Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
Welcome back as we continue the opening round of Bucs Bracket, the unofficial competition held here at the Pewter Plank to determine the most popular and most beloved Buccaneers of all time. This week we tackle the Sapp Division, named after the number 1 seed defensive tackle from The U and the newest member of the Buccaneers’ Ring of Honor and the NFL Hall of Fame.
Be sure to cast your vote in each matchup, because every vote counts! Sound off in the comments and let us know why you made the picks you made, because we will use comments on the blog as tiebreakers, in case of a tie.
There are eight matchups today, so we’ll keep the descriptions short and to the point so you can make your choices and get all the information you need. The bracket can be found below. You can click on the image to load a bigger version of the bracket.
1 Seed: Warren Sapp, Defensive Tackle, 1995-2003
When speaking of Warren Sapp, one phrase now leads every conversation. Hall of Famer. The former 12th overall pick by Tampa Bay, Sapp was one of the cornerstones of the dominate Tampa 2 defense that helped the team win it all in 2002, earning 7 Pro-Bowl appearances in his 9 seasons with Tampa. Despite occasional verbal outburst and a less than stellar reputation in the media, Sapp will be inducted to the NFL Hall of Fame this year, his first of eligibility.
16 Seed: Stylez G. White, Defensive End, 2007-2010
White was a 7th round pick from Houston back in 2002, but never got a real chance in the NFL until his AFL Head Coach Jay Gruden recommended his brother Jon give him a tryout. White not only made the team, but went on to have a very solid 4 year career in Tampa. White amassed 24 sacks and 103 tackles in Tampa before leaving in Free Agency in 2011.
So which of these two linemen is your favorite? Vote below, and move on to the next matchup.
8 Seed: Dave Moore, Tight End, 1992-2001
Dave Moore is more famous now as the color commentator alongside Gene Deckerhoff on the Buccaneers’ Radio Network, but began his career in football in Florida back in 1992 with Tampa Bay. Moore was a swiss army knife type player, playing Tight End, Fullback and even Long Snapper where he earned his lone Pro-Bowl appearance. Moore is a large part of the community in Tampa not only as the voice beside Deckerhoff, but also as a coach for the Shorecrest Chargers, a private school in St. Petersburg.
9 Seed: Joe Jurevicius, Wide Receiver, 2002-2004
Jurevicius was a journeyman NFL receiver who played for Tampa from 2002-2004. Jurevicius served as the primary slot receiver during his tenure in Tampa, leading the team in receiving yards during Superbowl XXXVII with 4 catches for 78 yards.
Who is your favorite between these two pass catchers? Vote for one and move on to the next one.
5 Seed: Brad Culpepper, Defensive Tackle, 1994-1999
Culpepper was a defensive tackle for Tampa Bay from 1994-1999. In his career he compiled 34 sacks and 6 forced fumbles. Since his retirement he has gone on to become a trial lawyer for the Culpepper Kurland law firm in Tampa and has spoken out to his concern for the increasing size of NFL athletes.
12 Seed: Micheal Spurlock, Wide Receiver, 2007-2008/2009-2011
Micheal Spurlock is most famous for being the first player to return a kickoff for a touchdown in the teams 32 year history to that point. Spurlock never did much as a receiver, but excelled on special teams. Spurlock is currently with the San Diego Chargers.
Defense or offense? Make your pick, and keep reading for more matchups.
4 Seed: Greg Spires, Defensive End, 2002-2007
Spires came along at just the right time. He joined the team in 2002 and saw Tampa sail through the playoffs and into the Superbowl. In his career in Tampa Spires notched 285 tackles and 30 sacks, becoming a perennial starter at Left Defensive End. Spires left in 2007, and had a brief stitch in Oakland in 2008.
13 Seed: Broderick Thomas, Defensive End/Linebacker, 1989-1993
Drafted 6th overall by Tampa Bay in 1989, Thomas was a two-time All-American (1987, 1988) at the University of Nebraska. He is acknowledged by some and himself as one of the greatest defensive players in the history of Nebraska football. Thomas’ career in Tampa only lasted 4 years before he left and bounced around the NFL. Thomas finished his career with 47.5 sacks, 2 INTs and a touchdown.
