NFL.com Ranks All 46 Super Bowls

Forty-six Super Bowls have been played since the game debuted as the pre-merger AFL-NFL Championship Game at the end of the 1966 season.  Some certainly proved to be more exciting than others.

Which of the 46 big games are remembered most fondly?  Well, that depends of course on who you are.  Derrick Brooks, Warren Sapp, Ronde Barber and company would probably put Super Bowl XXXVII at the top of their own personal list, as would the majority of Buccaneer fans.  It would be a bit lower for Rich Gannon, Jerry Rice and most Raider loyalists.

From a presumably more objective point of view, the folks at NFL.com have taken the time to rank all the Super Bowls, from 46th to first, in terms of how thrilling the action was.  The list is presented in photo essay form, with supporting commentary from Senior Analyst Gil Brandt, who helped build several championship teams in Dallas.

The list doesn’t seem to be based on how strong the various championship teams were; in fact, that worked against the clubs who thoroughly dominated on Super Bowl Sunday.  The 46th-ranked game, in fact, was the 49ers’ 55-10 dismantling of the Broncos in Super Bowl XXIV after the 1989 season.  That was a marvelous San Francisco squad, but it so completely dominated Denver that the action is described as “brutal from start to finish.”

No spoiler here as to where the Buccaneers’ 48-21 thrashing of the Raiders after the 2002 season ranks, although the final score should provide a hint.  Two of the top 10 games were played in Tampa, one each at Tampa Stadium and Raymond James Stadium, and those two selections are not hard to guess (cough, James Harrison, cough, Scott Norwood).

So check out the list, see where our personal favorite lands on the list and leave a comment if you think it should have been higher.  After all, a lopsided final score doesn’t mean a game was lacking in exciting moments.

Open Your Doors for Warren Sapp, Canton

J.J. Watt will probably win this year’s NFL Defensive Player of the Year award, and if not him then Von Miller.  Had those two not had such visibly outstanding seasons, however, you might be hearing a lot more about Cincinnati defensive tackle Geno Atkins.  Atkins recorded 12.5 sacks, dominated the line of scrimmage for the Bengals and, according to Pro Football Focus, was one of the four best players in football in 2012.

Here’s how Joel Corry of the National Football Post described Atkin’s potential as the third-year defender began to get more notice in November: “[He] could become the best 3-technique defensive tackle since Warren Sapp.”

Before the 2010 NFL draft, a pair of Big 12 defensive tackles, Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh and Oklahoma’s Gerald McCoy, were widely (and accurately) expected to go among the top three picks in the opening round.  Usually matched with the Buccaneers at pick #3, McCoy was usually described in scouting reports as having a skill set similar to that of Warren Sapp.  Eight months later, after Suh had opened his career with a 10-sack season in Detroit, he was drawing the Sapp comparisons.  After Suh’s career hit some trouble spots in 2011, Lions Defensive Coordinator Gunther Cunningham ordered his young charge to watch videotape of Sapp in action; a Pro Bowl year followed.

Great defensive tackles emerge in the NFL from time to time.  In the middle of the last decade, for a few bright years, it was Atlanta’s Rod Coleman.  Here’s how an anonymous scout described Coleman for the Sporting News in 2004:

“Rod Coleman is to the Falcons what Warren Sapp was to the Bucs in that he can be a disruptive guy who can play the run on the way to the quarterback. He’s probably not as athletic as Sapp, but he’s got great power and great strength.”

Sensing a pattern?

Warren Sapp, the seven-time Pro Bowler who spent nine seasons with the Buccaneers and another four in Oakland, retired after the 2007 campaign but his name is still a constant part of the NFL discussion, and not because he is now flinging around opinions for the NFL Network the way he used to do with offensive linemen.  Sapp changed the game, redefined a position, rejuvenated a franchise and made his own name a lasting part of the NFL lexicon.

That, dear voters, is a Hall of Famer. Continue reading

Point/Counterpoint: What football-announcing adage would you eliminate from existence if you could?

This Sunday, Jim Nantz and Phil Simms will call the action for the last NFL game of this season.  We’ll pause here for a moment while you sob quietly for a few minutes as you contemplate six long, football-free months.

