Hello. These are strange times we’re living in. And despite the fact that some aspects of life are beginning to go back to “normal,” many are still in quarantine to stay as safe as possible. That includes yours truly. And things get boring when you’re quarantining, especially with no live sports on TV. So, my mind often wonders, and a lot of my random thoughts concern the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. “Quarantine Questions” is a new series that allows me to express these musings out loud.
Quarantine Question #3: What’s the plan for Monte Kiffin’s Ring of Honor ceremony?
The Buccaneers started their Ring of Honor at Raymond James Stadium in 2009, with Lee Roy Selmon becoming the inaugural member. Since then, Tampa Bay has added John McKay, Jimmie Giles, Paul Gruber, Warren Sapp, Derrick Brooks, Mike Alstott, Doug Williams, John Lynch, Malcolm Glazer, Jon Gruden, Tony Dungy and Ronde Barber. That’s quite the group of legends right there.
Back in February, the team announced longtime defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin as the 2020 inductee. I think that we can all agree that the nod for Kiffin is well-deserved, as he was at the forefront of the Bucs’ defensive dominance back in the best years of the franchise’s history. He served as the defensive coordinator from 1996 through 2008, helping the team make playoff appearances in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2005 and 2007. And of course, he was an integral part of that 2002 season in which Tampa Bay fielded one of the league’s best defenses ever en route to its first-ever Super Bowl victory.
So, Kiffin, who now coaches with his son Lane at Ole Miss, is set to join a host of Buccaneer icons in the Ring of Honor inside Raymond James Stadium this fall. At least, that’s still the plan as we know it.
I’ve been wondering a lot lately about what the organization has planned for Kiffin’s ceremony, given the state of everything right now. Obviously, the first question is whether or not there will be a season at all. As of right now, it appears that the answer to that question is yes, there will be NFL football in 2020. But even beyond that, there are still plenty of questions I have swirling around in my head about Kiffin’s induction.
For one, would the Bucs still go forward with the ceremony if fans are not allowed at the stadium? For many, a large part of the fun that comes with the Ring of Honor is being able to witness the halftime ceremony and the inductee’s speech from inside Raymond James Stadium. Would the team feel that way too and push it back if no one is allowed in? Or would it move forward with everything as planned and consider trying to work things out with the television network to ensure that the full ceremony is aired? Considering the highlights and commercials a FOX or a CBS has to get in during the break, that might be a tough ask.
So, my big question is really about whether or not the ceremony will go on at all if no fans are there to see it live. Not to mention, would Kiffin—who just turned 80—be able to travel for it? No one really knows what the situation will be with this virus by the fall, but as things are now, you have to think about the safety of him and his family over the ceremony—especially if no one is going to be there to see it live.
It wouldn’t quite be the same, but maybe the Bucs would resort to setting something up through Zoom or another platform to do the ceremony and simply do the induction without it having to be scheduled for a game. These are all things that are probably being talked about right now, I’d think. And I just want to hear those conversations, really. I’m curious, as I’m sure many fans are.
Now, if we put on our optimism hats for a minute and assume the induction goes on as planned, even with fans in attendance, I STILL have a question. This one, though, is more fun: Which game would make the most sense for the ceremony?
Perhaps, to be safe, the Bucs want to plan it for later in the season so there’s a better chance that fans will be allowed into stadiums. A very likely pick would seem to be the Week 11 Monday Night Football Game between the Bucs and Rams, which is scheduled for Nov. 23. Given the battles between the two sides during Kiffin’s time in Tampa, there is a built-in reason here. Plus, it’s prime time.
If we’re thinking about alternatives, maybe the Bucs’ Week 14 game against the Vikings on Dec. 13? Kiffin spent time in Minnesota before his Bucs tenure, working as a linebackers coach from 1986-1989, a defensive coordinator in 1991 and again a linebackers coach from 1992-1994. So, that could work. Or, if Tampa Bay isn’t waiting for later in the year, maybe we see the ceremony at halftime of the Week 5 game against the Packers on Oct. 18. Kiffin’s NFL coaching career started in Green Bay, so there’s a tie-in there as well.
Anyway, I’m done rambling for the day. What do you think, Bucs Nation? Do you have any theories or ideas for Kiffin’s Ring of Honor induction this fall? Let us know what you think in the comments down below.
And if you’ve missed either of the previous editions of “Quarantine Questions,” you can find them here: