The Ring of Honor induction is one of my favorite parts of the Buccaneers’ season every year. Especially lately with the inductees from the 2002-2003 Super Bowl team, I have been taken back to my early childhood. Seeing individuals I watched when I was four and five years old getting their names up in the stadium has been nostalgic and fun. So, who’s next?
I’m assuming the Bucs will once again pick two people for next year’s inductions. Now that Jon Gruden got his recognition, my guess is that Tony Dungy will soon get his too. Maybe that’s next year, but that’s not the pick I’m going with for my answer here. My pick is Ronde Barber.
Barber, as I wrote here, should be a no-brainer for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Even if he doesn’t make the cut just yet, 2018 would still be a great year to have his Ring of Honor ceremony. Why? Well, Tampa Bay hosts the Philadelphia Eagles next season. Of course, the most iconic moment of his career—and maybe in Buccaneer history—came against the Eagles. His game-sealing pick six in the NFC Championship Game sent the Bucs to the Super Bowl. He very well could be a first-ballot Hall of Famer this year as well. So, the opponent and timing couldn’t be better.
There’s really no need to get into Barber’s credentials, but we can anyway. He is the only player in league history to record 40 interceptions and 25 sacks throughout his career. In sixteen seasons, he picked off 47 passes and racked up 28 sacks. He was a five-time Pro Bowl selection and a three-time All-Pro. To top it all off, he was a Super Bowl champion.
Not only should Barber’s name go up in the ring of honor, but his number should be retired as well. Lee Roy Selmon, Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks are the only three to have their jersey numbers retired. Barber’s number should be the fourth.