Okay, cheer up.  At least there is one very entertaining evening left in this season.  And the Nantz-Simms duo, obviously CBS’s top team, will surely do a great job of adding to the excitement.  However, one more football broadcast also means one last chance for players, coaches and analysts to dust off their most groan-inducing clichés.  Some player in the postgame locker room will probably claim his team “wanted it more,” and if there’s a halftime interview with the coach get ready for him to say, “we have to do a better job of protecting the ball.”  As for the broadcast itself, it’s pretty much just a matter of time until someone utters the words, “establish the run.”

Look, I don’t blame anybody involved.  If I was a player or coach, I’m sure I’d make use of the same “one-play-at-a-time” clichés as everybody else.  (Well, almost everybody else…I’ve noticed that, somehow, Ronde Barber never seems to fall back on the old sayings, which always makes his  interviews more entertaining.)  And there are certainly common adages by broadcasters that are common because there’s truth in him.  Games are often won and lost by turnovers, for example.

That said, everybody has at least one cliché (adage, saying, maxim…whatever you want to call it) that makes them grind their teeth.  I’m thinking of mine right now, and it’s already making me angry.  So, just for the fun of it, let’s pretend that we have the power to keep one football cliché from ever being voiced again.  What would be at the top of your list, Andrew? Continue reading

Best Buccaneer Pro Bowl Ever?

With more than one player in the Pro Bowl for the first time in four years, the Buccaneers had an opportunity to make a strong impact in the NFL’s all-star game on Sunday.  They didn’t disappoint.

WR Vincent Jackson, RB Doug Martin and DT Gerald McCoy made the Buccaneers’ pewter helmets highly visible in the sea of blue and white jerseys, from the beginning of the evening until the end.  Jackson was the Bucs’ first receiver in the Pro Bowl since 2003, Martin was the team’s first all-star ballcarrier since 2002 and McCoy was Tampa Bay’s first starter in the game since 2008, and they all played extensively.

That Buc trio combined to produce 139 yards from scrimmage, three touchdowns, a tackle for loss and a turnover that set up one of the NFC’s eight touchdowns.  Jackson scored the conference’s first points on a 36-yard touchdown catch in the opening quarter and he was the only NFC player to find the end zone twice.  Martin also scored, and McCoy set up Jackson’s second touchdown of the night with a fumble recovery.

It was a heady night for the Buccaneers – or afternoon, actually, in Honolulu – and one that bodes well for the franchise’s immediate future.  But was it the best representation the NFL’s 27th franchise has ever had in the Pro Bowl? Continue reading

Gerald McCoy Answers Fans Questions

Have you ever wondered if Gerald McCoy, the Buccaneers’ Pro Bowl defensive tackle, felt like he was proving doubters wrong with his breakout 2012 campaign?  Well, Twitter user @TheChrisDez did, and he was able to get the answer, thanks to the Buccaneers.

Shortly before heading off to Hawaii, McCoy spent a while in front of a camera fielding questions sent in by Buccaneer fans via Facebook and Twitter.  The Buccaneers have begun to post those videos, one by one, on their Facebook page.

So Chris got his answer, as have about a half-dozen fans so far.  Find out if McCoy has ever surfed or had coconut milk, how he feels about making it through a season injury-free and what player’s brain he’d like to pick.

McCoy will play in the Pro Bowl on Sunday (as you can see above, he and teammates Doug Martin and Vincent Jackson are in Hawaii and ready to go).  In the meantime, more of his videos will be posted on Facebook, so continue to check them out if you sent in a question.

Re-Grading Doesn’t Hurt Bucs’ 2012 Draft Mark

The Buccaneers got an “A” from Mel Kiper in April, then backed it up from September through December.

Grading teams on their selections is a time-honored part of the NFL Draft scene, and ESPN.com’s Kiper is the most high-profile professor.  However, even the most prepared draft expert understands that evaluating draft classes immediately after the seventh round ends is a tricky proposition involving a lot of educated guesswork.

For that reason, many draft evaluators eventually return to their grades after a season has been played – or in some cases, several seasons – and offer revised opinions.  Kiper, in fact, did just that on Friday (the link is behind ESPN.com’s Insider subscription wall, so some readers may not be able to access it.)  Continue reading

TBBC Pro Bowl Cheerleader Lauren’s Blog from Hawaii

Aloha Bucs Fans!

