#BucsBracket Opening Round: Vote for Your Favorite Tampa Bay Buccaneers of All-Time (Barber Division)


Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back to #BucsBracket. Let’s keep things going in the unofficial competition, set to determine the most popular and beloved Buccaneers of all time. This edition is the Barber division, an ironic name considering over a quarter of this group of players are running backs. There is, however, some interesting matchups here that deserve more consideration than they are sure to get.

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.

As usual we’ll keep the descriptions short and to the point so you can make your choices and get all the information you need.

1 seed: Ronde Barber, Cornerback/Safety, 1997-2012

This selection speaks for itself. With Ronde’s recent retirement, we have all heard the third-round pick’s stats and HOF worthiness. Some worth repeating for the purpose of this voting are not just how he stacks up as a Buc, but against the history of the league. Only player with 40 INT’s and 20 sacks (47/28), almost 1200 tackles and the most consecutive starts for a DB at 215 are among other impressive stats. He may be underrated in the NFL world, but as a Buc he was greatly appreciated.

16 seed: Chartric “Chuck” Darby, Defensive Tackle, 2001-2004

Darby was an undrafted free agent. He was a great run stuffer, but lacked strong pass rush abilities. Though Chuck was a full-time starter in the 2004 season, it was also the only season he did not record a sack. In his four years with Tampa, he finished with 5.5 sacks, 3 FF, and 97 total tackles. He was a member of the Bucs Superbowl winning team, and a backup in Seattle for their Superbowl appearance.

I am positive I know how this one winds up. There is really no comparison and Ronde’s retirement is sure to bring lots of votes.

8 seed: Jermaine Phillips, Safety, 2002-2009

A fifth round pick, Jermaine Phillips career ascended his first four years before he climaxed in his fifth season (2006), also the only season he started all 16 games. That year he totalled 109 total tackles, 5 FF, 2 INT’s and a sack. Though he would have more interceptions over the ’07, ’08 seasons (4 and 3 respectively), his other stats weren’t comparable. He re-signed for one year in ’09 but was lost in week 2 to injury and has since went to the UFL.

9 seed: Carnell “Cadillac” Williams, Running Back, 2005-2010

Drafted fifth overall, Caddy set records his rookie season as the only player to debut with three consecutive 100 yard games, the most yards in their first three games (434), most rookie rushing yards that season, six 100 yard games, and the Offensive rookie of the year award. That got his shoes and gloves into canton, however, he is not likely to follow. He suffered gruesome injuries in his career, and though he made heroic comebacks and still looked in good rushing form, it wasn’t enough to keep impacting the NFL.

This choice is tougher than the one previous. Both players made their mark, but one seemed to have a longer lasting impression, and the other one’s contributions were short and sweet. I say, for this vote, Caddy will tug at everyone’s heart strings with the determination he showed post-injury.

5 seed: Tony Mayberry, Center, 1990-1999

German born Tony Mayberry was a model lineman. Picked round 4, he only started one of the 16 games played in his rookie season, filling in for an injured Randy Grimes, but he went on to start every game for the rest of his career over the next 8 seasons. He finally got much deserved recognition when he was voted to the Pro Bowl in his last 3 years in the NFL (’97-’98).

12 seed: Keenan McCardell, Wide Receiver, 2002-2003

McCardell was signed previous to the 2002 Superbowl campaign. That season he recorded 61 catches for 670 yards and 6 TD’s. He also had two TD’s in the championship game. In 2003 after Keyshawn Johnson’s split, Keenan had a career season on his way to the Pro Bowl. The following season he decided to holdout for a new contract and was sent to the Chargers. Though he still had game left, the front office felt it wasn’t worth a big contract.

Who do you like here. It seems to be “team player” against a team “player”.

4 seed: Chidi Ahanotu, Defensive End, 1993-2000/2004

A sixth round pick, Chidi was a mainstay for Tampa for 8 years at defensive tackle, before leaving and coming back for a final stint in ’04. Though he was consistently impactful, his best season statistically was in ’97 when he started 15 of 16 games and recorded 10 sacks and 48 total tackles as well as recovering 2 fumbles. He was also notably a member of the Superbowl Champion St. Louis Rams.

13 seed: Brad Johnson, Quarterback, 2001-2004

The quarterback of Tampa Bay’s Superbowl team, Johnson’s career highlights included 2 Pro Bowls (1999, 2002), leading the NFC in passer rating (2002) and at the time set many Bucs franchise passing records, some of which still stand. In 2003 he won the QB’s skills challenge, however, in 2004, with a 0-4 record (4-11 over 15 games) he was benched due to poor play, and never made his way back to starting.

This should be a close vote, because the Super Bowl holds a lot of weight.

