Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
In case you missed it, The Pewter Plank has been running an offseason bracket to determine the fans’ favorite Buccaneer of all time, in a contest called Bucs Bracket. To start the competition off, I used my power as editor to seed the bracket and determine the participants in the field. I chose Derrick Brooks, Warren Sapp, Ronde Barber, and Lee Roy Selmon as the top seeds, as I believe they all had the combination of production and fan support to justify being the four top options to choose from in the tournament.
So I was intrigued when I heard that Pro Football Talk was going to select a “Buccaneers’ Mt. Rushmore” because I wanted to compare my top four to the top four of the PFT readers and the PFT staff.
Well, the results are in for the first two rounds of Bucs Bracket, as well as PFT’s Bucs’ Mt. Rushmore, and it sounds like everyone is on the same page. Lee Roy Selmon, Derrick Brooks, Warren Sapp and Ronde Barber were chosen by PFT as the four Buccaneer icons, and the fans at PFT agreed. So did they get it right?
I believe they did. Looking back over the history of the franchise, these were the four men who changed the landscape of the team more than any others. Mike Alstott, John Lynch, Hardy Nickerson and James Wilder all certainly merited some kind of consideration, as they all excelled at what they did for the Buccaneers, and stood out among a history of mostly failure and disappointment in Tampa Bay.
Lee Roy Selmon was the original Buccaneer, and set the table for a surprisingly good defense that helped put the team on the map during the late 70’s, culminating in an NFC Championship berth. Derrick Brooks was probably the fan favorite on the 2002 Super Bowl team, flying all over the field and making plays from the linebacker position. Those who didn’t prefer Brooks probably preferred Sapp, the brash, cocky, and insanely talented defensive tackle who redefined the position with his pass rushing abilities. Barber was the enduring memory of the Super Bowl era, staying with the Buccaneers through the post-Super Bowl disappointments and remaining a contributor for a decade after the Super Bowl before hanging up his cleats this offseason.
I feel like the one man who has the biggest claim to having his face added on the Buccaneers’ Mt. Rushmore is Mike Alstott. The A-Train was the fan favorite, and his hard-hitting style personified the Buccaneers’ mentality during their most successful seasons. I just couldn’t justify removing any of the four members of the top four, so the A-Train will have to remain as the first alternate.
So what do you think? Is there a name you’d remove from the top four, and which Buccaneer legend would you put in his place? Let us know in the comments below.