One of the most pivotal pieces in the Buccaneers’ glory days, former Bucs’ defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin is being honored by the PFWA.
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Without Monte Kiffin, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers likely never win a Super Bowl, have arguably one of the greatest defenses in history, or ever become the relevant contender they were back in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. Now, Kiffin will be awarded the “Dr. Z” Award.
The “Dr. Z” Award is named after Paul Zimmerman, a man who dedicated nearly thirty years covering the NFL before suffering numerous strokes in 2008. Since being forced to stop covering the NFL due to his condition, the PFWA – Pro Football Writers of America – give a lifetime achievement award each year in his name. This year the recipients are Monte Kiffin and Wade Phillips.
Monte Kiffin, who is now a senior defensive assistant with the Jacksonville Jaguars, was with the Buccaneers from 1996 through 2008, before leaving to join son Lane Kiffin at the University of Tennessee. Alongside Tony Dungy, Kiffin helped develop, perfect, and execute the “Tampa-2” system that made the Buccaneers so dominant defensively during his tenure.
Since leaving the Bucs, Kiffin was defensive coordinator at Tennessee, the University of Southern California, and the Dallas Cowboys. In 2014, Kiffin stepped away from the coordinator role and became the Cowboys’ assistant head coach of defense. He was out of the NFL in 2015, but is returning now with the Jags.
Kiffin’s coaching resume also includes being defensive coordinator of the New Orleans Saints and Minnesota Vikings, linebackers coach in Minnesota, as well as the New York Jets, Buffalo Bills, and Green Bay Packers. In the collegiate ranks, Kiffin was head coach at North Carolina State from 1980-1982 after having been defensive coordinator at Arkansas and Nebraska.
Kiffin is still a beloved figure among Buccaneers fans and is appropriately being recognized for his entire body of work within the game of football, whether college or NFL. We thank, and salute you, Monte Kiffin for all you did for the Buccaneers, their fans, and the Tampa Bay area.