6 seed: Brian Kelly, Cornerback, 1998-2007

Kelly was a 2nd round pick in 1998. He may not have been remembered as a player that helped form the feared Tampa defense opposite Ronde Barber, but he proved to be impactful. His best season came at the right time, in 2002, as he tied the league lead with 8 interceptions while posting 21 passes defended, a forced fumble and 67 total tackles en route to a championship. He also recorded the most total tackles in the Superbowl!

11 seed: Michael Pittman, Running back, 2002-2007

Michael Pittman came to Tampa as a free agent replacement to Warrick Dunn. Though many fans were upset to have lost Dunn, they were intrigued to see Gruden pursue Pittman, and how it would look on the field. He did rush for 124 yards in the 2003 Superbowl, but his best season was in 2004; that year he compiled 926 yards and 7 TD’s rushing, plus 3 more receiving scores. Though talented, Pittman never amassed a 1000 yard season over his 11 year career.

This is a tough choice, as Pittman seemed more polarizing, and still holds the longest rushing TD in Bucs history, but Kelly had stats and lengthy production to back up his role, even if overshadowed by Ronde Barber.

3 seed: James Wilder, Running Back, 1981-1989

James Wilder came to Tampa in the second round in ’81. He still holds team records for the most rushing yards, receptions and 100 yard games. His best season was his 1984 Pro Bowl campaign when he rushed for more than 1500 yards, 13 TD’s and caught 85 balls for another 685 yards. In that same year, his most memorable play was one that he wasn’t even involved in. So close to breaking the most combined yards record, Coach McKay wanted to let the JETS score just to get Wilder the ball back, and literally had his defense stand still to do so.

14 seed: Earnest Graham, Running Back, 2003-2011

Earnest Graham was undrafted and meant to be nothing more than a special teamer, until injuries thrust him into a starting role. He played well, and seemed composed for someone with little experience. His biggest season was in 2007 when he rushed just shy of 900 yards with 10 TD’s and over 1200 combined yards, in 13 games played. Graham should also be commended for shifting to fullback in support of Dunn in 2008. Ironically he was plagued by injuries and relegated to a supporting role.

This one only SEEMS to be a no-brainer. You could say James Wilder made the most of his opportunities beating out Jerry Eckwood in ’81 and having a great career with records still standing. But Graham also exercised his opportunistic window considering he wasn’t even drafted and was thought to be a career special teamer yet ended ninth all-time in Bucs rushing.

7 seed: Doug Martin, Running Back, 2012-current

Wow, where to start. Doug Martin was a sneaky, yet smart pickup by the Bucs in the end of the first round. His season is still fresh in most readers heads, but just in case, here are some highlights. His ROOKIE season included: a trip to the Pro Bowl, a dozen TD’s, new records for both NFL and team history, almost 2000 total yards and, though he doesn’t like it, the best nickname in “the muscle hamster”. Enough said?

10 seed: Joey Galloway, Wide Receiver, 2004-2008

Joey couldn’t have come at a better time. Everybody was getting sick of Keyshawn Johnson’s “me-first” attitude and he was traded to the Cowboys for Galloway. What a perfect replacement. Galloway had a great team attitude, great veteran presence, and was a great receiver. He is the only Buccaneer to have three consecutive 1000 yard seasons, and though he played for five other teams, his best year was in Tampa in 2005.

Two completely different personas. Doug Martin is a flashy new sports car that we can’t wait to drive again this season, where as Joey Galloway was an old reliable K car, that maybe you didn’t want to get seen in but it definitely got you to your destination with no problems. It’s like this years Madden cover voting…old or new.

2 seed: John Lynch, Safety, 1993-2003

This third round pick was absolutely integral in the Buccaneers defensive strengthening stage. During his 11 seasons in Tampa he gathered 6 sacks, 23 INT’s, 7 FF’s, and almost 800 total tackles while going to 5 Pro Bowls and winning a Superbowl. Known for his hard but clean hits, I bet Lynch would still scare some offensive players in today’s NFL should his commentating career not work out.

15 seed: Steve Deberg, Quarterback, 1984-1987/1992-1993

These true journeyman played 21 seasons in the NFL from the late 70’s into the late 90’s for six different teams that included 2 stops with the Bucs. Though playing most of his early career as a backup in many locations, he did have a chance to shine in the mid 80’s for Tampa before Vinny Testaverde came along.

This vote shouldn’t be a hard one. A career back-up that got a his 15 minutes, or a household name that was solid in his career beginning to end. You decide who you want to move on.

Thats’s it for this matchup. Be sure to keep involved when the Selmon Division is posted, and more so in the next rounds. As we start to narrow the fields the matchups will become much more intense, and much more difficult. As always leave your comments and let us hear who you think is the True Buc.