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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Koenen has new perspective on rivalry

The Tampa Tribune
Published:   |   Updated: March 21, 2013 at 12:12 AM

It really has not been an even matchup between Tampa Bay and Atlanta the past few years.

The Falcons have beaten the Bucs consecutive times and go for a sixth on Sunday. Atlanta has won so much recently, Tampa Bay coach Raheem Morris refuses to call it a rivalry until his team finally wins.

Well, that doesn't mean we cannot compare cities.

Tampa Bay punter Michael Koenen, who spent the past six seasons in Atlanta, was the perfect person to evaluate the cities in this week's Wide Right column.

Anwar: Which is better – a Georgia peach or a Florida orange?

Michael: That's a tough one. They're both good. I've got to go with the orange.

Anwar: Which do you like more – The Varsity drive-in or Tampa's Cuban sandwich?

Michael: I haven't had a Cuban sandwich. I have had The Varsity and I really didn't like The Varsity, so the sandwich has to better.

Anwar: Which is worse – Atlanta's traffic or Tampa's?

Michael: Atlanta's, by far. It's the hub for everything. Everything comes through there. It's a huge population, so it's terrible.

Anwar: Whose home would you rather have – Chipper Jones' or Derek Jeter's?

Michael: Doesn't Jeter live on an island?

Anwar: Yes, Davis Islands.

Michael: I don't know where Chipper lives, but I think I'd take Jeter's home. Then again, Chipper Jones is a country guy. Let's go Chipper. I don't know where he lives, but he has to be country.

Anwar: We have beaches in Tampa. What does Atlanta have?

Michael: Traffic. No, they have the north Georgia mountains, which is one of my favorite places. I love it there.

Anwar: But you can't go swimming there.

Michael: I'm not an ocean guy. I can go deep sea fishing all day long, but I don't like to sit at the beach. I like to go up in the mountains and explore, see the waterfalls and take pictures.

Anwar: Which is easier to navigate – Tampa International Airport or Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport?

Michael: Tampa. Just like the roads, Atlanta's airport is busy, too.

Anwar: What has been your biggest adjustment moving here to Tampa?

Michael: To be honest, it's been an easy adjustment. It was pretty surreal getting used to being in a different building, finding my way around and just reacquainting myself with everything. I don't know where the grocery store is. I don't know where anything is. The biggest adjustment has been finding everything.

Anwar: How hard has that been?

Michael: Thanks to Google, it's a little easier. It's a process. It will all happen in due time. I know where Zaxby's is now. I know where all the Chipotle's (Mexican Grill) are now, so I'm getting there.

Anwar: What is one thing you miss about Atlanta you haven't found in Tampa yet?

Michael: Besides my friends and family, or friends that became family, everything has been on the up.

Anwar: What's the difference between Atlanta coach Mike Smith and Tampa Bay's Raheem Morris?

Michael: The atmosphere is way different. You have both ends of the spectrum where up there, it's a lot tighter. There is a little more nervous energy, but here it's light hearted and just fun energy.

Anwar: What would it be like to have a win against your former team?

Michael: It would be awesome. It's always good to get a win, period, so from that aspect, it's always good to be 2-1. You don't want to have a losing season or go down that road. To go against my old team is good, but there is more motivation to win in general. I don't have any hard feelings, or anything like that, but it would be good to walk across the field with a "W" and go talk to those guys after the game.

arichardson@tampatrib.com (813) 259-8425

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