Sacks have always been a part of football but were never an official stat until 1982. Coincidentally, this was also around the time the passing game exploded in the NFL. Pro Football Reference has officially completed its research for sack stats and has been able to post every player’s sack statistics since 1960. As a result, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a new all-time sack leader. To the surprise of very few, save for those who didn’t pass history, the Buccaneers’ new sack leader is Lee Roy Selmon.
Derrick Brooks is often regarded as the greatest Buccaneers of them all, but until him, Selmon held that honor. Depending on when you grew up, you may think he still does.
Not only was he long considered to be the best Buc of them all, but he is Mr. Buccaneers himself. Selmon was the franchise’s first-ever draft pick in 1976, he was the franchise’s first-ever inductee into the Hall of Fame in 1995, and until Brooks and Warren Sapp, was the first and only Buccaneers player to have his number retired by the franchise.
Speaking of Sapp, let’s talk sacks. Sapp is the official sack-leader of the Buccaneers, finishing with 77 during his time in Tampa Bay. Officially, Selmon finished his career with 23 sacks, which would land him 16th on the Buccaneers’ all-time list. The thing is, Selmon, retired after the 1984 season, after spending his entire nine-year career in Tampa. Since sacks weren’t an official stat since 1982, the NFL only accounts for his final three seasons.
Thanks to Pro Football Reference, we now know that Selmon finished his career with 78.5 sacks, 1.5 more than Sapp. Thus, Selmon is the Buccaneers’ new all-time sack leader (unofficially).
There is one other ramification of this study as well as it pertains to the Bucs. David Logan, who was the Buccaneers nose tackle from 1979-1986, officially had 28.5 sacks, which would rank him ninth all-time in Bucs history. Now that we can count his first three seasons, he unofficially finished his career with 38.5, which bumps him all the way up to fifth, sandwiched nicely in between Gerald McCoy and Chidi Ahanotu.
Of course, this is all technically unofficial, so don’t expect the NFL to recognize this or the fact that Bubba Baker is technically the NFL’s single-season sack leader despite the best efforts of Brett Favre and Michael Strahan. Of course, that can always change, but for now, we can argue around the watercooler over who had the most dominant dominance for the Buccaneers between Warren Sapp and Lee Roy Selmon, with numbers to back it up.