Brian Griese had an interesting first year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
He started the season as the team's inactive third quarterback, saw promising second-year man Chris Simms promoted to the starting job in Week Five, and soon found himself in the starting role when Simms suffered an injury. All Griese did after that was compile the best single-season passer rating in franchise history, throw 20 touchdown passes in 10 games and help usher in the best rookie receiver the Bucs have ever had.
Griese's emergence as the starter may have been a surprise to Buc fans, but as a confident veteran he probably expected success all along. What he may not have expected to encounter in 2004 was Clubber Lang.
Or Clubber Lang's breath, for that matter. And he certainly never thought he'd encounter team Owner/President Malcolm Glazer in a pair of Yoda ears. Like we said, it was an interesting first year for Griese.
If you don't know what we're talking about, then you've somehow missed one of the most unique features to be found on any professional sports web site, the Buccaneers.com Flash Movies.
Each week during the last three seasons, and on several other special occasions, visitors to the Buccaneers' official web site have been greeted by inspiring – and often hilarious – Flash Intros related to the upcoming game or event. The animated Griese, for instance, jumped right into a prominent Intro role, battling Lang in a Rocky spoof and encountering "Yowna" in a take on The Empire Strikes Back.
Other Buccaneer players and coaches routinely pop up in the Buccaneers.com Flash Movies. Defensive Coordinator Monte Kiffin, for instance, has famously flown the Millennium Kiffin, while quarterback Brad Johnson has stood in as Agent 014, Ronde Barber has donned a Freddie Krueger mask and Simeon Rice and Joe Jurevicius and Anthony McFarland have been ghostly twins in the hallway of The Shining's Overlook Hotel.
This ever-growing cast of characters routinely pokes fun at the Bucs' upcoming opponent, and has playfully skewered opposing players and fans, as well as a long list of pop-culture icons. Witness Michael Vick awakening from a Buc-inspired nightmare to smile contentedly at his broken leg. See Priest Holmes whisked off by a tornado to a strange land and Ricky Williams kicking back on a Caribbean island. Cheeseheads have been grated and Lincoln Financial Field has been razed. A group of extras as diverse as Snoop Dogg, Rod Serling, Condoleezza Rice and John Madden have helped the Bucs bring their fans a weekly dose of humor and inspiration.
Buccaneers.com sincerely hopes Buccaneer fans have enjoyed all of the Flash Movies over the past three years. What we want to find out over the next month, is which ones you've enjoyed the most. Call it playoff time of the Buccaneers.com Flash Movies.
Over the next month, we'll be asking for your help in determining the best Intro from the 2002-04 seasons. We'll examine one season per week for the next three weeks – the preliminary heats – then take the winners from each campaign and pit them against each other during Super Bowl week.
In each case, it will be your votes that determine winner. To the right, you'll notice a fan poll listing all of the Buccaneers.com Flash Movies from the 2002 season. Please vote for the Intro that you enjoyed the most.
You'll want to review the options. Click here for an archive page of all the Flash Movies from the 2002 season.
Did you prefer the Saints walking the plank to the Viking-Buccaneer swordfight, or vice versa? Were you tickled when the Falcons laid an egg or the Panthers became 'Scaredy Cats' on Halloween? Which was the better tagline: "Vicktim Terminated" or "Here, Kitty Kitty?"
Buccaneers.com wants to know which Flash Movies you think were the best and, ultimately, your top choice overall. Next week, we'll look back over the Intros of 2003 – get ready for Steve Spurrier, the Barber brothers and a ship made of cheese – and the following week we'll move on to 2004. Please cast your vote in the poll to the right. Results of the voting will not be revealed until the final installment of the 'Flash Movie playoffs.'