew Bledsoe, Buffalo: Bills think they have a chance to win every game simply because of him.

2. Priest Holmes, Kansas City: One year wonder. Uh, how about No.

3. Tom Brady, New England: Pats fans don't care about Bledsoe, just winning another ring.

TOP 3 TEAMS

1. Oakland (3-0): Who needs Chucky?

2. New England (3-1): Defense has been spotty the last two weeks.

3. San Diego (4-0): Check back in a couple of weeks.

TOP 3 WORST TEAMS

1. Cincinnati (0-4): As clueless as I've seen a team in a long time.

2. New York Jets (1-3): Not even competing which will make Herm Edwards nuts.

3. St Louis (0-4): And I'm not afraid to say it.

TOP 3 PLEASANT SURPRISES

1. Carolina (3-1) The defense is a nightmare to game plan for.

2. New Orleans (3-1): Speed kills

3. San Diego: See above.

TOP 3 COACHES

1. Marty Schottenheimer, San Diego: Hey, Dan Snyder. You sure you don't want him back.

2. Jim Haslett, New Orleans: After last years meltdown, Haslett has re-energized this squad.

3. John Fox, Carolina: His hunch of Rodney Peete has worked so far.

TOP 3 WORST COACHES

1. Dick Lebeau, Cincinnati: Huh?

2. Mike Martz, St Louis: Rams have to seriously decide if they want him around next year.

3. Mike Tice, Minnesota: Might want to partake in some of Randy Moss stash.

?TOP 3 THINGS STEVE SPURRIER WILL SAY AT SOME POINT THIS SEASON

1. "Wuerfell, get ready. Ramsey, stay ready, Matthews, be ready."

2. "Can someone explain this challenge thing to me."

3. "Can someone find me Phil Fulmers phone number, I need to feel good about myself again."

TOP 3 ROOKIES (ANY POSITION)

1. Clinton Portis, Denver: Terrell who?

2. Jeremy Shockey, New York Giants: If I see one more Mark Bavaro comparison, I'm going to go postal.

3. Roy Williams, Dallas: Memo to WR's, be afraid, be very afraid.

TOP 3 PLAY-BY-PLAY GUYS

1. Mike Patrick - ESPN: Always solid.

2. Joe Buck - FOX: Better at baseball, but still real good.

3. Kevin Harlan - CBS: Enthusiastic.

TOP 3 COLOR GUYS

1. Phil Simms - CBS: Tells you what you need to know.

2. Bill Maas - FOX: Way underrated. Seems down to earth and genuine on the air.

3. Joe Theismann - ESPN: He might blabber too much but he doesn't rely on shtick like some guy named Madden.

TOP 3 STUDIO GUYS (ANY ROLE)

1. Tom Jackson - ESPN: Tell me he wouldn't be an outstanding coach.

2. Jim Nantz - CBS: The smooth veteran is playing with a bad hand on a crowded deck.

3. James Brown - FOX: How much would you pay to see the Harvard grad Brown stump the dim witted Terry Bradshaw.

TOP 3 WORST EX- NFL PLAYERS ON TV (ANY ROLE)

1. Deion Sanders - CBS: He's not funny.

2. Boomer Esiason - CBS: Like Vanilla Fudge ice cream. Trying hard but still bland.

3. Brent Jones - CBS: zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz BORING.

TOP 3 ATTRACTIVE WOMEN ON NFL TV (ANY ROLE)

1. Bonnie Bernstein - CBS: Just downright good looking.

2. Jill Arrington - CBS: Always dressed to impress.

3. Jillian Barberie - FOX: Not the sharpest tool in the shed but keeps you glued to the set.

I've got to go, my wife just put together the grocery list for me.


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