Tonight college football’s most prestigious honor, the Heisman Trophy, will be handed out to the game’s most outstanding player.
The Buccaneers have had a shortlist of great Heisman winners at the helm … with QBs Jameis Winston, the current signal-caller, winning the 2013 award from Florida State… and, one of the most popular Bucs ever… Vinny Testaverde, winning the 1986 award with the Miami Hurricanes.
Obviously, Winston’s college and pro career are fresh in our minds. So, let’s take a look back at Testaverde’s careers.
The Hurricanes star QB ended the 1986 season with 26 TD passes throwing for 2,557 yards in 11 games. In 1985 he had 21 TD passes and threw for 3,238 yards… but that year it was Auburn’s sensational running back Bo Jackson who won the Heisman in a virtual no-brainer decision.
Testaverde ended his four-year college stint in Coral Gables passing for 6,058 yards and 48 TD passes. The Bucs brass sought him out and selected him as their first-overall pick in the 1987 NFL Draft. Alabama’s star linebacker Cornelius Bennett was taken second by the Bills. And, Testaverde’s teammate, running back Alonzo Highsmith, was selected third by the Houston Oilers.
Testaverde had a pretty good NFL career. He played in Tampa Bay from 1987 to 1992, then went to the Browns, Ravens, Cowboys, Jets, Patriots, and Panthers. He finished his 21-year NFL career in 2005 with 275 TD passes and threw for 46,233 yards.
The QB ranks 14th All-Time in passing yards and 16th in TD passes. And, he ranks fourth on the list of interceptions thrown with 267. Brett Favre is the leader with 336. Winston, as of this writing, in almost five NFL seasons, has 81 interceptions.
As a budding sports reporter while attending the University of Florida I covered the 1988 Bucs. That season Testaverde broke the NFL’s Single Season Record for interceptions Thrown with 35. When asked in the locker room after the game how he felt about being the leader in throwing interceptions, Testaverde laughed, and said, “at least I’m in the record book!”
Though Testaverde won’t be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, he continues to be one of the most-liked and respected Buccaneers in team history. Could he be in the Buccaneers Ring of Honor one day? Well, that’s up for discussion.
Oh yeah, his son, Vincent Testaverde, Jr., is also a QB. He competed at the Bucs 2019 training camp to earn a spot on the team but didn’t make the cut.
Photo credit: ESPN.com
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