The Answer Man is feeling much love for you today!
That's you the Buccaneer fans, whom I solicited for some help in answering a question last week, in what has proven to be a triumphant return after a training camp hiatus.
Anyone with any history of reading my humble little column knows that most of my reader-solicitation efforts have gone poorly. Oh, I get plenty of e-mails from all of you, but usually not in response to one of my own questions. You have your own topics that interest you, and that's that. My questions? You'd rather not be bothered.
Willfully ignoring that history, I seemed doomed to repeat it last week when I asked you to chime in on a question sent by Andrew Thompson of Fort Collins, Colorado. A displaced fan who didn't feel like he was fully plugged into Buccaneer lore, Thompson wanted to know who our natural rival is. I thought that was up for interpretation, so I asked you to send in your thoughts. In the back of my mind, I was hoping the whole thing might give me a ready-made intro for the next column (this one). Okay, yeah, it was kind of a scam.
You came through in a big way. Through last Friday through the time I started putting this column together a few days ago, I received 21 well-thought-out e-mails on the topic, ranging from Buddy Nash's succinct, six-word answer to one from Jeff Meyer that weighed in at nearly 900 words. We are brothers in verbosity, Jeff!
There were rather long entries by Patrick Wood and Scott Wyler, too. In fact, if I simply printed all of your letters as is, I would have a 4,000-word intro, and that would be some kind of record.
However, I thought some editing was in order (sorry, Jeff) so that we could get an overall feel for the consensus answer. First, though, I'm going to open with one of the answers in its entirety, my favorite of the bunch, though there were many candidates for that designation.
Hurricane Patterson of Brandon waxes poetic:
**I harken back to your request for prose. And I answer that call. though this may not be long It will explain for all.
One time there were the Rams Full of strength and might. Then came the Bears Whose shuffle was a fright.
Followed closely by the Packers With Favre doing the trick. But nothing's so sweet today As Vick on a stick...**
The Answer Man might be uncharitable and point out that what you've sent me is poetry, Hurricane, not prose. And I might tell you that my ears are aching waiting for one more syllable in that last line. But I won't. I don't want to diminish your effort, which is impressive. It's no Leaves of Grass, but then Whitman probably never worked "Vick on a stick" into any of his work. Sadly.
As you can see, Hurricane's opinion is Atlanta. Did that jibe with what the rest of you thought? Let's take an (edited) look at some of your answers.