As you know, questions are the Answer Man's passion, my sustenance, my raison d'etre.
Once a week, give or take a day or two, I'm given my own little space here on Buccaneers.com to face down a series of questions sent in by you, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' fans. The e-mailbag is always full, and I like it that way. And, with a few notable exceptions – again, my apologies to the citizens of Champaign, Illinois – the questions I read are courteous and upbeat.
Just yesterday, however, I was hit with a question that really stung.
Worst of all, it came from the Answer Man's mom!
This question actually came over the phone (no, I didn't make her e-mail it in; the Answer Mom has some privileges). I didn't write it down, so I don't have it verbatim, but to paraphrase, she said:
"Son, I'm really proud of your new job there with the Buccaneers [you know how moms are], and I'd like to read everything you have written. But I've missed some columns and I don't know where to find them now. Where do I look?"
What?! Even the Answer Mom doesn't know where to find my archive of columns? Now, she might not be the most World Wide Web-savvy person around (back around 1997 she called it a "passing fad"), but she can find her way around a web site. If she didn't know where my archive was – and she undoubtedly cared more than most – than how many more were in the same position?
Moreover, and more importantly, what else are people missing here on Buccaneers.com?!?
At that moment, I decided to do something a little different with this column. (Don't worry, I'll be back in a few days with another round of your questions. Consider this column a bonus.) Today we're going to answer questions about Buccaneers.com, and hopefully uncover some hidden gems.
In other words, today we're only going to address questions that deal with the where things are on Buccaneers.com and how to find them.
Hope you enjoy the ride.
- Alex J. Smith of Tampa, Florida asks:
Answer Man, you third-rate hack. While I'm generally underwhelmed with your football acumen, I figure even you can handle this question because it is about that site that amazingly still employs you, Buccaneers.com. My thing is, I want to know how many interceptions Ronde Barber had in 2004 and I don't know where to look. Sure, I could go to NFL.com, but I'd rather simplify matters and find it here, and in the process put you to work. Tell me, O over-rated one, where do I click?
Answer Man: And a good morning to you, too, Alex.
My base Answer Man instincts want to simply scream the answer out to you (Three! Three!), but the point is the column is to illuminate Buccaneers.com, so let's take a little walk together to the stats page.
Actually, there are two convenient areas in which to find this information.
First, you could go to Ronde's own Ronde's own bio page and check out his stats table. The best way there, besides clicking on the link I just gave you, is to roll over the Team/Stats link in the header bar at the top of the page and, from the sub-menu that comes up, choose Roster/Depth. From the subsequent roster page, click on Barber's name to go to his bio. If you scroll down past his picture, biographical information and news links, you'll see his year-by-year stats table.
Another option is to check out the Season-by-Season section in the History area. Once again, roll over Team/Stats, and this time choose History. The second choice among the red planks on the left is Season by Season; choose this and you'll see a pulldown menu for each season. Go to 2004 and you'll see a bunch of options, one of which is Individual Stats.
Once the 2005 season has begun, you will also find Ronde's new stats in the regular statistics section. Roll over the Team/Stats link on the menu bar to find Statistics. Click on it and you'll be taken to a page that currently displays a lot of zeroes. This is the 2005 scores and stats page. Right now, you'll see the schedule and a list of team stat categories, all obviously reading zero at the moment. When the season begins, this page will also carry individual stats, right underneath the team stats.
Okay, who's over-rated?
- G. Marie Diaz of Gainesville, Florida asks:
Dear A.M., Somebody told me you're the person to ask Buccaneer-related things here on Buccaneers.com. I'm kinda skeptical, having just seen the "photo" of you in those pewter tights and knee-high red boots. But I guess I'll give it a shot. I live in Gainesville, as you may have noticed from my signature. I'm a huge Buccaneers fan but people around here seem fixated on college football. I'm sure there must be other Buc fans living in the area, but I don't know how to meet them. More importantly, I don't know where to watch a game among other fans who will cheer at the same moments that I am. Does your site help out-of-town fans with information about where to watch Buccaneer games on Sunday?
Answer Man: Those boots are very manly where I come from, I'll have you know.
Miss Marie, we do offer that service. We call it "Where to Watch" because it tells people in a variety of cities where to watch the game. That's how clever we are.
Let's take Gainesville (please). What you're going to want to do is go to the Buccaneers.com home page and click on the Fan Central link among the red planks on the left-hand side. Once in, you'll see a ton of new choices on the left-hand side, one of which is – we might have mentioned this – "Where to Watch."
Click on it. On this page, you've got two options. One, find out where Buc fans in your city are watching games. Two, tell other Buc fans in your city where to watch games. Heck, go crazy and do both.
