Shaun King (1999-2003)
Admittedly, this writer is a much bigger fan of Shaun King than he probably has any right to be. That said, King absolutely deserves a spot on this list.
King was drafted by his hometown Bucs in the second round of the 1999 Draft (very Trask-like…) and would eventually take over for an injured Trent Dilfer that season (more on that later). With King under center (and aided by a historically great defense) the Buccaneers would get all the way to the NFC Championship game against the “Greatest Show on Turf” Rams.
With 52 seconds left and the ball on the Rams’ 36-yard line, the Buccaneers found themselves with a 2nd and 23. King took the snap from shotgun and threw an absolute dart to Bert Emanuel who caught the ball at the Rams’ 23-yard line to set up a manageable 3rd and 10 in four-down territory, or so we thought. At the time, the rules stated that if the ball touched the ground at any point, regardless of control, the pass was incomplete. It’s up for debate on whether the ball actually hit the ground, but for what it’s worth the NFL came out after the game and stated that the call was incorrect. Long story short, the Rams stopped the Buccaneers on 3rd and 23, then once more on a 4th and 23 hail mary to the end zone that essentially ended the game and the Buccaneers Super Bowl hopes by way of an 11-6 defeat. You read that correctly.
The NFL as we know it could have been much different had that call gone a different way.
King’s best season would be his only as a full-time starter in 2000, when the Bucs went 10-6, ultimately getting shellacked by the Eagles 21-3 in the Wild Card round in a game that wasn’t even that close.
The thing was, despite his best season, King only threw for 2,769 yards with 18 touchdowns and 13 interceptions, while adding five rushing touchdowns. The Buccaneers would bring in Brad Johnson, and King would become a backup quarterback in the NFL. For where the team got with King at quarterback, he deserves a spot here.