Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Greetings again Buc Nation. The Barber division is the last division left to be decided in the second round of #BucsBracket, and so far response has been good. As previously mentioned, it is getting to be more competitive and votes are increasingly important, so stay vocal and exercise your opinion in deciding the most beloved of all the NFL players that have ever worn pewter, red, or orange on game day.
As per usual, vote as often as you like as every vote counts, and be sure to leave comments as they will be used in the event of a tie, and may also get other fans fired up. As there are four matchups today, descriptions will be kept short and to the point so we can advance this thing into the “Sweet Sixteen”.
1 seed: Ronde Barber, Cornerback/Safety, 1997-2012
Ronde could’ve slept through the first round of #BucsBracket with an 86-0 trampling of DT Chuck Darby. Rightfully so too as he IS the namesake of this division, and that upset would’ve been embarrassing for us at The Plank. Needless to say, Barber is having his own case plead for him with all of the recent conversations about his playing stats and career. So much so that I don’t even have to mention them myself.
9 seed: Carnell “Cadillac” Williams, Running Back, 2005-2010
I don’t think I can say I was surprised to see Caddy beat out Jermaine Phillips to advance. Normally I would say the 69-17 vote was a bit shocking, but, as I said last round, I knew Caddy would tug at people’s emotions. The perseverance, courage and raw ambition he showed on the field (and rehabbing from injury), paired with his spectacular rookie season, he was sure to win votes (especially when Phillips had trouble off the field). However, this matchup is sure to be more difficult with emotions running high in both cases.
Ronde had twice as long a career as Caddy, and spent it all in a Bucs’ uni. His consistent production may prove more challenging for Williams then coming back from two knee surgeries, but your vote counts so tell us who you want to see move on.
5 seed: Tony Mayberry, Center, 1990-1999
Mayberry was an example of class. He started every game in the 9 seasons that followed his rookie campaign and was voted to three consecutive Pro Bowls in the end of his career. His mentorship was rewarded by 60% of last round’s votes going to him as opposed to Keenan McCardell. Though his loyalty won’t be challenged, his lasting impression may not have the credentials that this round’s opponent brings.
13 seed: Brad Johnson, Quarterback, 2001-2004
Johnson beat Chidi Ahanotu into the second round. Really though, he didn’t have an overly spectacular NFL career that would hoist him into elite status by any means. He did, however, lead the NFC in passing the year Tampa won the Super Bowl, and also went to the Pro Bowl (twice overall but once for the Bucs). That’s his highlights. There were lows too, that included being benched for an 0-4 start to the 2004 season.
This should be easier than I think it will be. One person had a short career that included a Super Bowl, and a benching. The other included 3 Pro Bowls and starting more than 144 games straight. Let me know how you feel by voting.
6 seed: Brian Kelly, Cornerback, 1998-2007
Kelly’s launching into #BucsBracket Round 2 over Michael Pittman surprised me, but I am so glad everyone got it right. Though playing beside Barber may have kept Brian Kelly unnoticed more than usual, it also made QB’s challenge him more often. A decision that they probably regretted afterwards, especially in 2002 when he was tied for first in INT’s, and also recorded the most tackles in the Super Bowl. He got snubbed in Pro Bowl votes, but at least Buc Nation knew who to check on their ballot last round.
3 seed: James Wilder, Running Back, 1981-1999
Not much to say. James Wilder brought many things to Tampa. I’m not talking about his on-field arsenal either. I’m talking about hope when there was little, entertainment when there was none, and records that still stand. James Wilder has been among, if not the most, consistent career runner for the Bucs’ franchise, and I think will always have a special spot in the team’s history.
So this one doesn’t seem too hard; A prolific player that still has records and will always be remembered? Or one who was under-appreciated in his own time, but made more of a mark than most people realized. Vote and decide.
7 seed: Doug Martin, Running Back, 2012-
Martin beat out Joey Galloway last round in an old versus new theme. His rookie year broke records and showed hope for the future. I know it looked promising when Tampa moved back into the first round late to take the “Dougernaut”, but I don’t think anyone expected last season’s results. This round will prove just how impressive it was. Martin is stuck in another old versus new matchup, only this time his opponent isn’t messing around.
2 seed: John Lynch, Safety, 1993-2003
Lynch helped turn Tampa into a feared defense that went on to win a Super Bowl and be one of the best defensive units in league history. He was productive his whole career, and was the type of player that not just younger players, but peers idolized. His Super Bowl ring, 5 Pro Bowls, and 82-0 pummeling of Steve Deberg last round speak for themselves. Time to see if he still has the energy for the younger crowd.
This matchup is my favourite for this round/division. I wish I could have relegated it so Martin was against Wilder, but this matchup is more interesting. Martin already beat a veteran to move on. Now this one has more stats, more bowls, and more gusto. I honestly don’t know who will win this, so let me see it Bucs Nation. Who do you think should get a chance to move on?
Looking forward to seeing the matchups created for the sweet sixteen of #BucsBracket. This is a lot of fun and wouldn’t be possible without your votes and comments, so keep it coming!