This week’s topic for discussion is who will be the next member of the Buccaneers to be inducted into the Ring of Honor. While there are many deserving greats, I can think of no more deserving than Ronde Barber.
With the inclusion of Jon Gruden this year, that makes four players and the coach who has now been inducted from the Super Bowl championship team.
Barber played his entire sixteen-year career with the Buccaneers. Not only was he a member and critical contributor to the championship team, but he is one of the most decorated Bucs players of all time. He currently holds three NFL records:
Most consecutive starts as a defensive back: 215 (224 including playoffs), 1999–2012
Most consecutive starts by a cornerback: 200 (209 including playoffs), 1999–2012
Only player in NFL history with 45+ interceptions and 25+ sacks.
In 2011, Tampa Bay Times sportswriter Rick Stroud ranked Barber’s interception return for a touchdown in the NFC Championship game as the greatest scoring play in team history. This interception secured the teams trip to the Super Bowl they would eventually win.
If all of this wasn’t enough to validate Barbers claim to a spot in the Ring of Honor, he also holds six team records:
Most interceptions in a single season: 10 (2001)
Most interceptions in a career: 47
Most non-offensive touchdowns in a career: 14
Most starts in a career (any position): 232 (1997–2012)
Most games played in a career (any position): 241 (1997–2012)
Most sacks by a defensive back in a career: 28
When looking at a statistical perspective, if you see 1,231 tackles, 28 sacks, 13 forced fumbles, and 12 fumble recoveries you think of a linebacker.
The same person had 47 interceptions, and 166 passes defended making it all the more impressive for a cornerback.
The fact Barber might be a Hall of Famer this year, before being inducted into the Ring of Honor, is a travesty and an over-site from the Buccaneers. No player in the history of the franchise is more deserving or gave more to the organization than Barber.