For your case, Marie, we'll choose Gainesville from the pulldown list. The result is a page with two good choices, Gator City Sports Grill and the local Beef O'Brady's. According to the fans who submitted the choices, the place is overrun by Buc fans on game days.
So there you go. Two great places to watch Buc games in Gainesville. Still skeptical?
- Wayne Falch of Valley Park, Missouri asks:
Answer Dude…I remember reading a story on Buccaneers.com a couple years ago about a long-snapper, from Kansas I think, who made the team after driving down on his own for a tryout. For a few years after I finished college, I thought I had the ability to play in the NFL, but I never really pursued it. I think my window is closed now, but I still found that story interesting. If I wanted to find it again, where would I look?
Answer Man: Wayne, the player to which you refer was Sean McDermott, who indeed drove down from Kansas and ended up winning the Buccaneers' long-snapping job.
Twenty five-word synopsis of that story on McDermott: Finishes school…Gets inspiration from cheesy movie…Blows off bills, uses last $400 to drive to Florida…Waits nine days for Buc tryout…Wins job.
Want to read it for yourself? Click here. The story is called Driven to Succeed and it tells McDermott's rather remarkable tale of perseverance. Some Buc fans may not remember the name, and in the overall history of the franchise, McDermott's moment is admittedly just a blip. But there are hundreds of interesting stories of this kind.
Some of them are in our archive, and Buccaneers.com gives you an effective way to search that archive. Here's how we found the McDermott story:
Roll over the News link in the menu bar. From the sub-menu that scrolls out, choose Archive and click on it. This will take you to the main News Archive, displaying the most recent story. You can use various links at the top and bottom of this page to search through news stories from 1999 to the present. However, if you want to find stories on a particular topic, I would advise using the Search feature.
You'll find the Search box at the top right of the page. Type in the name or topic you're looking for (in this case, "Sean McDermott" or just "McDermott"). This next step is important: Use the mouse to click on the "Go" button just to the right of the Search bar. If you simply hit your computer's return key, you will see a full list of Buccaneers.com stories, not those specific to search.
If you click on the "Go" button, however, you will be presented with a chronological list of stories that contain that topic. Using McDermott, we find 29 stories. About halfway down the page, we find Driven to Succeed.
Hope you enjoy reading the story again, Wayne. And for all those searching for topics on Buccaneers.com, this is the way.
- Kali Ashton of Portland, Oregon asks:
Answer Man, I've been a Buc fan for about 15 years, and one of my favorite players during that span was Reggie Cobb (I like the Vols, too). Anyway, I saw recently that Cobb is back with the Buccaneers, working as a scout. I told my friend about that, and he didn't really recall Cobb's years with the team (he hasn't been a fan for very long). Anyway, I wanted to share some of Cobb's numbers with this guy, but I didn't know where to find them. Is there somewhere on the site where I can see what he did each year?
Answer Man: Fortunately for you, and your neophyte Buc-fan friend, there is an extensive history section on Buccaneers.com.
Before we check it out, let's talk a little Reggie Cobb. The one-time standout running back for the Buccaneers is indeed back in the team's fold as a college scout. Of course, that means he is extraordinarily busy right about now, what with the 2005 NFL Draft less than a week away. Reggie is approaching his third year as a scout with the team after spending four years in Tampa as a player, including one (1992) in which he racked up 1,171 rushing yards.
So here's how you look at the stats for Reggie's four seasons. First, roll your mouse over Team/Stats in the menu bar and choose History (you can also click on Team/Stats and then choose History from the subsequent left-hand menu). From there, choose the Season by Season link on the left side. You'll see a pull-down menu of every Buccaneer season from 1976-2004; Reggie played in Tampa from 1990-93, so choose any one of those seasons from the pulldown list. We'll go with 1992. You'll see from the links below the pulldown list that there are a variety of things we can explore for the 1992 season, but let's choose Individual Statistics. Scroll down and you'll find Cobb's rushing exploits.
- Carlos Otto of Orlando, Florida asks:
Answer Man, Recently you challenged your readers to stump you with a trivia question, then acted all high and mighty in answering the only two that were sent…and they were easy. You're just lucky that I don't feel like playing, because I'm a Buccaneer trivia whiz and I would have taken you down in no time. Anyway, my reason for writing is related to that. I've enjoyed the trivia bits here and there on the site through the years, but I'd like to see more of it, because I enjoy the challenge. Any thoughts on doing trivia more often?
Answer Man: Hey, Carlos, I can't help it if my readers didn't send anything really challenging. If I seemed superior, well, I am from a more advanced planet. That's the story I'm sticking with.
