The Tampa Bay Buccaneers honored their longtime fullback Mike Alstott at halftime of their game against the Seattle Seahawks. The Bucs did not retire Alstott's jersey, as they honored the franchise's all-time touchdown leader.
The Buccaneers introduced Alstott before the game, and the retired Buc great received the loudest ovation of any player. Alstott was an honorary captain for the Bucs and went to midfield for the coin toss.
At halftime, the North end zone fans held up signs that formed a number 40 and there were number 40 flags at midfield. The Buccaneers had a special tribute video for Alstott. Then the Buccaneers held a ceremony for Alstott. Play-by-play man Gene Deckerhoff was the emcee of the event. The Buccaneers ownership was represented, Bryan Glazer spoke and unveiled the two framed jerseys presented to Alstott. The first jersey was an orange jersey from Alstott's first game as Buccaneer where his name was misspelled "Alsott." The other jersey was from Alstott's final game as a Buccaneer. At the conclusion of when Glazer spoke, Alstott was introduced.
Alstott thanked his family, coaches, teammates, the Buccaneer organization, and the Glazer family. He offered thanks for allowing him to stay in Tampa Bay for all 12 years of his career. Alstott followed that up by thanking the Bucs fans. Afterwards, Alstott spoke with the media about his special night.
"It's indescribable," said Alstott. "It was obviously a life-long dream to be able to play here for 12 years, but to be here in this stadium in Tampa and do it in front of the fans here, my heart goes out to them.
"It's really good to be here. Obviously, you can tell we have some of the best fans because of all the support they have shown me and the organization. This organization, I can't say enough about this organization. Then, you take the guys, a group of hardcore guys, I couldn't have asked to be surrounded by anything more throughout my career."
During the breaks in the game action, there were numerous videos of well wishes for Alstott. Those who spoke out for Alstott were former teammate Ronde Barber, Derrick Brooks, Steve Mariucci, and Rich Eisen. Non-football people also sent messages of congratulations to Alstott. They included: Florida Govenor Charlie Crist, Tampa mayor Pam Iorio, Cal Ripken, Jr., Alex Trebek, and Dr. Phil.
The Purdue product was selected by the Buccaneers in the second round of the 1996 NFL Draft. Alstott recorded career highs in touchdowns in the 2001 season when he totaled 11 scores. The 1999 season was the highest rushing total that Alstott posted with 949 yards to go with 239 receiving yards. He notched nine touchdowns on that season. His career high in receiving yards came during the 2002 season when he caught 35 passes for 242 yards.
Alstott was a leader on the Buccaneers 2002 Super Bowl championship team. Alstott scored the first touchdown of Super Bowl XXXVII, and is the franchise's all-time leader in playoff touchdowns with seven.
One Buccaneer Place replaced Bucs flags out in front of the team facility with No. 40 red flags in honor of Alstott. The cheerleaders and mascot Captain Fear were all wearing Alstott jerseys during the first half of the game.