The greatest Tampa Bay Buccaneers of all time
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a history that includes the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. The franchise has won two Super Bowls but also went 0-14 in its inaugural season in 1976.
Today, we’ll count down the top five Bucs of all time.
One note before we dive in: Longevity matters here, so Tom Brady does not qualify for this list over Hall of Fame-type players who spent all or most of their careers with the team.
5. Mike Alstott
Accolades: 6x Pro Bowl, 3x All-Pro
Years with TB: 1996-2006
Way, way back in the days when fullbacks ran amok, few were better than the man called "A-Train."
Alstott was part of a terrific backfield with Warrick Dunn (an honorable mention for this list and one of the great humanitarians in football history), and he scored a touchdown in Tampa Bay’s Super Bowl XXXVII win over the Oakland Raiders.
Bringing some Mike Alstott highlights to your timeline on this Super Bowl Sunday pic.twitter.com/Cbmt9DdMJR— Riley Michel (@rileymichel) February 7, 2021
4. Mike Evans
Position: Wide receiver
Accolades: 3x Pro Bowl
Years with TB: 2014-Present
It’s easy to forget just how good Mike Evans has been since jumping to the NFL. He’s racked up more than 1,000 receiving yards in every single season, and he’s already Tampa Bay’s career record holder in that category.
2021 is his age-28 season, and it’s likely he will eclipse 10,000 career yards before his 30th birthday.
It’s a passing league, and he’s one of many weapons in a loaded offense, but everything Evans has accomplished has put him on a Hall of Fame-type trajectory.
3. Lee Roy Selmon
Position: Defensive end/defensive tackle
Accolades: Hall of Fame, 6x Pro Bowl, 1x All-Pro, 1x Defensive Player of the Year
Years with TB: 1976-1984
It’s tough to quantify Selmon’s impact on the Bucs in modern terms, because many key defensive statistics weren’t kept until after he retired.
The first Buccaneer. First Hall of Famer. First Ring of Honor inductee. First jersey number to be retired. Lee Roy Selmon's legacy and impact on the Tampa community will live forever. #BlackHistoryMonth pic.twitter.com/fcHuWi07fH— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) February 28, 2021
However, he made the Pro Bowl in each of his last six seasons, and he may have been an impact player for several more years, had a back injury not forced his retirement at age 30.
He was the first Buccaneer to have his number retired, and the first to enter football’s Hall of Fame.
2. Warren Sapp
Position: Defensive tackle
Accolades: Hall of Fame, 7x Pro Bowl, 4x All-Pro, 1x Defensive Player of the Year
Years with TB: 1995-2003
One of the best defensive linemen of his era, Sapp made all seven of his Pro Bowls in a row from 1997 to 2003.
A rare kind of tackle who had no problem getting to the quarterback, he racked up 77 sacks in nine seasons with the Bucs, including a total of 29 between 1999 and 2000.
He finished his career after four seasons in Oakland, and he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2013.
1. Derrick Brooks
Accolades: Hall of Fame, 11x Pro Bowl, 5x All-Pro, 1x Defensive Player of the Year
Years with TB: 1995-2008
There was nobody else who could have topped this list other than a man who led Tampa Bay’s defense for more than a decade and became one of the top linebackers of his generation.
NOBODY wreaked havoc on offenses like Derrick Brooks. @DBrooks55 was an absolute force for the @Buccaneers.— NFL on CBS 🏈 (@NFLonCBS) April 15, 2021
Brooks played in all 224 regular-season games for the Bucs from 1995 to 2008, and was equally excellent against the run and the pass.
He led the NFL in tackles three times and had four defensive touchdowns (three pick-sixes, one fumble return) during his Defensive Player of the Year season in 2002.