As for trivia, you might be surprised to learn that there is a new question on Buccaneers.com every week. For the details, we're going to be heading into the Fan Central section once again.
As before, click on the Fan Central link on the left-hand side of the main page. On the new left-hand menu, just a bit above Where to Watch, you'll find Weekly Trivia. Click on this link and you're there.
The weekly trivia question isn't a contest; there's no prize to win besides the comfort you can gain from proving how knowledgeable you are as a Buccaneer fan. This week's question deals with the draft, appropriately. Why not give it a try?
The answer is just one click away, as I think might be obvious on this page. The question changes each week, usually on Wednesday, so you can come back on a weekly basis for your Buccaneer trivia fix.
As long as we're on the topic, I have an exciting bit of information for you. I'm not sure if I'm supposed to share this yet, but what are they going to do, fire the Answer Man? (Well, I suppose they could fire the Answer Man. Please don't fire the Answer Man!)
My sources tell me that there is a new trivia quiz about to debut on Buccaneers.com. I don't have a lot of details to share, but I understand that it is going to be very difficult, but the prize is going to be quite good, accordingly. I can't share any more, but keep your eyes peeled.
- James Dunn of Columbia, Missouri asks:
Yo, Answer Man…Why do I not see Corey Smith on the roster? I know he was on the team last December, but I don't remember seeing any news about him. Did he become a free agent? I know he's been on and off the roster since 2000, but I don't know what has happened to him now. Or is it maybe an error of omission on the part of Buccaneers.com?
Answer Man: Corey Smith was indeed on the roster late last season, and he also was with the team in 2002 and for part of 2003. After joining the Bucs as an undrafted free agent out of North Carolina State in 2002, Smith made the 53-man roster as a rookie and had a sack in the second game of the season, at Baltimore. He hit the injured reserve list just a few weeks later, however, and missed out on much of the Bucs' Super Bowl run.
Last year, Smith went to training camp with the Buccaneers but was released just before the regular season as the team chose to keep rookie free agent Josh Savage. Smith made it back to the active roster, however, when the Bucs signed him again on October 20. After a month and a half with the team, he was released on December 15 and signed to Tampa Bay's practice squad, then released from that unit a few days later. Smith signed with the San Francisco 49ers and appeared in San Fran's last game of the season. He is still on the 49ers' roster now.
I'm more than happy to go over Smith's Buccaneer transactions, but I thought you should know that you can find this information yourself on Buccaneers.com. Our site includes a detailed list of all the team's player transactions, for every dating back to 1999. You can browse through these lists and see every move the team made, right up to its most recent signings of Jeff Hatch and Matt Martin on April 12.
All of Smith's roster moves are on these lists. You can even switch from a purely chronological list to one ordered by the players' names simply by clicking on Player View on the menu bar.
- Mark Bonds of Brandon, Florida asks:
**Answer Man: I'm a season ticket holder, so 10 times a year I have the opportunity to watch the Buccaneers Cheerleaders in action (and some football, too). I'm impressed with their talent and enthusiasm, and so is my daughter, who I take to about half the games. She's 10, and she pays almost as much attention to them as to the game. Of course, we're about 30 rows back.
My question is, is there anywhere my daughter could meet any of the cheerleaders. I've heard they do some appearances in the community, but I usually hear about it after it's over. How can I find out in advance where they will be?**
Answer Man: Now, the Answer Man knows from seeing the site's traffic numbers that the Cheerleader section is no mystery to our users. It is, in fact, visited quite often.
However, there's a lot in there, what with the pictures and the videos and the bios and the pictures and stuff, so I guess some of it might get lost in the shuffle. But if you check here you'll find an Appearance Calendar for the new Tampa Bay Buccaneers Cheerleaders.
This is one of the easier ones we've covered tonight. To find the calendar, simply roll over Cheerleaders on the menu-bar and you'll see Appearance Calendar. Click on that...paydirt.
Of course, if you check it now, you won't find much. The new squad was just selected last week, and they are in the early stages of training and pulling the group together. However, it will soon be populated with all of the cheerleaders' upcoming appearances, so if you want to know where and when you can meet them in public, keep checking back at the calendar page.
- Steve Young of Chicago, Illinois asks:
Answer Man, Dude, who is the all-time leading receiver in Buccaneer history? I would have thought it was Mark Carrier, but somebody told me it's not? And while you're at it, who has the most interceptions in team history? And who has the best passer rating? And who has the best punt-return average? And who…well, I'll give you a break and stop there. I'm not that Steve Young, by the way, or I would probably know the answers to these questions.
Answer Man: My dad once told me, "Give a man a fish and you'll feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you'll feed him for life." Which I thought was clever until I heard it about a million other times, including on freakin' Survivor the other night.
