by Mitch Perry
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost to the Philadelphia Eagles on the last play of the game yesterday afternoon at Raymond James Stadium, 23-21, and with it, probably any realistic shot of making the playoffs in 2012.
This reporter was among the 64,941 people who packed into Raymond James for the game that apparently everyone thought the Bucs would easily win. But Philly, which has had a train wreck of a season that will undoubtedly end with the termination of coach Andy Reid after 14 seasons, was the better team for most of the game, despite the fact that Tampa rallied to take an 11-point lead midway through the fourth quarter.
For only the second time of the year, the game sold enough tickets to remove the blackout, which was in great part because of Eagle fans, who sucked up thousands of loose tickets to make the stadium feel almost like a neutral site.
The Bucs are now 6-7, probably still better than expected before the season began, but ultimately a disappointment. And what about quarterback Josh Freeman? The young man had a terrible game, inaccurate with many of his passes. The Bucs then opted to rely more on rookie running back Doug Martin, who had his finest game in the past month. But the pass defense was woeful, and rookie QB Nick Foles showed why Michael Vick will soon be looking for gainful employment in another NFL city.
But hey, it was a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon in December, and everyone seemed to have a pretty good time. And who knew you could bring dogs into the park? Shortly before game time a fan had her Chihuahua tucked into a Baby Bjorn-like device strapped on her chest.
On to hard news. Charlie Crist made political bloggers' weekend when he decided to officially become a member of the Democratic Party on Friday night at the White House Christmas Party.
The day before, we saw another veteran Pinellas County politico in action. Congressman Bill Young spoke at the Suncoast Tiger Bay club meeting, covering a a variety of issues. Check out our take here, and check out the comment by Tea Party activist David McKalip in a question posed to Young toward the end of the post.
And when it comes to a transparent state government, Florida unfortunately ranks among the worst in the country. Which is why a couple of accountability groups say it would be outrageous for state officials to close down a website paid for by taxpayers that has been lauded for being the best website in listing state government spending.