The problems with the All-Time Bucs team
The Bucs recently announced the voting totals in their Greatest-Ever Buccaneer team. But talk about it being dominated by bandwagon fans voting for the current players - if I ever needed confirmation that most Tampa-based fans only jumped on the ship from 1997 onwards, then this was it. Remember the guy who criticised my top 50 Buc countdown and then admitted he'd never even heard of most of the players on it?
The actual selections are shown below in red - my choices are in black. We will never get a definitive decision on the right players for this fictional team, but I'll take my roster over the selected one any time!
Quarterback - Brad Johnson - Doug Williams
Sorry but this is just wrong. People only remember that Brad was the QB on the SuperBowl team or spout stats about his passing accuracy. When considering the all-time Buc QB, it comes down to Brad or Doug Williams. You cannot compare passing statistics as the two played in totally different eras. One stat gives the vote to Doug however - in the first seven years of the franchise, the Bucs were 3-37 without him starting - with him, they were 31-34.
Running backs - James Wilder and Mike Alstott - Wilder and Alstott
No question here at all. James Wilder was the greatest offensive player the Bucs have ever had, and Alstott is the best short-yardage back around and a real fan favourite. Warrick Dunn, Errict Rhett and Ricky Bell were all good backs but not in the class of the first two.
Wide receivers - Mark Carrier and Keenan McCardell - Carrier and Kevin House
Perhaps if this vote had been done after Keenan began his holdout, then Kevin House would have gained his rightful place on the team. Two 1,000-yard seasons and a seven-year career when he was the No.1 receiver in Tampa Bay. McCardell and the mouthy Keyshawn Johnson were good receivers, but in a different more-passing-orientated era and not for the same length of time.
Tight end - Jimmie Giles - Giles
No question here at all - Giles is the only Buc tight end to have ever made the Pro Bowl and he didn't just do it once. A better debate would be who is the second-best tight end in Buc history (Ron Hall or Jerry Bell).
Tackles - Paul Gruber and Charley Hannah - Gruber and Ron Heller
Anyone who disagrees with Paul Gruber's inclusion is reading the wrong article! But Charley Hannah over Ron Heller? Hannah was a converted defensive lineman who did a decent enough job on the offensive line for four seasons. Ron Heller was a real scrapper on the right side who would have played a long time in Tampa if Ray Perkins had not been so pig-headed. Dave Reavis would have been a close runner to both of them too.
Guards - Ian Beckles and Randall McDaniel - Beckles and Sean Farrell
Ian got a lot of votes because of his current role on Sports Radio WDAE 820 in Tampa - he was also a pretty good guard too. But McDaniel? Oh please. Nothing shows the average fan's lack of knowledge of the game than this selection. The guy was totally over-the-hill when he left Minnesota and was only there to pick up a pay cheque by the end of 2001. Sean Farrell was twice the player McDaniel ever was in a Buc uniform.
Center - Tony Mayberry - Mayberry
Two Pro Bowl appearances at the end of an 11-year Buc career gives Mayberry the nod narrowly over Randy Grimes and Steve Wilson, both of whom made over 100 appearances for the Buccaneers.
Defensive ends - Lee Roy Selmon and Simeon Rice - Selmon and Rice
No question about Lee Roy of course and not much either about Simeon. His sack totals speak for themselves.
Defensive tackles - Warren Sapp and Anthony McFarland - Sapp and Dave Pear
Warren is fine, but Booger? Over the Bucs' first-ever Pro Bowler Dave Pear or even the late great David Logan? These bandwagon fans who took part in the voting need to look themselves hard in the mirror over this choice.
Outside linebackers - Derrick Brooks and Hugh Green - Brooks and Green
Not much question here either. Green left under a cloud over the coaching/front office situation in 1985 but had been a Pro Bowl performer for most of his four years in Tampa. Brooks is merely one of the best outside linebackers to ever play the game.
Inside linebackers - Hardy Nickerson and Shelton Quarles - Nickerson and Richard Wood
Hardy, no question, but Shelton Quarles? He made the Pro Bowl based on the success of the Bucs alone. Good player, but not in the class of Eugene Marve or Richard Wood in terms of what they have meant to the franchise. The Batman makes the real all-time team but how many Bucs fans know of his great career in the early days of the franchise?
Cornerbacks - Ronde Barber and Donnie Abraham - Barber and Abraham
I thought long and hard about whether Mike Washington or Ricky Reynolds would sneak ahead of Abraham for the No.2 spot. Ronde deserves to be No.1 but Abraham, the current New York Jet, just wins my vote on the corner.
Safeties - John Lynch and Dexter Jackson - Lynch and Mark Cotney
There are so many Buc safeties who should be ahead of the SuperBowl MVP, it's frightening. Cedric Brown, Mark Cotney, Harry Hamilton and Mark Robinson just to name a quartet. One game, even if it was the SuperBowl, does not make a player an all-time great.
Specialists - Martin Gramatica and Mark Royals - Gramatica and Frank Garcia
OK, so FUAT gets the nod over Michael Husted for kicker. But I'd go for Frank Garcia over Royals on the basis of being over-worked during his five years in Tampa! Garcia was also the first Buc to ever lead the NFC in a statistical category when he led in punting in 1983.
Special teams - Karl Williams and Shelton Quarles - Williams and Jim Obradovich
The Truth scored enough times on punt returns to make it to No.12 in our all-time Bucs countdown earlier this year. But again, Shelton does not even deserve to be on this list here. Jeff Gooch runs Jim Obradovich a close second on coverage abilities and had Mark Witte played more than three seasons in Tampa, he would have walked this category.
7 October 2004