Lauren here! Your 2013 Pro Bowl Cheerleader! It’s such an honor to represent our Tampa Bay Buccaneers Cheerleaders here in Hawaii!

Day 1:

Today started of early… My husband got me to the airport 6:30 AM, in full hair and makeup, before my 15 hours of traveling. Woo hoo! But I was very excited and ready to go!

After a nice, short flight to Atlanta, landing, major airport traffic and sitting on the plane for an extra 30 minutes, I somehow made it from one end of the airport to the other in less than seven minutes. It was a little stressful to say the least! But once I was on board, I got to pull out an awesome little package from my TBBC sisters. The outside of the package read “Do Not Open Until You Are On Flight 837 – Love TBBC”. The package was filled with letters from all of the Buccaneer cheerleaders. It truly made my 11-hour flight so much more enjoyable!

After reading each letter, I started looking around the plane and saw some other Pro Bowl Cheerleaders and got so excited! They all looked so beautiful, but were too far away to meet. My anxiety was increasing, I just wanted to talk to them so badly!

When we finally made it, all seven of the PBCs that were on the flight waited at the end of the gate for each other. It was as if we were all best friends and we just hadn’t seen each other for a while. So awesome! Continue reading

More on Newcomer Contributions in 2012

This story on Buccaneers.com on Wednesday pointed out that the team had received a whopping 73.3% of their scrimmage yards in 2012 from players who were new to the team.  That’s the highest such percentage for any team in franchise history, by a wide margin.

Well, it turns out that it also a significant figure in terms of the league at large.  Continue reading

Former I.R. Players First Wave of Additions to 2013 Roster

In  his final press conference of the 2012 season, Buccaneers Head Coach Greg Schiano touched on the players who finished the campaign on injured reserve.  He primarily focused on the four primary starters who were lost along the way: linebacker Quincy Black, defensive end Adrian Clayborn and guards Davin Joseph and Carl Nicks.

Obviously, those four players were at different stages in their respective rehab processes at the time, but Schiano spoke optimistically about most of them, noting that things were still up in the air regarding Black.

“Carl’s mending; he’s on the heal,” said Schiano on December 31.  “Quincy right now, they are still not sure what they are going to do medically. Quincy has been to some different places in the country, finest people there are, so I’m not sure what is going to happen there. Adrian is coming along nicely. Davin has been a while now. I saw him the other day walking in and he feels good and he is excited. The thing that I was really impressed with Davin is, in his absence of playing, just all the community service things he did. I know he has always done that but I think he took it up a notch between his rehab and that. I think he really refocused his energies which is neat to see. He’s a guy that doesn’t wallow in self-pity, he just goes and gets better physically and helps where he can help on the football end of things and really did a great job in the community.”

Obviously, the Bucs are eager to get all of their important contributors back to start the 2013 season.  There were actually 13 players on the team’s injured reserve list at the end of 2012.  In a way, this is the first wave of quality additions to the Buccaneers’ 2013 season, before free agency and the draft.  Here’s a look at the full list, in alphabetical order: Continue reading

Point/Counterpoint: Should the Buccaneers go offense or defense in the first round of this year’s draft?

I’m a firm believer that if you aren’t early then you’re late. Reservations, parties, movies, whatever it may be, I’ve got no problem being the first in line. Heck, I showed up three weeks early for my own birth. So, while the 2013 NFL Draft is on April 25th (a mere 92 days from now), I’m all about getting into the art of premature speculation.

The Buccaneers finished out the year in place for the 13th overall selection in the Draft this year. So I vote that this week in Point/Counterpoint we play the role of mock draft expert.

The 2012 season definitely saw a lot of promise for the future of this young Buccaneer team. Franchise records in points and yardage, a number of single-season personal records and three Pro Bowl selections definitely show that this team has a lot of potential to compete for the NFC South title in 2013. But it also gave us a solid glimpse at the needs for this team to take the step to the next level.

We’ll have a clearer picture once we get through free agency and see what the incoming crop of rookies displays throughout the offseason, but for now, let’s take a crack at this NFL Draft question:

Should the Buccaneers devote their first-round pick to offense or defense this year?

Take it away, Scott. Continue reading