Bucs ring of honor
The Bucs do not have a ring of honor at Raymond James Stadium. Maybe now with the retirement of Mike Alstott and Warren Sapp and other stars drawing close to the end of their careers (John Lynch and Derrick Brooks come to mind), the Bucs might need to start contemplating a ring of honor to celebrate the greatest players in franchise history.
What if they did have a ring of honor? Who would be on it? We took the question to you in a Times online poll. We asked which member of the organization should be first to go on the ring and we gave you 10 choices. We received more than 2,500 responses. Here are the results.
Lee Roy Selmon, DT, 1976-1985
1,436 votes, 56 percent
The overwhelming winner and no surprise, really. Still the only player to go into the Hall of Fame after spending all (or even most) of his career with the Bucs. And still the only player to have his number (63) retired. He remains the franchise’s all-time leader in career sacks (78.5).
Derrick Brooks, LB, 1995-present
320 votes, 12 percent2
A 10-time Pro Bowl player who made the game every year from 1997 to last season. A shoo-in for the Hall of Fame. When it's all said and done — and it appears as if a rejuvenated Brooks has a lot more to say and do — he likely will be known as the best football player in Bucs history, if he isn't already.
Tony Dungy, Coach, 1996-2007
219 votes, 9 percent
Isn't it interesting that a coach who didn't win a Super Bowl in Tampa Bay is more worthy for your ring of honor than a coach who did? Dungy took over, arguably, the worst franchise in the NFL and turned it into a perennial playoff team. The Bucs made the playoffs four times under Dungy. He never got to the big game but, as many of his backers will tell you, his team did.
Mike Alstott, FB, 1996-2007
213 votes, 9 percent
A true fan favorite, and one of the most beloved athletes in the history of Tampa Bay sports. He made the Pro Bowl six times and was named All-Pro four times. But forget all that. It was his bruising, straight-ahead, no-nonsense, take-a-hit-but-deliver-a-bigger-hit style that made him such a favorite. Two words perfectly describe Alstott: football player.
John Lynch, S, 1993-2003
77 votes, 3 percent
Intelligent. Good looks. Funny. Charismatic. Lynch is all of those things. Bucs fans always loved that about him. But what did they love most of all? His bone-crushing hits to ballcarriers who dared to run his way. What Alstott was to the Bucs offense, Lynch was to the defense. What stings around here is the guy keeps on ticking in Denver long after the Bucs thought his time was up.
Warrick Dunn, RB, 1997-2001
72 votes, 3 percent
Dunn's football ability is impressive: NFC offensive rookie of the year and two Pro Bowls with the Bucs. But it was his off-the-field efforts that earned such high respect. His foundation helps build homes for families with single parents and, to date, has helped nearly 50 single parents and more than 120 children.
Doug Williams, QB, 1978-82
69 votes, 3 percent
It seems like he should be higher on the list, don't you think? The first great quarterback in Bucs history. Heck, he still might be the best quarterback the Bucs have ever had. His greatest glory came after he left the Bucs and won a Super Bowl with Washington. Still, he led the young Bucs to their first three playoff appearances.
Warren Sapp, DT, 1995-2003
62 votes, 2 percent
Not exactly the friendliest fellow Bucs fans have ever known. But he was, perhaps, the most charming player in team history — in a scary sort of way. And, of course, he was a heck of a player. He made his first Pro Bowl in 1997 and made it every year after during his time with the Bucs. Sapp redefined the postition.
Jon Gruden, Coach, 2002-present
59 votes, 2 percent
Considering he remains the only Bucs coach to win a Super Bowl, you think he would get more love from the voting public. But Gruden seems to have a love-hate relationship with the fans. Those who love him love him because he has won. Those who hate him hate him because he is not Tony Dungy. Still, in six years, these are the facts: three playoff appearances and a Super Bowl title.
Ronde Barber, CB, 1997-present
46 votes, 2 percent
The Bucs' all-time interception leader is, along with Brooks, the mainstay of the defense that has to be considered among the greatest in league history. Holds the distinction of being the only cornerback in NFL history to record 20 interceptions and 20 sacks. In fact, only eight other players have accomplished that feat. His place on this list says less about Barber and more about how impressive the rest of the list is.
If it were up to me
There were plenty of names not included in the Times poll that deserve to be mentioned when considering a ring of honor. Names such as John McKay, Paul Gruber, Ricky Bell, Simeon Rice, Malcolm Glazer and Bill Capece. (Okay, I'm kidding with Bill Capece.) So, taking everything into account, here is whom I would nominate to become the Bucs’ first class of five to make the ring of honor.
Lee Roy Selmon: I agree with you.
Derrick Brooks: Best player in team history.
Mike Alstott: The heart and soul (and blood and sweat and guts) of the Bucs.
Doug Williams: The team's first real star.
Malcolm Glazer: Put together a winner and got a swanky stadium built.
And, I can't leave him out, so I'm adding a sixth -- John McKay, who turned the worst expansion team in NFL history into a playoff team in only four years.