Every week, every team's media-relations staff puts out a lengthy release about the upcoming game. In the days when the world still functioned in print, teams handed these out as bound books. Some still do and some just send them out electronically. There always is interesting stuff in every release.
But I have a favorite section and I'm very partial in this regard. You'll understand in a second. The section is a weekly feature in Tampa Bay's release and the title for an item that takes up an entire page is "Strength of the South."
It often seems like we all have an inferiority complex because there's a perception (and, sometimes, a reality) that the NFC South does not get the national attention it deserves. So, let's all boost the old self esteem a little bit today.
Let's take a read through an excerpt of what the Bucs included on Page 18 of this week's release:
One could argue that the toughest division in the NFL is the NFC South. Since realignment in 2002, the NFC South is one of two divisions in the NFC and is one of only three divisions in the NFL to have every team earn a division championship. The NFC West and the AFC West are the only other divisions to have all four teams earn a division championship since realignment. The NFC South has also been represented a league-best six times in a Conference Championship Game, one better than the NFC East, and tied for a league best three times in the Super Bowl along with the AFC East. They have also sent the most different teams to the Super Bowl of any division, sending three different teams (Tampa Bay, Carolina, New Orleans) and have the most different teams to win a Super Bowl, two (Tampa Bay, New Orleans), since 2002. The NFC South has been led by the Buccaneers, who have won three division crowns in eight years.
I think I'm going to go out and get that item -- heck the entire page -- printed out tomorrow and blow up to poster size. Maybe even jazz them up a bit with pictures of the Lombardi Trophy in the background. Then, I'm going to send copies to my friends Matt Mosley and Mike Sando.
Anybody that repeatedly refers to the division they cover as "The Beast'' deserves as much junk mail as they can possibly get. And Sando? Well, I just want to help a friend out. I'm thinking that while I'm covering three playoff teams in January, he'll need something to read to pass the time.