The PewterReport.com Roundtable features the opinions of the PR staff as it tackles a topic related to the Tampa Bay Bucs each week.
This week’s topic: Who should be the next two Bucs Ring of Honor members?
Scott Reynolds: CB Ronde Barber and DC Monte Kiffin
I’ve been leading the charge for cornerback Ronde Barber to not only get in the Bucs Ring of Honor, but also the Pro Football Hall of Fame for years now. With the recent additions of former Tampa Bay strong safety John Lynch, deceased owner Malcolm Glazer and former head coaches Jon Gruden and Tony Dungy, who was inducted last year, it’s clearly Barber’s turn to have his name permanently affixed to the walls of Raymond James Stadium. I believe Barber will be the next legend to be inducted into the Bucs Ring of Honor, and that will happen this year.
At least it needs to, as Barber, who enjoyed a tremendous, 16-year, record-setting career in Tampa Bay, is one of the Top 5 Buccaneers of all-time in my opinion. Barber ranks fourth behind linebacker Derrick Brooks, defensive tackle Warren Sapp and defensive end Lee Roy Selmon, and just ahead of fullback Mike Alstott and Lynch. Barber recorded 1,028 tackles, a franchise-high 166 pass deflections and 47 interceptions, 28 sacks, 15 forced fumbles and scored a franchise-record 14 touchdowns – 12 of which came on defense.
Barber was a five-time Pro Bowler (2001, 2004-06, 2008), a three-time first-team All-Pro (2001, 2004, 2005) and a two-time second-team All-Pro (2002, 2006). There’s no one that deserves to be next in the Bucs Ring of Honor enshrinement than Barber does.
And although the next player that needs to be inducted is linebacker Hardy Nickerson, the next person that needs to be in the Bucs Ring of Honor is former defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin. While Gruden is the team’s all-time winningest head coach with 57 victories, and Dungy is right behind with 54, no single coach has won more games in Tampa Bay than Kiffin, who served as defensive coordinator under both Dungy and Gruden from 1996-2008 and amassed 111 wins.
Kiffin, who is credited as one of the founders of the legendary “Tampa 2” defensive scheme and coined the phrase, stepped out of Dungy’s shadow in 2002, producing the NFL’s top defense that helped the Bucs win Super Bowl XXXVII that year and was the league’s top defense again in 2004. Kiffin helped a total of eight Buccaneers – Brooks, Sapp, Barber, Lynch, middle linebacker Hardy Nickerson, middle linebacker Shelton Quarles, defensive end Simeon Rice, cornerback Donnie Abraham – make the Pro Bowl during his tenure in Tampa Bay, and also watched free safety Dexter Jackson win the Super Bowl XXXVII MVP.
Kiffin is the best coordinator in Tampa Bay history on either side of the ball. Although he may be a wild card pick, Kiffin, is one the Glazers should seriously consider given his unique set of accomplishments. Why not put both in this year?
Mark Cook: RB James Wilder and CB Ronde Barber
Most PewterReport.com readers know I have a strong affinity for the old creamsicle days as it was very important part of my childhood. Unfortunately, a lot of our readers weren’t even old enough to see some of the greats who helped build the franchise and play for an owner in Hugh Culverhouse that was more worried about the bottom line than actually winning football games.
The Bucs have recognized early Tampa Bay legends like quarterback Doug Williams and tight end Jimmie Giles, and even the team’s first head coach in John McKay, but others are worthy as well. Running back Ricky Bell, who helped lead the team to their first winning season, division title and playoff win, but who’s career and ultimate lately life was cut short due to a rare disease, is a worthy candidate in my book – and probably most older Bucs fans. Richard “Batman” Woods, Hugh Green and Cedric Brown also should be given consideration.
But the most glaring omission thus far is running back James Wilder, who’s induction is long overdue. Wilder was a workhorse for the Bucs – literally. He was asked to do things that in today’s NFL would be considered absolutely crazy. He once held NFL records for most carries in a game (43), most combined touches in a season (492) and most carries in a season (407).
Wilder still holds many Buccaneers records including rushing attempts (1,575) and yards (5,957) most receptions (430) and is seventh all-time is scoring with 276 points. Putting Wilder, who is still Tampa Bay’s leading rusher and receiver after three decades, in the Bucs Ring of Honor is really a no-brainer and should happen in 2019.
My modern Bucs Ring of Honor candidate is another slam dunk in the team’s greatest ever cornerback, Ronde Barber. If you read Scott Reynolds’ entry above you know that Barber is one of the most decorated Bucs of all time with a host of records, including interceptions (47), pass breakups (166), defensive touchdowns (12) and most years played in Tampa Bay (16). Barber also led the league in interceptions in 2001 with a career-high 10.
