The greatest tight end in Buccaneers history: Jimmie Giles (1978-1986)
This is an absolute slam dunk no-brainer. When asked if he felt that Rob Gronkowski is the greatest tight end of all time, Jimmie Giles simply said “Absolutely not.” His words carry weight considering he is the greatest tight end the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have ever called their own, and it really isn’t particularly close.
Spending eight years with the Buccaneers, all in the soon-to-return creamsicle uniforms, Giles would become fifth all-time in receiving yards for the Buccaneers with 4,300. When the Buccaneers miraculously got to the NFC Championship in 1979, Giles lead the team with 40 catches for 579 yards and seven touchdowns. The next year, Giles led the entire NFL with an average of 18.2 yards per catch. In 1981, Giles had career highs in would help the Bucs return to the playoffs with career highs in receptions (45) and yards (786) helping the Bucs get back to the playoffs.
In today’s NFL, those numbers may make some say “who cares?” However, that’s how the NFL was in those days. Giles is also the only tight end in the history of the franchise to be named a Pro Bowler as an actual tight end, and he was honored with that on four separate occasions.
Say what you will on his opinion of Gronk’s place in the history of the NFL. When it comes to the history of the Bucs though, Jimmie Giles is more than worthy of being called the greatest tight end the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have ever had.