Vote to Relive Super Bowl XXXVII on NFL Network

Super Bowl XLVII is over, but the party is just starting back in Baltimore.  On Tuesday, the Ravens conducted the customary victory parade through town – an event described as “pandemonium” – and saw 80,000 delirious fans pack M&T Bank Stadium to the rafters.

Almost exactly a decade ago, a similar scene was unfolding in downtown Tampa, as a delirious but well-mannered Bay area crowd packed sidewalks, parking garages and even nearby trees to get a close-up look at the Buccaneers’ championship parade.  An estimated crowd of 150,000 fans had packed every square inch of the parade’s three-mile route, and the night before Raymond James Stadium had been standing-room-only for the team’s official welcome back.

There’s no doubt that a Super Bowl victory taps deep into the emotional well of a team’s fan base, whether it’s located in Florida, Maryland or Louisiana.  And the award-winning folks at NFL Films have proved that they can tap into that well with their popular documentary series called “America’s Game.” Continue reading

Hall of Famer Warren Sapp, By the Numbers

On Saturday, former Buccaneer DT Warren Sapp was chosen for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, sharing a star-studded Class of 2013 with G Larry Allen, WR Cris Carter, T Jonathan Ogden and coach Bill Parcells.  It was a momentous occasion for the NFL’s 27th franchise; as most Buccaneer fans know, Sapp joins Lee Roy Selmon as the only players in the Hall who spent the majority of their careers in Tampa.  G Randall McDaniel and QB Steve Young, another pair of Hall of Famers, each played two seasons in Tampa but are better known for their years in Minnesota and San Francisco, respectively.

So one becomes two, and that may be the most important number associated with Saturday’s news.  Here are some more:

1 – Number of figures from the Buccaneers’ 2002 Super Bowl Championship team who are now in the Hall of Fame.  S John Lynch was eligible for the first time in 2012 and made it to the list of semi-finalists.  LB Derrick Brooks will be eligible for the first time in 2014.  CB Ronde Barber, who is also considered a strong candidate upon his eventual retirement, was still playing this past fall.

2 – Number of players from the NFL’s 1995 draft now in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  Warren Sapp was the 12th player chosen overall in that draft.  RB Curtis Martin, who was enshrined in 2012, was taken 74th overall by the Patriots in Round Three.

3 – Number of players in the Class of 2013 who were elected in their first year of eligibility.  That ties for the most in any given year since 1970 (when the current procedure was put in place) and marks just the second time it has happened in the last 20 years.  Three first-year-eligible candidates were also chosen in 2006 (Troy Aikman, Warren Moon, Reggie White), 1993 (Dan Fouts, Chuck Noll, Walter Payton), 1991 (Earl Campbell, John Hannah, Jan Stenerud), 1990 (Franco Harris, Jack Lambert, Tom Landry), 1987 (Joe Greene, Jim Langer, Gene Upshaw), 1980 (Deacon Jones, Bob Lilly, Jim Otto), 1978 (Lance Alworth, Ray Nitschke, Larry Wilson) and 1977 (Forrest Gregg, Gale Sayers, Bart Starr).

4 – Number of seasons in which Warren Sapp led the Bucs in sacks, despite playing alongside Simeon Rice for three of his nine years with the team.  Sapp also had four double-digit sack seasons, one with Oakland, which is the second-most by any defensive tackle after John Randle.

5 – Number of defensive tackles who have been elected to the Hall in their first year of eligibility since 1970 (when the current procedure was put in place).  Warren Sapp joins the list, which also includes Joe Greene, Bob Lilly, Merlin Olsen and Randy White.  (Reggie White would make it six if he’s included, but was better known as an end.)

6 – Number of players from the University of Miami (FL) now in the Hall of Fame.  The Hurricanes have been represented in each of the last two classes, as former Miami DT Cortez Kennedy went in last year.  The others are Ted Hendricks (Class of 1990), Michael Irvin (2007), Jim Kelly (2002) and Jim Otto (1980).  Miami is now tied for eighth on the list of colleges with the most Hall of Famers, matching the totals of Illinois and Minnesota.  USC heads the list with 11 and Notre Dame is second with 10.

7 – Number of times Warren Sapp was selected for the Pro Bowl, all during his nine years in Tampa.  That is second-most in team history to Derrick Brooks’ 11.

10 – Number of Pro Football Hall of Famers who were born in the state of Florida following the selection of Warren Sapp.  Florida is now tied with New York for the sixth-most representatives in the Hall.  Pennsylvania leads the way with 29, one ahead of Texas.

16 – Number of defensive tackles now in the Hall of Fame after the selection of Sapp.  That includes several players (e.g. Reggie White) who are listed as both ends and tackles.

85 – Number of regular-season and postseason games the Buccaneers won during Sapp’s nine years with the team.  The franchise had won 88 games during the 19 years before his arrival.

96.5 – Warren Sapp’s career sack total over 13 seasons with Tampa Bay and Oakland.  Among those who primarily played defensive tackle, that is second in league history to fellow Hall of Famer John Randle’s 137.5.

99 – Warren Sapp’s jersey number.  He becomes the third player in the Hall of Fame who wore that number in the NFL, joining two other defensive tackles, Dan Hampton (who also played end) and Cortez Kennedy.  The Hall’s collection of 99s has increased three-fold in the last two years, as Kennedy was just enshrined in 2012.

Jackson Bringing Thousands of Military Members to Friday’s Lightning Game

Vincent Jackson, just back in town after representing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2013 Pro Bowl, has made plans to watch the hometown hockey team, the Tampa Bay Lightning, take on the Winnipeg Jets Friday night.  Oh, and he plans to bring several friends along.

Actually, more like several thousand.

Through his recently-founded Jackson in Action 83 Foundation, the all-star Buccaneer wideout has partnered with the Lightning to purchase 2,000 tickets to Friday night’s game to be distributed to military families at Tampa’s MacDill Air Force Base.  A staunch supporter of the military, Jackson focuses his foundation’s work on those who serve the country in such a capacity. Continue reading