I’ll add that he had the greatest signature play in Bucs history, returning a Donovan McNabb interception 92 yards for a touchdown to seal the team’s win in the NFC Championship Game and put the Bucs into their first-ever Super Bowl. Barber was also a member of the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team, which is of great importance to the voters in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, of which he deserves induction in, too.
Taylor Jenkins: CB Ronde Barber and DE Simeon Rice
When it comes to the next two inductees to the Bucs’ Ring of Honor there are a number of worthy candidates, but perhaps no two resumes ring louder than those of cornerback Ronde Barber and defensive end Simeon Rice, two cornerstone players from the Bucs’ historic Super Bowl winning defense.
As covered by Mark Cook and Scott Reynolds, Barber’s career is deserving of his own gold jacket and bust in Canton, Ohio, and the fact that he did it all with the Buccaneers over his 16-year career makes his induction an absolute no-brainer.
Barber was a five-time Pro Bowler, three-time all pro, member of the NFL All-Decade team for the 2000’s, set numerous franchise records and he’s the only player in NFL history to accumulate more than 45 interceptions while also notching more than 25 sacks. He was a revolutionary nickel corner in the Bucs’ “Tampa 2” defense and, without sounding redundant, will eventually find himself in the team’s Ring of Honor sooner or later. We at PewterReport.com just think it should be sooner – as in this year.
Rice, while he wasn’t a “lifer” in Tampa Bay, had one heck of a career in red and pewter. After spending five seasons in Arizona, where he was named the 1996 AP Defensive Rookie of the Year, Rice joined the Buccaneers prior to the ’01 season. By the end of the ’02-’03 playoffs he would lift the Lombardi Trophy on the heels of a season in which he accumulated 12 tackles for loss, 15.5 sacks, his second Pro Bowl appearance and first-team All Pro honors.
Over a 12-year career, Rice totaled 122 sacks, a number good for 20th all time, and his 69.5 sacks over six seasons with the Bucs trails only Warren Sapp’s 77 sacks and Lee Roy Selmon’s 78.5 sacks for the franchise lead. Even more impressive? Rice’s 69.5 sacks came over a span of just 87 games, as compared to Sapp’s 140 games in Tampa Bay.
Rice was one of the most dominant pass rushers to ever pass through Tampa Bay and was instrumental in the franchise’s lone Super Bowl victory where he recorded two sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. With his body of work over the team’s most successful period, I think Rice’s spot in the Ring of Honor would be well-received and well-deserved soon – if not this year.
Matt Matera: CB Ronde Barber and DE Simeon Rice
Ronde Barber’s induction is a no brainer. Barber is one of the last members of the Bucs’ vaunted Super Bowl winning defense that isn’t in the Ring of Honor already, despite being one of its team leaders. He’s on the Mount Rushmore of defensive players from that era, including defensive tackle Warren Sapp, linebacker Derrick Brooks and strong safety John Lynch as the other three.
Besides playing a huge part in leading the Bucs to their only Super Bowl championship, he holds a number of career accolades both for the Bucs and the NFL. Barber is the Bucs’ all-time leader in interceptions (47), defensive touchdowns (12), and games played with 241. This included an impeccable 2001 season, where Barber led the NFL with 10 interceptions, including a three-interception game – one of three Bucs in history to do so. He had another three-interception game in 2005, becoming the only Buccaneer to accomplish this twice.
Barber’s 215 consecutive starts as a defensive back is an NFL record, and along with Charles Woodson, is one of two players to be in the 40-20 club, which is having a career total of at least 40 interceptions and 20 interceptions. If that doesn’t get him into the Bucs Ring of Honor, I don’t know what does. Not to mention Barber had career longevity with the Bucs, playing in 16 seasons while making five Pro Bowls and three All-Pro teams.
Defensive end Simeon Rice probably doesn’t the credit he deserves playing in the shadow of Hall of Fame defensive tackle Warren Sapp, but he was as important as any player on the Bucs’ Super Bowl winning team. Rice played six years for Tampa Bay and in that time became one of the most feared pass rushers that the league had to offer.
At 69.5 sacks, Rice is second on the Bucs’ all-time sack list. Other teams always had to account for him on Sunday’s while setting up their game plan. Up until Jason Pierre-Paul recorded 12.5 sacks last season, Rice, who notched 15.5 in 2002 sacks in 2002, was the last Buccaneer to have double-digit sacks in over a decade. He recorded at least 11 sacks in five out of his six seasons in Tampa Bay, producing at a high level during his time there. Rice should earn his credit now among the Bucs’ greatest.