Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The difficult legacy of running back Mike Alstott

Mike Alstott, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Mike Alstott, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images) /

Yesterday Twitter and its Tampa Bay Buccaneers participants set the social outlet ablaze over their debate over former running back Mike Alstott.

Is the legacy of former running back built up by the fans and media of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, or do the numbers back up his eleven year career? There has quite the debate, and we will jump in here.

Throughout his 11 year career, Alstott totaled 5088 yards on over 1,300 carries, averaging less than four yards per carry; Alstott also scored 58 touchdowns on the ground. He caught 305 passes out of the backfield for nearly 2,300 yards and 13 touchdowns in the pewter and red as well.

He played his way to six Pro Bowls and named an All-Pro three times in his career as well. Alstott retired in 2006 and has since been inducted into the Buccaneers’ Ring of Honor. Let’s take a deeper dive into the career of the hard-nosed running back Alstott and his time in Tampa Bay.

Buccaneers: Re-evaluating the draft two months removed. light. Hot

Tampa Bay Times staff member in charge of sports data and film for the Buccaneers Thomas Bassinger has provided Bucs’ twitter with analytical data such as DVOA, efficiency and productivity. He provided the argument that Alstott’s legacy is built more on reputation, team success, and name recognition more than on-field production.

To the side of Bassinger, Alstott did only average less than four yards per carry, about the same average as Peyton Barber last year and a number he was slandered for. In his most productive year in 1999, where Alstott rushed for 949 yards and seven scores, he still only managed 3.9 yards per carry.

The question to add to this: would Alstott be drafted in today’s NFL? Full backs are next to obsolete today, and Alstott has proven to be less than an efficient tail back if he were asked to play a significant role.


However, the Buccaneers’ offense was never high-powered and was led by game-manager Brad Johnson. The Tampa Bay offense rode the coattails of a historically great defense, and operated out of the mindset of “three yards per play is good enough.” Good news for them, Alstott could give them three yards per play and did it consistently.

Consistently given fantastic field position by the likes of Derrick Brooks, Warren Sapp, Ronde Barber, and John Lynch, the Buccaneers’ offense needed to be just good enough. Alstott gave the Buccaneers just that throughout his time in Tampa Bay; he was a goalline juggernaut who could pound the rock into the endzone or for a yard or two in much-needed short yardage situations.

Alstott will forever be a legend in Tampa Bay for performing his job and filling his role well, but is not a productive running back. However, if we want to place Alstott in the same category as other NFL fullbacks, then he is potentially the best fullback of all-time.

dark. Next. 4 steps to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers winning the NFC South

The offseason is growing old and football needs to get here soon before Buccaneers’ Twitter burns down the world. First Gerald McCoy, now Alstott, nobody is safe; who could be next?