Former Tampa Bay TE Jimmie Giles talked about the respect that he sought for the 1979 Bucs team during his induction speech at the Bucs Ring of Honor announcement press conference. Giles will be inducted into the Ring of Honor during the Bucs vs. Panthers game on Dec. 4.
On Wednesday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers introduced former tight end Jimmie Giles as the newest member of the team's Ring of Honor at Raymond James Stadium. He will be honored at halftime of Tampa Bay’s home game against Carolina on December 4, which will also be the team’s throwback game.
“We are going to be unveiling Jimmy’s name on the wall during our December 4 throwback game this season,” said Bucs co-chairman Bryan Glazer. “Obviously, Jimmy has franchise records for receiving yards and receiving touchdowns for the Buccaneers. He set the franchise record for receptions and receiving yards for a tight end. I can talk all day about what he has done. I can talk about how he was the first offensive Buccaneer to make the Pro Bowl. How he made four Pro Bowls and scored four touchdowns in one game, but I wasn’t here. I’ve only watched these things in videotape and the highlights on the Internet. I wanted to bring up someone that could talk first hand and can do a better job than myself in talking about Jimmy Giles and what he did for this organization, so I wanted to introduce Jack Harris to speak a little bit about Jimmy Giles.”
Harris, who was a member of the Buccaneers radio broadcast team in the team’s early years, recalled how Giles helped Tampa Bay get respect around the league during the 1979 season.
“It was Jimmy Giles and some others along with him that helped turn this thing around, and remarkably it went from in 1978 when they won only five games to the next season when they went all the way to the NFC Championship,” said Harris. “That was the worst-to-first team. That was really the quintessential worst-to-first team. It was led an offense by Jimmy Giles with a little help from folks like Doug Williams and Ricky Bell and a few others. It was a great era.”
After years of being the laughing stock in the NFL, especially after Tampa Bay’s historic 0-26 start, Giles and the Buccaneers desperately wanted to be respected by their peers in pro football and by the nation. Giles said that the team’s theme song during the 1979 season was “Ain’t No Stopping Us Now,” which was a popular hit by McFadden and Whitehead.
“We wanted respect. We wanted the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to be on the map and we did that,” said Giles. “I would like to say it is a pleasure to be inducted into the Ring of Honor.”
Giles was an integral part of the Buccaneers' first playoff team in 1979, catching a team-leading 40 passes for 579 yards and seven touchdowns that season as Tampa Bay won its first ever NFC Central division title and advanced to the NFC Championship Game where they lost at home to the Los Angeles Rams, 9-0. Giles had a touchdown catch called back in that game due to a penalty.
The 56-year old Giles joins Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive end Lee Roy Selmon, who was inducted two years ago, and Tampa Bay's first head coach, John McKay, who was inducted last year, as the latest member of the Ring of Honor. Giles played under McKay and with Selmon for the majority of his NFL career. The Bucs have inducted their Ring of Honor members during the team's throwback games and will continue that tradition this year with Giles, who played during the orange and white Bucco Bruce era. The Bucs made the playoffs three times (1979, 1981-82) with Giles as the starting tight end.
Giles was a four-time Pro Bowler, who played 13 years in the NFL, including nine with the Buccaneers (1978-86). The Alcorn State product was a third-round draft pick by the Houston Oilers in 1977 and was traded Tampa Bay in 1978 as the Bucs surrendered their first overall pick to acquire Giles and four draft picks, one of which was used on QB Doug Williams out of Grambling in the first round.
The 6-foot-3, 248-pound Giles had three years with 40 catches or more with his best season coming in 1985 when he hauled in 43 receptions for 673 yards and eight touchdowns. He finished his Buccaneers career with 279 catches for 4,300 yards (15.4 avg.), which remain team records at the tight end position. Giles became the first offensive player in Tampa Bay history to make the Pro Bowl in 1980, and also made trips to Hawaii in ’81, ‘82 and during the '85 season.
“I remember when I made my first Pro Bowl, Coach [Wayne] Fontes was the first coach to come and congratulate me,” said Giles. “Many don’t know how much that meant to me, the opportunity that I shared with Lee Roy and David [Lewis] in going to the Pro Bowl together. That was a big honor for us. One reason it was so much of an honor was it was a team concept. We just felt that people didn’t respect us as Tampa Bay Buccaneers until 1979.”
Giles' 34 career touchdown receptions still stand as a Buccaneers record today, and he ranks third in team history for total touchdowns behind FB Mike Alstott (71) and RB James Wilder (46). The prolific tight end also still holds the franchise record for the most receiving touchdowns in a game, catching four TD passes against Miami on October 20, 1985, which prompted Dolphins head coach Don Shula to say, "I can't remember any tight end dominating us that way."
“You can go on all day about Jimmie’s accomplishments on the field with the Buccaneers, including his franchise record for receiving touchdowns, his four touchdowns in a single game and his four Pro Bowls,” said Glazer. “I’m thrilled for Jimmie to become the third member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Ring of Honor.”
Giles was very appreciative of being recognized by the team with the Ring of Honor induction.
“It is such a great pleasure to be here. There has been a lot of negative things that have been said about Buccaneers history, but I do believe that all things work themselves out in time and work themselves out for a reason,” said Giles. “Again, Mr. Glazer it is a pleasure. It is a tremendous honor. … I do appreciate it.”
Giles also became the first Bucs player to hold out of training camp in team history, doing so in 1983. The Natchez, Mississippi native finished his NFL career with Philadelphia from 1987-89.By Scott Reynolds and Charlie Campbell
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