Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Multi-Media Blitz

The Bucs – on everybody’s short list of Super Bowl contenders – make another media splash with a magazine cover and a highlight film

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CB Donnie Abraham's interception return against Minnesota is one of the great moments relived in the team's 1999 highlight film

Midsummer is when the various 'NFL Preview' issues begin to hit the magazine rack, and Tampa Bay Buccaneer fans will find their trip to the newsstand a little more pleasurable this summer. Sure to be a strong Super Bowl consideration in any set of 2000 season predictions, the Bucs landed an even higher profile mention this week: another national sports cover devoted to the team. Concurrently, the team's 1999 highlight film is just about to reach the public as well.

Sport magazine's 'NFL Preview 2000' issue for August was released this week, with those words skimming just above the head of Buccaneer defensive tackle Warren Sapp. Sapp, the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year, is the third major cover subject for the Buccaneers in the last four months.

In April, newly-acquired WR Keyshawn Johnson graced the front of the Sports Illustrated issue that followed the NFL draft. Tampa Bay traded its two first-round 2000 draft picks to the New York Jets for Johnson. In June, Johnson appeared on the cover of *The Sporting News alongside QB Shaun King, promoting a feature story regarding the team's offensive development in the offseason.

Sport's feature on Sapp completes the trifecta and covers such topics as the addition of Johnson, Sapp's views on Shaun King and what type of player will win the league's sack crown. The real joy for Buc fans, however, follows the Sapp piece, where the magazine makes it's predictions for the upcoming season.

The magazine's John Czarnecki predicts a Tampa Bay-Indianapolis Super Bowl, with the following outcome: "It'll be another small-market title showdown with Tony Dungy's tight-knit group winning it all."

The additions of Johnson, C Jeff Christy and G Randall McDaniel to a team that missed last January's Super Bowl by less than a touchdown have put the Bucs in position for this type of media blitz mostly unfamiliar to team fans. (NFL Insider, for instance, grades the Bucs out at 64.0, just under the league-high grade of 65.0 given to Jacksonville.)

Observers wishing to see how Tampa Bay's team got to this point can see for themselves on Friday morning at 8:00 a.m. EDT by tuning in to ESPN2. That network will feature the debut of the Buccaneers' 1999 highlight film, entitled 'Destination Tampa' because the team's ultimate goal, Super Bowl XXXV, will be held in the Bay area's own Raymond James Stadium. There will be several other chances to view the film on ESPN's networks, including July 10 at 3:30 p.m. EDT, July 25 at 11:30 p.m. EDT and August 10 at 3:00 p.m. on ESPN2. ESPN will broadcast the show on August 28 at 4:30 p.m.

The 24-minute video, produced by the Emmy-laden NFL Films, covers the Bucs' team-record 11-5 regular season, the club's exciting playoff run and many of the key maneuvers of the following offseason. Among the memorable plays excerpted for the pleasure of Buc fans are Mike Alstott's cutback touchdown run against Washington, Martin Gramatica's 52-yard game-winning field goal against Atlanta and Donnie Abraham's two long interception returns for touchdowns against the Falcons and Vikings.

The nearly simultaneous release of the highlight video and some very Buc-centric NFL preview magazines offers a nice double-dip for Tampa Bay fans – a happy reminder of 1999 and an exciting look ahead to the 2000 season. That's good news for Buc fans who view the less than three weeks until training camp as an eternity. *

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