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What’s in a license plate? Check out Florida’s most popular football ones

Florida Football Insiders



Photo by Icon Sportswire

We came across something interesting in terms of popularity of football team license plates with the State in Tallahassee and the numbers may surprise you.

Thursday night a television news report and online story by WTSP-10 News (CBS) in Tampa revealed, predictably, the University of Florida is by far the most popular “vanity” license plate (over 97,000) in the state. And, while not all of those purchasing that tag are football fans doing so to root for Gators, a great many of them are.

You would think the second most prominent school in the state, FSU, would be second in line for the plates, and you’d be correct with over 73,000.

Those two numbers by the way, rank #1 and #3 of any of the 97 “vanity” plates the State of Florida allows for schools, teams, causes, etc.

Now, this is where it gets interesting. The most popular NFL plate, according to the story and state records? The Tampa Bay Buccaneers with just over 31,500 of them. The Bucs tag trails only the Miami Heat NBA franchise (just over 37,000) for tops among all professional teams in Florida.

The Dolphins have nearly 17,000 license plates, and the fact that it’s almost 20,000 behind the Heat, is fascinating. Then again, the Heat were at the height of popularity with Lebron James and Dwayne Wade leading them to back to back titles earlier this decade. Oh, and the Dolphins haven’t been to a Super Bowl in almost 35 years.

The Jaguars, who up until this year had six 10 loss seasons in a row, are the next most popular pro football team plate at just over 8,900 and also, fourth on the sports franchise list overall.

A side note, the immensely popular Tampa Bay Lightning hockey team, which has the best record in the NHL this season, is right behind the Jaguars with almost 7,300 license plates. That’s easily more than the Rays, Marlins, Magic and Florida Panthers on the list.

Back to the school license plates.

The University of Miami has almost 26,000 plates and UCF over 18,000 and USF almost 15,000. Again, not all of them are football fans, but a large portion of those buying the school license plate likely are rooting for the team on Saturdays.

Also, Florida A&M has a strong showing of pride among the schools list with just over 16,000 of the specialized vanity license plates in use in the state.

As we mentioned earlier this week, UCF continues to push the “National Champions” narrative that we think is making them look sillier and sillier. And there are some lawmakers who are trying to get a “UCF 2017 Football National Champions” special tag approved.

That’s apparently, unlikely to happen, despite the fact it would boost some sales.

Sanity will hopefully prevail on that.

Meanwhile when you consider that the Gators have almost 40,000 more of tags as the Bucs, Dolphins and Jags combined, you see how strong their fan base truly is.

Now, can the team on the field get back to respectability and more popularity, too?

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New Jersey authorities charge Janoris Jenkins brother in homicide at his home

Florida Football Insiders



Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

It only took a little over 24 hours for authorities in Bergen County, New Jersey to make an arrest in the homicide at the home of New York Giants defensive back Janoris Jenkins. And as it turns out, Jenkins older brother William is being charged aggravated manslaughter in the death of 25-year-old Roosevelt Rene.

Rene, who had been staying at the Jenkins home as a guest and friend of the family, was found by a worker in the basement of the home on Tuesday morning.

The 34 year old older brother, William Jenkins had been taken into custody early Tuesday in New Jersey and was sent to Ontario County, New York on a parole violation. He is in the process of being extradited across the New York/New Jersey state lines to Bergen County to face the manslaughter charge.

On Monday evening the NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported that Rene had been strangled or suffocated to death.

Meanwhile. Janoris Jenkins, who just completed his second season with the Giants after signing as a free agent, is reportedly still in Florida. And, he has yet to comment either himself or through a spokesperson about the death at his home.

Janoris Jenkins was not believed to have been home this weekend as neighbors  reported that he and his girlfriend had gone to Florida two weeks ago after Giants mini-camp at concluded.

The Giants have had no comment other than they are monitoring the situation.

As we wrote on Monday, Jenkins is a former star at Pahokee High School where they won the state championship and was part of the Gators National Championship season of 2008 as a freshman in Gainesville.

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Is there a referee crisis for the NFL?

Florida Football Insiders



Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Over the course of the past couple of weeks a story has developed that isn’t getting nearly as much attention as it probably should.

Yes, whether or not Bucs QB Jameis Winston is suspended for at least the first three games of the season is a big deal.

Whether or not Quarterback Tom Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski are happy or unhappy with the New England Patriots and coach Bill Belichick is also a big deal.

And yes, whether or not players, like Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald and Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones, can get new contracts or will be holding out come training camp next month is again, a big deal.

However, we haven’t seen nearly as much coverage on something that is also very significant once the game start being played. There are four former NFL referees from a year ago that have all resigned/retired and that’s a big number all at once.

As is laid out here, with the NBC official announcement Thursday that former referee Terry McAulay will be joining NBC Sunday Night Football in the booth, that means three of them will be in the Network TV booth this fall:

There has already been some eyebrow raising at Triplette going to Monday Night Football as a rules expert for ESPN, but they obviously had a need when Gerry Austin agreed to go join former MNF analyst Jon Gruden in a newly created position with the Raiders.

And as for Steratore, who worked Superbowl 52 last year, he will serve not only in the booth with the Jim Nantz and Tony Romo, but will be used as a college basketball rules analyst this winter for CBS’ hoops coverage. He’s shown above dealing with Seahawks coach Pete Carroll being on the field and flagged 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct in their December loss at the Jaguars.

The fourth referee is Ed Hochuli, who is retiring and yet to have a TV role, if there is one for him.

The bigger point is that everyone of these head referees are long time veterans and represent approximately 25-30% of the referees who work weekends in the NFL.

And in the cases of Steratore and McAulay, they are younger than Triplette and Hochuli, and could have conceivably been referees another 10 years or so, had they wanted.

So, why didn’t they want to continue?

Former supervisor of the NFL officials and now Fox TV rules analyst, Mike Pereira, has repeatedly expressed that due to the micromanaging that HD replay reviews have caused, that many of the “rank and file” are disgruntled and discouraged.

And, if several on field officials can follow his lead and end up with a high paying network TV gig, then who can begrudge them?

Still, we at F.F.I. can’t hope but wonder if this kind of turnover with head referees will have some effect with the new ones taking over botching calls or situations come this fall.

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Former Bucs first round pick McCants arrested, again

Florida Football Insiders



Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The sad tale of former Buccaneers number one pick Keith McCants continues, as early Monday morning he was arrested, yet again, this time in St. Petersburg for drug possession.

McCants, who was taken fourth overall as the Bucs first round pick in 1990, was booked in the Pinellas County jail for felony possession of crack cocaine.

According to jail records, this is the ninth different time that McCants has been arrested on some charge in the Tampa Bay area in the last eight years.

McCants, now 50 years old, never lived up to the billing of being taken in the top five, as he played only three seasons in Tampa Bay,. He battled weight and knee problems and only registered 12 sacks in three seasons. He also played for the Oilers and the Cardinals in subsequent seasons, but was out of the NFL by 1995.

McCants has repeatedly tried to get his life in order, including giving motivational speeches and writing an essay in the Sporting News in 2011 warning younger players about dangers with drugs, etc. and his troubles. 

The former Alabama All American was also featured on the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary “Broke” in 2012, where he detailed how he had lost all of his $4.5 million dollars from his playing career.

McCants was booked at 4:24 a.m. in the Pinellas County Jail Monday morning and bonded out at $2,000  on the felony charge for drug possession, and also for driving with a revoked or suspended license.

One of McCants previous arrests was for driving with a suspended license in January of this year and he was to have stood trial on July 10th on that charge.

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