With all due respect to the playoff bound Seahawks, a good team, with good players, a great coach and a star running back, no one really cares who’s on the other sidelines.

With all due respect to the postseason scenarios and final pairings and sad overall record, no one gives a darn what this means to the Bucs’ overall winning percentage.

Free agency is too far away to ponder.

The draft is eons out of the picture.

So, tell me again why the guy slopping beer at a local watering hole should cough up half of his daily wages to go see the Bucs’ regular season finale Sunday?

Tell me again why, after a season of such ineptitude and underachievement, should some one slap down $25 for parking, on top of the pound of flesh already surrendered for two tickets?

Here’s why, the Bucs have momentum and momentum counts.

By virtue of standing up to the NFC’s schoolyard bullies in Chicago and running over the floundering Browns, the Bucs have put themselves in a position to finish the season with authority.

That means something. Shoot, it should mean a lot.

“We did so many good things, but of course, when there are zeros across the quarters, we still have the losses,” left tackle Anthony Davis said. “But, the last six quarters, the last two in Chicago, the four in Cleveland, that’s the momentum we’re talking about. Things are on all cylinders. Things are right. The ball is bouncing our way for the first time in a long time.

“It’s very important. You’re only good as your last game, right? So, what we did in Chicago and Cleveland, people will forget. For us, we want to finish strong and help the staff and people around here make decisions. With the season going the way it’s gone, to finish strong against a team like Seattle would be a credit to us, not just rolling over and playing dead like everybody wants us to. What we want to do is come out and fight.”

Show of hands, how many of you thought this scenario would have been remotely worthy of conversation one month ago? The brutal Bucs were supposed to be bludgeoned out of 2006 with losses to the Bears, Browns and Seahawks, and that would be that.

In the past, we’ve seen this play out differently.

Pack up the bags.

Call the movers.

Holla in March!

If you believe that the futures of Jon Gruden, his staff and of so many players in the late stages of their careers, were in jeopardy two months ago, then believe they still are.

If you think that epic changes have to be made by this franchise during the offseason, then stick with that logic.

But if you’re the eternal optimist, then you hang your New Year’s resolution to remain a fan on the Bucs’ ability to stay on the crest of this wave.

Sure, the Seahawks already have clinched a playoff spot, but they’re coming to Tampa to avoid going into the playoffs on a four-game losing streak. So, if momentum is important to them, it should be more important to the Bucs.
The truth is, it should matter little who the opponent is. The Bucs have to keep this thing going, one way or the other.

It could be the Plant High state championship team out there, but the Bucs need a win (providing, of course, they can get some pressure on stud QB Robert Mavre.)

It comes down to Gruden and his posse recognizing the importance of not mailing it in. It comes down to a franchise’s future hedging closely on these current three hours at Raymond James Stadium.

That’s what momentum is.

“Yes, I think so,” linebacker Derrick Brooks said. “You build on things you do positive every week and that creates momentum. In my opinion, it gives us that going into the offseason. A positive taste in our mouths.”

How does that Heavy D song go?

“Start it with whimper, end it with bang… We got our own thang!”

Want the inside scoop on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 2007 offseason plans? Want to find out who the Bucs are targeting in free agency and the NFL Draft? Subscribe to PewterReport.com's Pewter Insider by clicking here.

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