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Weather Isn’t Biggest Concern

Associated Press

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are more concerned about Donovan McNabb than cold weather.

They are 0-19 when it’s been 40 degrees or colder at kickoff. With six to nine inches of snow on Saturday, game-time temperatures are expected to be in the 20s at Veterans Stadium when Tampa Bay plays the Philadelphia Eagles today.

But the Buccaneers are tired of hearing about their inability to win in the cold. They’d rather talk about the challenge McNabb and the host Eagles present.

“Philadelphia has an outstanding team, and that’s what we have to deal with, not the weather,” Tampa Bay Coach Tony Dungy said.

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Tampa Bay had an opportunity to end the cold-weather losing streak last week in Green Bay, but Pro Bowl kicker Martin Gramatica missed a potential game-winning field goal that would have given the Buccaneers a first-round bye.

But everyone from the Buccaneers to the Eagles is tired of hearing about weather being a factor.

“When you play better than the other team, you win,” Dungy said. “You have to know you’ll be uncomfortable for three hours, you’re not going to be as warm as you are used to being. But it’s not that big a deal.

“People are making a mistake if they are trying to read too much into it. Philadelphia has an outstanding team, and that’s what we have to deal with, not the weather.”

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Eagle defensive end Hugh Douglas took offense to all the talk this week about Tampa Bay’s performance in cold weather.

“It’s like people are saying the only way we can beat Tampa is if it’s cold,” Douglas said. “Like that’s our crutch and we need that. I don’t care what the weather is. We’re going to go out and play football.”


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