Which of these defensive linemen is your pick? Let us know, and keep rolling to the next one.
6 Seed: Donnie Abraham, Cornerback, 1996-2001
This 3rd rounder out of East Tennessee was a staple in the Tampa Bay defenses of the 90’s. He spent 6 seasons in Tampa, tallying 266 Tackles and 31 INTs. Since his NFL career has ended, Abraham has looked to coaching, serving as the Head coach for Gibbs High School and as the defensive backs coach for the Tampa Bay Storm.
11 Seed: Dewey Selmon, Linebacker, 1976-1981
Dewey Selmon is the brother of the late great Lee Roy Selmon. Dewey was a second round pick for Tampa and played 5 seasons in the creamsicle before moving on to San Diego. He was known to be soft-spoken and gentle off the field and was recently inducted into the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame in 2012. Unfortunately, few may remember him as any more than the brother to Lee Roy.
Abraham or Selmon? Let us know below, and keep going to the next duo.
3 Seed: Paul Gruber, Offensive Tackle, 1988-1999
Gruber spent his entire National Football League career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He appeared in 183 games over his 12-year career, starting all of them. For most of his career, Gruber was one of the few great players on a bad team. Unfortunately his career was halted by a broken leg during the 1999 season that did not fully recover, leading to his decision on retirement. Gruber was inducted into the Tampa Bay Ring of Honor in 2012, joining Lee Roy Selmon, John McKay and Jimmie Giles.
14 Seed: Josh Freeman, Quarterback, 2009-Current
Freeman has been a bit of a polarizing player in Tampa since being drafted in 2009. Freeman is the franchise record holder in passing yards for a season (4065 yards) as well as single season touchdowns (27), being the only Tampa QB to throw for over 4000 yards. Despite this, Freeman has shown glaring inconsistencies in his game which has caused many fans to call for his replacement. Freeman now heads into a contract year with a new, young backup behind him. The pressure seems to be on for him to perform, and to perform soon.
Tough one, huh? Make your pick, and move down to the next matchup.
7 Seed: Ricky Reynolds, Cornerback, 1987-1993
Reynolds was a former 2nd round pick for Tampa in the 1987 draft and played 7 seasons in Tampa. Reynolds forced 8 fumbles and intercepted 17 passes during his Tampa career. Since the end of his career, Reynolds has become very active in the community, including the Ricky Reynolds Foundation which partnered with Children’s Cancer Center to help kids with Sickle Cell Anemia, as well as serving as president for the NFLPA Former Players Chapter of Tampa.
10 Seed: Martin Gramatica, Placekicker, 1999-2003
Martin “Automatica” Gramatica would have been the best Nickname on the 2002 championship Tampa Bay team had it not been for Mike Alstott. Gramatica was the placekicker for Tampa from 1999-2003 and made the Pro-Bowl in 2000 as well as 2nd team All-Pro. Gramatica may not be as famous as his brother Bill, but something tells me he is perfectly alright with that.
Which one is your pick? Vote, and move on to the last matchup for this section.
2 Seed: Hardy Nickerson, Linebacker, 1993-1999
Nickerson was long considered one of the best (if not the best, before Brooks) linebackers Tampa has seen. From 1993-1999 Nickerson helped build a dominant defense and a winning culture in Tampa. He earned 5 Pro Bowl appearances as well as 4 All-Pro Selections during his time with Tampa. His accomplishments here earned him a spot on the NFL’s 1990s all decade team. After his career in the NFL he served one season as the color analyst for Buccaneers radio before trying his hand at coaching. He coached 1 season in Chicago under his former coach Lovie Smith, but left due to family issues. Nickerson is currently the head coach for the Bishop O’Dowd High School football team.
15 Seed: Hugh Green, Linebacker, 1981-1985
Hugh Green was the 7th pick in the 1981 Draft and had what looked like a promising career before injuries forced Tampa to move on. Green had 2 Pro Bowl and All-Pro seasons in 1982 and 1983 before several injuries, including ones suffered from a car accident in the middle of the season, made Tampa decide to shop Green in the 1985 offseason. Green was traded to Miami where he put in 6 more solid seasons before retiring.
Which one do you prefer? Let us know, and thanks for voting!