Buccaneers Most Beloved Man: Round One, Game Four
By James Yarcho
In what I incorrectly predicted to be the closest match-up yet, Ronde Barber defeated John Lynch in a blow out to move on to the final four. Today, we find out who gets the last spot in the second round.
Well, it was a blow out. Ronde Barber ran away with a victory over former defensive back-mate John Lynch.
So, that gives up Derrick Brooks, Warren Sapp, and Ronde Barber in the final four, but who will Bucs fans vote to join them? Let’s check out the match-up.
(2) Lee Roy Selmon vs. (7) Jon Gruden
Lee Roy Selmon
The Original Buccaneer. A defensive tackle out of Oklahoma University, Selmon was the lone bright spot for most of his career in Tampa Bay. He was the franchise’s first ever draft pick in 1976 and played with the Bucs through the 1984 season. In his career, Selmon amassed 742 tackles, 78.5 sacks, and 28.5 forced fumbles. His accolades include being a six-time Pro Bowler, three times First Team All-Pro, two time Second Team All-Pro, NFL 1980’s All-Decade Team, Defensive Player of the Year, Defensive Lineman of the Year, Buccaneers’ Ring of Honor inductee and his number 63 retires, and Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee.
Selmon never reached the team success that the other players in this tournament did. The best he ever saw was an NFC Championship loss to the Los Angeles Rams in 1979. Other than that, Selmon was subject to mostly “lows” for the franchise during his tenure.
Selmon would stay in the area after retiring, working as the assistant athletic director at the University of South Florida from 1993-2001. In 2001, Selmon took over as athletic director where he remained until 2004.
Selmon also opened a chain of very successful restaurants in the area, Lee Roy Selmon’s, in which Selmon oversaw menu production and assisted in the ownership change when the chain was purchased by MVP Holdings, owners of Outback Steakhouse.
Selmon passed away on September 4, 2011. He had been in poor health for quite a few years, but suffered a massive stroke two days prior. Selmon, who was 56 years old, died of complications from the stroke.
Chucky! He cost money, he cost draft picks, but he brought home a Lombardi Trophy for Buccaneers fans who had suffered for years…and years….and years…
Gruden was a hot head. A short fuse, a short temper, basically everything his predecessor Tony Dungy wasn’t. And Bucs fans ate it up. We loved watching the passion, the profanity-laced tirades at players and officials alike. We loved the energy and excitement this guy brought to the team.
Gruden would go 57-55 as Buccaneers head coach, which isn’t really all that impressive. However, his impact, both good and bad, went beyond his record. Of course, in year one, he’d go 12-4 and take the Buccaneers to their only Super Bowl in franchise history. After that, you had seasons riddled with injuries, the departures of guys like Warren Sapp and John Lynch, a trade for Jake Plummer that went south leading to the signing of Jeff Garcia, and the announcement that Monte Kiffin was leaving to coach for his son, ending the 2009 season in a tailspin of disaster.
Gruden now holds a cushy office job as co-host of Monday Night Football on ESPN. We love watching Gruden use those hands excessively, flaunting that Buccaneers Super Bowl ring each and every Monday night. We love listening to him rave about every player, as if each of them will turn into Hall of Famers. And, of course, we love “Spider 2-Y Banana, man. Because, I tell you what, man, you run that play? That Spider 2-Y Banana? You’re gonna make some great things happen, man.” (Admit it…you read that part in “Gruden voice”, didn’t you?)
Next: NFL Draft: A History At Number 38
One of these is one of the most loved men in not only Bucs history, but in the city of Tampa. For what he did as a Buc and the work he put in at USF. Without Selmon, USF football likely wouldn’t exist. The other is the man the coached the Bucs to our greatest moment in franchise history. The lone Lombardi in the trophy case was brought here by Gruden. So, who will it be Bucs fans? The original Buc, the Hall of Famer? Or the guy who gave you your happiest moment in all your years of fandom?