In a November 7 game at Raymond James Stadium last fall, Kansas City Chiefs running back Priest Holmes ran for 59 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' defense. It was the lowest rushing total of the season for Holmes, who might have added to it if not for a knee injury suffered midway through the fourth quarter.
The Buccaneers went on to win the game, 34-31. Worse for the Chiefs, Holmes, who had 892 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns in just eight games, didn't play another down in 2004. His knee injury wasn't thought to be season-ending on the day it occurred, but the league's most productive running back never recovered.
Maybe Holmes was already banged up from the tornado.
You see, a few days before the Chiefs-Bucs game in Tampa, Holmes and his faithful companion, Toto, tried to escape a huge twister by hiding in their home on the prairie. Unfortunately, the tornado ripped the house from the ground, flung Holmes and Toto threw a whirlwind of flying cows and chickens and eventually deposited them right on the Buccaneers logo on the Raymond James Stadium Field. Before he could get his bearings, Holmes was confronted by a trio of menacing anti-Munchkins in Buccaneer helmets, and his dog began talking and…
Well, at least that's the way Buccaneers.com saw it.
Of course, Holmes was not the victim of a tornado in 2004, anymore than Buccaneers.com thought Kansas City was actually in Kansas when it used the tagline, "I don't think we're in Kansas anymore." But he was a prominent character in one of the 18 Flash Movie Intros featured on the site during the 2004 season. In that regard, he shared a casting call with a group diverse enough to include an axe-wielding coach, a foul-breathed Clubber Lang, a Caped Crusader and a thoroughly relaxed Ricky Williams…to name a few.
This week, we take an extended look at that wonderfully bizarre mix of images and characters that made up the 2004 season of the Buccaneers.com Flash Intros.
Over the past two weeks, you have cast your vote for the best Buccaneers.com Movies of the 2002 and 2003 seasons. Now we ask you to do the same for 2004. On the right is a poll asking for your opinion of the most enjoyable Flash Intro of this past season; on this page are links to all of those Movies. If you'd like, take a few minutes to reacquaint yourself with the Intros before voting in the poll.
The winners for the 2002 and 2003 seasons have already been determined by your votes. They will be revealed, along with the winner of this weeks' poll, during a final heat in the week leading up to the Super Bowl. You will then get to vote for the best Buccaneers.com Flash Movie of the last three years.
This week's poll presents some tough choices.
Who made a better "Luke Gridwalker," Chris Simms or Brian Griese? Was Coach Gruden funnier when he delivered a Grudefather message to Lovie Smith, or when he slowly went insane while spending the bye week in the Overlook Hotel? Was Michael Vick better as a Lang stand-in, or as himself in the spoof of the Michael Vick experience?
The 2004 Flash Movies were good-naturedly boastful, as usual, but they also weren't afraid to direct some of the shots at the mirror. For instance, the hilarious "Blooper Reel" Intro for the season finale – "Sometimes, no matter how hard you work or how often you practice, things don't always go as planned" read the opening text – showed Simms, Griese and others flubbing their lines for previous intros. And how many NFL owners would agree to be transformed into a diminutive, green, big-eared Jedi Knight for the sake of a web site intro?
Defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, one of the most respected coaches in the league, was a breakout star during this year's season of Intros. After piloting the Millennium Kiffin to the rescue in "Dome Wars" before the first New Orleans Game, Kiffin played the part of "Mickey" in the Rocky-inspired "Griesy" and later helped cook the Pink Panther to a golden brown.
Many other Buccaneer players and coaches showed up in the Intros during the season. Pittman was the Caped Crusader, with Michael Clayton by his side as "The Rookie Wonder." Derrick Brooks was a hit man, in a different sense than the one he uses on the field. If that wasn't enough, Brooks also played a Wookie named Linebacca. Yes, a Wookie. A loyal Buc fan even got into the act, playing himself alongside a particularly loony Raiders fan with team-esteem issues reflected by his bumper sticker.
If you don't remember these Flash Movie moments on Buccaneers.com, now might be the time to review the season. Then cast your vote, please, as the Intro Playoffs continue.
And stay tuned for the Finals…two weeks from now, same Bat time, same Bat channel.