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saint5221 12-08-2003 09:13 PM

Gruden inspires Bucs to win with tale of Elf and Santa's sle
Just great now guys are kicking our asses with Santa to pump them up. This would be a whole lot funnier if it hadn't worked.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Perhaps the strain of losing has gotten to Jon Gruden. According to the Tampa Tribune, the steely-eyed coach gave his troops an impassioned speech on Saturday night about the movie "Elf". Gruden talked of how Santa's sleigh is powered by spirit and how the Bucs should now use that same source to fuel their ship. It's unofficial, but I'm fairly sure Knute Rockne could be heard turning in his grave. The Buccaneers did win the game, but somehow I don't think the holiday-tinged pep talk played a large role in the outcome. Or, maybe there really is a Santa Claus as Gruden and the Bucs got their wish when they won and Dallas and Seattle lost to keep them in the corner of the playoff picture.

And Jon Gruden, Bucs master and commander, might be running out of motivational tools for this bunch if Saturday night's pep talk is an indication. Pound the Rock is out. Gruden gathered the children and told them about Santa's sleigh.

``I saw the movie `Elf' with my boys,'' Gruden said after the Bucs won, 14-7. ``And Santa's sleigh runs on spirit. It doesn't run on gas and it doesn't run on just deer. It runs on spirit.''

``Everybody was cracking up,'' Ronde Barber said. ``But it doesn't always have to be Knute Rockne.''

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