But anyway, the point applies here. I could tell you the answer to each of those questions, beginning with James Wilder, the running back who had 430 catches from 1981-89, easily outdistancing Carrier's 321. (It should be noted that this chart is sorted by receptions. If you ask me who the all-time leader in receiving yards is, then I would say Carrier, at 5,018.)
Or I could point you to the page of all-time leaders here on Buccaneers.com. Check out every performer in team history in rushing, passing, receiving, scoring, kickoff returns, punt returns and interceptions. There are also top-10 charts for games, starts, touchdowns, tackles and sacks.
Here's how to get there: Roll over Team/Stats on the menu bar and click on History on the sub menu. On the new left-hand menu, click on Records. The first thing you'll see is a list of links for the all-time leaders in each category.
Hopefully, you'll find that page of some use, Steve. Root around in there and see what you find. And by that Steve Young, you mean the offensive tackle the Bucs took in the third round of the 1976 draft, right? The one who played in 11 games with 11 starts as a rookie in the Bucs' inaugural season?
- Kent Brockman of Springfield, Illinois asks:
**Okay, so I scored a pair of tickets to the Bucs' December game against Atlanta last year, right? I come down to visit my parents in Sarasota for the weekend, and I take my father to the game. We're both excited, he's got his Mike Alstott jersey on, I'm going new-school with Michael Clayton, and we set off in plenty of time to make a 1:00 game at Raymond James Stadium.
Well, long story short, we make a wrong turn somewhere near Tampa and end up in the Busch Gardens area. Sure, we eventually made it to the game, but we missed the first touchdown (fortunately, there were plenty of other highlights on the day). Anyway, we probably should have been armed with explicit directions. Next time, we'll know better. Can we find directions on your site?**
Answer Man: You sure can.
There's actually a variety of information on Buccaneers.com regarding Raymond James Stadium and how you can enjoy it to its fullest on game day. There's a seating chart, concessions locations, parking guides, stadium policies and much more, including, yes, driving directions.
Here's how to find them. Roll over the Raymond James Stadium link on the menu bar to activate the sub-menu. On that sub-menu you'll find a choice called Parking/Directions...you know we're going to tell you to click on that.
The first thing you'll see on this page is parking information, which you might find useful, Kent. Then you'll see a map of the stadium and the various parking lots. Underneath that map, you'll find a list of driving directions from various locations. One of them is Sarasota/Bradenton.
- Lewis Brock of San Diego, California asks:
Answer Man, I remember a few weeks back the Bucs running a story about the new training facility, how the building that was on the site was being torn down so that construction could begin. If I remember correctly, they let Coach Gruden operate the machine that started tearing the building down, and there was a video to go with it. I wanted to show that video to my friend at work here, who is also a big Buccaneers fan. Is it still on the site somewhere?
Answer Man: Yes, indeed. In fact, we archive all of our videos so that you can catch up any time you like.
Those archives go back for years. Just for the heck of it, I just watched a training camp interview with Ryan Nece in 2002, the year he was an undrafted rookie. He had already made a good impression by that point in camp, but it was interesting to see how intense and focused he was. I think the interviewer could have given him a chance to catch his breath, for goodness sake, but those are days long gone.
As for the video you're requesting, I think you'll find it very easily in the Buccaneers.com Video Archive. Here's a few ways to get there.
First, keep an eye on the Buccaneers Broadcast Network on the right-hand side of the home page. All new videos show up there first. At the bottom of that box you will find a More Videos link. Click on that to go into the archives.
Also on the home page, on the left-hand side, you'll see a Multimedia link. Click on that and you'll find yourself on a page with a bunch of photo archives, which are also pretty cool. Within the new left-hand menu you'll find Video/Press Conference Archives; yes, that's what it sounds like it is, so click on it. Once in, you'll only have to scroll down a short way to see the video entitled, "Demolition Begins on New Training Site."
Okay, that's it for today's Buccaneers.com tour. As I said, I'll be back in a few days with a traditional Answer Man column, driven by your questions on a variety of topics.
Before I go, I have to confess something. As some of you undoubtedly figured out, the questions above were planted. I won't insult your intelligence any longer and insist that those were actually sent in by fans. While I do get some inquiries as to the web site's functionality, most of them tend towards rulebook matters, historical inquiries, trivia and the like.
So I made up the names and the questions. Most of the names are meaningless, though I did steal one from The Simpsons. There is one, however, that is the combination of the middle names of two prominent Buccaneer players, past or present. Can you tell which one, and further, can you name the two players?
I'll print the snappiest answer to my impromptu quiz in the next column, assuming one arrives.