One of the most beleaguered, enigmatic quarterbacks in Bucs history has a chance Sunday to perpetuate a narrative both harrowing and hyperbolic within this community’s fan base.
Former No. 1 overall draft choice Jameis Winston, who has led the Saints to a 4-2 record, will become the seventh former starting quarterback in Bucs history to start against Tampa Bay. For decades, that very notion itself — ex-Buc prospering elsewhere behind center — has induced a collective cringe from Palm Harbor to Plant City.
But should it?
Granted, three onetime Bucs (Doug Williams, Steve Young, Trent Dilfer) ultimately led other teams to Super Bowl triumphs, and the best years of Vinny Testaverde’s two-decade career clearly came after his mostly mediocre tenure in Tampa Bay.
But it’s not like Williams never flourished here (he led the Bucs to their first three playoff berths), and Dilfer was a competent caretaker for Tony Dungy’s first playoff team (1997). Moreover, the Brad Johnson acquisition worked out okay. So has that Brady dude.
But Brady would have to collect a couple more Lombardi trophies to scrub the stain off this fact: Of the 26 quarterbacks drafted by this franchise, none has reached his second contract.
That includes the guy they’ll face Sunday. As that intriguing reunion looms, we break down how the Bucs previously have fared — head-to-head — against their former starting quarterbacks (QBs are listed with their record vs. Bucs).
Record as Bucs starter: 0-6 (1990-1991)
Record vs. Bucs: 1-5
Of the former Bucs starters who made more than one start against Tampa Bay, Chandler fared the worst by far against his old team. His only win came with Oilers on Oct. 29, 1995, when his pedestrian numbers (19-of-29, 167 yards, no touchdowns or interceptions) were glowing compared to Trent Dilfer’s three-interception day. In Chandler’s other five starts against the Bucs (three with the Falcons, one each with the Rams and Cardinals), he totaled three touchdown passes and seven picks.
Record as Bucs starter: 5-13 (2013-2014)
Record vs. Bucs: 0-1
After futilely attempting to salvage the Schiano era in Tampa, Glennon played with five other franchises. His lone start against the Bucs came during his only season with the Bears in 2017, when he threw for 301 yards but was picked twice and got only 20 yards from his rushing attack in a 29-7 Tampa Bay romp.
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Record as Bucs starter: 26-23 (2001-2004)
Record vs. Bucs: 1-0
The quarterback of Tampa Bay’s first Super Bowl title squad, Johnson was 40 when he faced his former team and coach (Jon Gruden) as a Cowboy on Oct. 26, 2008. He finished only 19-of-33 for 122 yards, was sacked three times and was booed frequently, but never turned the ball over in a 13-9 Dallas triumph. The Bucs, meantime, moved into Cowboys territory six times, coming away with only three field goals.
Record as Bucs starter: 1-10 (2014)
Record vs. Bucs: 0-1
This hard-luck journeyman, who went 1-10 as a Bucs starter for Lovie Smith’s woeful 2014 team, faced Tampa Bay three years later as a Jet. He was sacked six times and picked off once, throwing his lone scoring pass with six seconds remaining in a 15-10 Tampa Bay triumph.
Record as Bucs starter: 24-48 (1987-1992)
Record vs. Bucs: 3-0
The No. 1 overall draft choice by the Bucs in 1987, Testaverde’s post-Tampa Bay win percentage as a starter (.465) easily eclipsed that of his six mediocre seasons under Ray Perkins and Sam Wyche (.333). In his three wins against the Bucs (two with the Jets), he went a collective 52-of-88 for 600 yards with three touchdowns and four picks.
The most dramatic: a 21-17 Jets triumph on Sept. 24, 2000, when he rallied New York from an 11-point deficit in the last two minutes. Testaverde’s 6-yard TD pass to Curtis Martin with 1:54 to play was followed seconds later by a Mike Alstott fumble, setting up Martin’s 18-yard halfback pass to Wayne Chrebet for the game-winning touchdown with 52 seconds remaining.
Record as Bucs starter: 3-16 (1985-1986)
Record vs. Bucs: 3-1
In terms of quarterbacks, the Bucs’ most glaring misread in nearly a half-century full of them was their decision to trade Young — who had no chance in the comical Leeman Bennett era — and draft Testaverde. Young’s Hall of Fame career in San Francisco would directly — and indirectly — torment Tampa Bay for years.
He trampled the Bucs in his first three meetings against the Bucs, totaling eight touchdowns and no picks in those contests, before his old team found a degree of atonement in the 1997 opener at Tampa Stadium. On the 49ers’ fifth play, Young rolled left but was chased down by Warren Sapp, losing his helmet as he went down. Hardy Nickerson then slid into Young with his knee, knocking him from the game.
Never faced Bucs
These one-time Bucs starters ultimately made at least one NFL start after leaving Tampa Bay, but never against the Bucs:
Steve DeBerg, Trent Dilfer, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Josh Freeman, Bruce Gradkowski, Brian Griese, Josh Johnson, Rob Johnson, Shaun King, Byron Leftwich, Luke McCown, Chris Simms, Doug Williams
Never faced anyone
These one-time Bucs starters never made another NFL start after leaving Tampa Bay:
Jeb Blount, Mike Boryla, Jeff Carlson, Parnell Dickinson, Craig Erickson, Joe Ferguson, Jeff Garcia, Jerry Golsteyn, Terry Hanratty, Randy Hedberg, Gary Huff, Mike Rae, Tim Rattay, John Reaves*, Steve Spurrier, Jack Thompson, Eric Zeier, Jim Zorn*
* replacement player during 1987 strike
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