It’s long overdue this Tampa Bay Buccaneers legend gets his call to the Hall.
On the day of this writing, it is Simeon Rice’s 47th birthday. We felt that there’s no better time than to bring to light the travesty that is the fact that this legend of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers not even being more than a semi-finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He has the numbers, he has the impact, so what gives? Let’s take a look.
From 1997-2003, the Buccaneers had a legendarily elite defense. They had made the playoffs every year with that defense, but never really got over the hump as a unit until they signed pass-rushing master Rice from the Arizona Cardinals in 2001. Rice would go on to have double-digit sack seasons every year he was with the Buccaneers save for his final year in Tampa in 2006 where he only had two playing in only eight games.
The most sacks Rice had during his Buccaneers career came in 2002 when he recorded 15.5, which just so happened to be the year the Buccaneers won the franchise’s first Super Bowl. The
three-time Pro Bowler was named first-team All-Pro for the first and only time in his career that year. In Super Bowl XXXVII, Rice lead the legendary defense with two sacks, including another tackle with a forced fumble and recovery. He made Oakland Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon’s life a living nightmare and a case could easily be made that Rice should have won Super Bowl MVP instead of safety Dexter Jackson.
Sacks did not become an official stat until 1982, but Rice’s 122 career total is only bettered by 19 other players, all either in the Hall of Fame or on their way there. Without Simeon Rice, there’s an excellent chance there’s no Super Bowl for Warren Sapp, Derrick Brooks, or John Lynch, three of his defensive teammates who are in the Hall of Fame with Lynch being inducted this year. Another teammate of his, Ronde Barber, also seemingly can’t get out of the land of the semi-finalists. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers owe a lot to Rice, and it’s about time the NFL realizes this too and gets him into the Hall of Fame.