Finding Football Greatness Right Up Front


For years, greatness for the Buccaneers was scarce. Fans had to squint to find it. But it was there. Sometimes you didn’t even have to look far. It was right in front.

It Was Right In Front

What makes a fan favorite? A friendly smile? A way with words. Two of the offensive lineman legends on the 1979 team had both. From the center was Steve Wilson. A cat that was as cool as the other side of the pillow. At right tackle was a shy young man that played football with an anger. His name was Charlie Hannah.

In the 90’s it got way too good. With stalwart left tackle Paul Gruber in the fold. In 1990 the team would add an Canadian Hoosier by the name of Ian Beckles. You might know him as the cohost of Beckles & Recher. Heard each weekday from 3-7pm on 95.3 WDAE. The icing on the cake was guy at center named Tony Mayberry. For a team looking for some stability, this iteration of offensive line made room for 1,000 yard rushers Reggie Cobb and Errict Rhett. In what might be termed the heyday in Tampa Bay of the running back.

We Can’t Forget About

Then there is the line Bucs Fans have been blessed to root for these last few years. The entire Tom Brady experiment doesn’t even start without this offensive line. Left to right; Donovan Smith, Ali Marpet, Ryan Jensen, Alex Cappa, and Tristan Wirfs. This line recognized in 2021 with three, THREE pro bowl selections! A feat never before seen in Tampa Bay Buccaneer history. Three offensive linemen. Wow!

Sadly, all good things must come to an end. Buccaneer fans celebrate the career of Ali Marpet. What couldn’t be seen was it coming now. While everybody was asking why Brady would go out on top, didn’t think the overachiever kid from Hobart College would. But why wouldn’t he?

Some of our biggest heroes are also the biggest players. They man the line and make offensive success possible. You don’t have to look far too find then. They are right in front of our eyes. Congratulation Ali on the next phase of life. Thank you for being you.

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