What do you think the requirements are to become a member of the Buccaneer Ring of Honor? There must be a criteria sheet hidden somewhere in a safe at One Buc place. A perfect recipe of what it takes to get a coveted spot up next to franchise greats like Lee Roy Selmon, The “A-Train”, and “Double Nickel”. What do all the ring of honor members have in common?
Surely every player represented in the ring has been to a Pro Bowl. That answer would be no. There are those who have, Derrick Brooks(11), Warren Sapp(7), Lee Roy Selmon(6), Mike Alstott(6), John Lynch(5), and soon to be ring member, Ronde Barber(5). Tight end Jimmie Giles represented in Honolulu four times. Tony Dungy coached the game twice. Once as Buccaneer head coach in 1999, and 2003 as head coach of the Colts. Jon Gruden coached in 2000 when he was head coach of the Oakland Raiders. John McKay would coach the NFC squad in 1981.
The three members of the Buccaneer Ring of Honor with no trips to the Pro Bowl on their resume are Malcolm Glazer, Paul Gruber, and Doug Williams. Although most of the names permanently on display at Raymond James belong to players/coaches who did appear in the Pro Bowl some point, it would seem as though this is not required for consideration.
The Ring of Honor definitely has playoff experience covered. Eight members alone were part of the Buccaneer team that won the Lombardi in 2002. There are four members that were part of the 1979 ‘worst to first’ Buccaneer squad. Paul Gruber was the transitional player. Drafted in 1988 to protect Vinny Testaverde’s backside, Gruber saw his fair share of team suffering before Tony Dungy was brought in from Minnesota and continued the turnaround. His first playoff game was the last game played at the Big Sombrero in 1997 when the Buccaneers defeated the Detroit Lions 10-6. Gruber was also a member of the team that went and lost to the St. Louis Rams in the 1999 NFC championship game but having broken his leg in the regular season finale versus Chicago, did not play that post season.
So yes, being a player, coach, or team owner at playoff time definitely seems to increase one’s chance for induction to the Ring of Honor.
This has to be the one category that all Ring of Honor inductees have in common. It is the elated victories, agonizing defeats, the record setting moments that Buccaneer players and fans share together that make the Ring of Honor memories. Snubbing our collective noses at the entire NFL when the team that went 0-26 to start its existence took the league by storm in 1979, falling just a couple of Neil O’Donoghue field goals short of the super bowl. Raising the Lombardi trophy in 2002, taking their place as NFL champions. Or a generational left tackle out of Wisconsin that should have received many more accolades for his incredible career in Tampa Bay but in typical Paul Gruber fashion, when his day was done, he picked up his lunch pale and went home.
These are just a few of the reasons for a Tampa Bay Buccaneer Ring Of Honor induction. So we can tell the stories and listen to the tales of Buccaneer legends. To recognize all of those people that are part of Buccaneer history. This also brings to mind some who may not be there yet, but should be someday. RB James Wilder, DE Simeon Rice. RB Ricky Bell. There are still Buccaneer stories that need to be told.
Wouldn’t it be great to get together one beautiful Florida evening, pitched tents put on the field at Raymond James, and took a moment to shine a spotlight on each of the names on the Ring Of Honor members and swapped the stories that should always be told. Remembering the reasons why each name adorns the walls around Raymond James.
Tell the Buccaneer executive’s Ray Kennedy is on line one.