Too much draft lately... let's take a break!
For much of the Buccaneers' 30 plus year history, a ring of honor was not a priority (‘cause we sucked), but with nearly all of the "core" players from the glory days retired, and the addition of our first honoree (Lee Roy Selmon), it's time to ask the question, Who's in and who's out?
The Mortal Locks:
Lee Roy Selmon- A restaurant, an expressway, and a hall of fame selection pretty much guarantee admission, so I won't bore you with the details. Lee Roy became the first Buc in the ring of honor last year during our victory over Green Bay (orange). Selmon is considered one of the greatest defensive linemen ever and certainly deserved to be the first Buc in the ring of honor.
Derrick Brooks- How many times all pro? 5 first team selections, 11 pro bowls, and a Defensive MVP. Brooks' accomplishments also include never missing a game and starting a ridiculous 221 games in a row. Derrick may be the greatest weak side linebacker in NFL history and don't forget he was a fabulous athlete during the beginning of his career. This guy could cover ground with the best of ‘em, a lot of people thought his future was at safety coming out of FSU. Linebacker worked out just fine for Brooks and the Bucs. DB is a lock to join Selmon in the "ring".
Waaaaaaren Sapp- If you were building a team and could pick any defensive tackle in NFL history, who would you pick? I would take 99. In his prime, Sapp was coming on every play and he was coming up the middle, where it was hard to help. He's one of the best 300 lbs + athletes in human history and was good for a sound bite to boot. Warren talked a lot and could back it up; I can't wait to hear his speech when he takes his rightful place in Buccaneer history.
Gene Deckerhoff- Hey there Buccaneer fans! If you face the northwest corner of the end zone you can see my name, in the ring!
Now to the controversy...
John Lynch- There's no question John is one of the most popular Bucs in team history. I loved watching Lynch light up opposing receivers as much as the next guy, and always enjoyed his attitude. Lynch made 5 pro bowls as a Buc and was selected to the All Pro team twice. However, I always thought Lynch was overrated as a player, his main role on defense often amounted to acting as a 4th linebacker on running downs and Lynch could not cover much ground in the secondary. He didn't make many splash plays and was never a guy opposing teams had to game plan for. I would take him on my team but not in my ring of honor. Verdict: Out!
Ronde Barber- 2008 was a really bad year for Ronde. In fact, it was embarrassing. In fact, it was so bad; it probably did irreparable damage to his legacy. In fact, it made me scream and yell and wonder if Ronde should be on the Today Show with his bro. Fortunately for him, he has played 11 other years in the NFL and has given this Buc fan many of my favorite memories (Philly anyone?). Ronde Barber makes big plays all over the football field; he finds the ball and then points out who he is. He is the one Buc on this list that I would argue was underrated for much of his career. Baber has 37 picks, 25 sacks, 7 TD's, 3 first team all pro selections, and is the second most durable player in team history (Brooks). Verdict: IN!
Mike Alstott- The A train whistle was cool. His highlight film might be the third best in NFL history (Sanders, Sayers), and if you needed a yard, this was your guy. Still, Alstott was wildly overrated and fumbled like Ronde's brother circa 2003. Mike was never the feature back and while he was entertaining, he just didn't have the career required to have his name in the ring. Verdict- Out! * The Bucs retired Mike's number but he is not currently in the ring of honor.
Monte Kiffin- I think Monte Kiffin should be in the NFL hall of fame. I really dislike how the league recognizes owners and announcers but not specialists and assistant coaches. Monte was the best assistant coach in the NFL for a decade and perfected a defense that is so widely used, you cant watch the NFL network for more than an hour at any point without hearing the phrase "Tampa 2". Oh yeah... his defense was ranked in the top 10 for 11 straight years and he had 2 of the better defenses in league history ('99, ‘02). Verdict: In!
Honorable mention: Hardy Nickerson, Paul Gruber, Shelton Quarles, Gerald McCoy(a little wishful thinking never hurt),Simeon Rice.
So that's my ring: Selmon, Brooks, Sapp, Barber, Kiffin, and Geno. What do you think?