For some reason, people have been hesitant to call Jameis Winston the face of the franchise, even though the Tampa Bay Buccaneers drafted him first overall. It should be noted that the Buccaneers aren't hiding from this fact, or at least their marketing campaign isn't: his face represents the team everywhere they're trying to sell anything. To the public at large, Jameis Winston already represents the Bucs -- that kind of makes him the face of the team.
Today, Mark Dominik joined the chorus of people who seem to be confused about what it means to be the face of the franchise. Via JoeBucsFan, the former general manager instead named Gerald McCoy -- after all, he's been consistent, he's done everything right, and he's a great and vocal player. Certainly McCoy deserves all the kudos he can get -- but he just isn't the face of the franchise. Not anymore.
I know people always want to think that players have to earn everything they get in the NFL, but in many cases this is just not true. Especially when it comes to high draft picks. Even more so when those high draft picks are quarterbacks, and specifically when those high draft picks are quarterbacks who are constantly in the spotlight.
To me, the face of the franchise is the player who people think of when they hear the name of a team. Patriots? Tom Brady or Bill Belichick. Cowboys? Tony Romo or Jerry Jones. Packers? Aaron Rodgers. Lions? Matthew Stafford or Calvin Johnson. Seahawks? Russell Wilson or Richard Sherman.
As for the Buccaneers, everyone who's not a Bucs fan will think of Jameis Winston immediately. Some Bucs fans may think of Gerald McCoy or Lavonte David or even Mike Evans, but many, many other Bucs fans' minds will jump to Winston as well. And that means only one thing: he's already the face of the franchise.