Kiffin Joins Super Bowl Reunion

The primary architect of one of the greatest defenses in NFL history will be on hand this weekend to celebrate the crowning achievement of that group.

On Tuesday, the Buccaneers announced that Monte Kiffin, the team’s defensive coordinator from 1996-2008, has joined the list of returning alumni from the 2002 Super Bowl championship team.  Tampa Bay will celebrate the 10-year anniversary of that Super Bowl victory with a reunion of the ’02 team, capped by a halftime ceremony during Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Raymond James Stadium.

With Kiffin now headed to town, the reunion is remarkably complete.  Continue reading

Buc Radio Shows Take on Super Bowl Flavor

All season Buccaneer fans have been tuning into 620 WDAE-AM in the evenings to hear Tampa Bay players discuss the latest topics surrounding the team.  Whether it’s Gerald McCoy breaking down the Bucs’ latest defensive effort or Josh Freeman talking about the challenges of the team’s upcoming opponent, listeners have been able to get their Buccaneer analysis straight from the source…and sometimes even ask the questions themselves.  The radio show series is called Total Access for a good reason.

This week, the Buccaneers are offering their fans double the access during drive time.  With the team counting down to Sunday’s 10-year reunion of the 2002 Super Bowl team, the nightly radio shows are going to feature an unprecedented combination of Buccaneers past and present.

Tune in on Monday night, for instance, and you can hear Mike Williams talking about his big touchdown catch in Denver and Keyshawn Johnson sharing his Super Bowl memories.  Freeman is trying to take his team to the same heights that Brad Johnson did a decade ago…they’ll talk about it together on Friday night.  Here is this week’s schedule of Buccaneer radio shows, each one featuring a very appropriate Super Bowl guest:

  • Monday: Total Access with WR Mike Williams, featuring former Buc WR Keyshawn Johnson
  • Tuesday: Total Access with S Ronde Barber, featuring former Buc S John Lynch
  • Wednesday: Total Access with DT Gerald McCoy, featuring former Buc DT Warren Sapp
  • Thursday: Total Access with QB Josh Freeman, featuring former Buc QB Brad Johnson

Every week, Friday’s Total Access show features a different Buccaneer player, and the Buccaneers will soon be announcing another pairing of current and former stars.

Each Total Access show runs from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. ET on 620 WDAE-AM.  Fans can call in to talk to the hosts at 1-800-596-BUCS (2827).

Lynch, Sapp Take Next Step Towards Hall of Fame

The late Lee Roy Selmon remains the only player in the Pro Football Hall of Fame who played all or most of his career as a Tampa Bay Buccaneer.  Selmon’s bust in Canton may soon have company, however.

On Friday, the Hall of Fame announced the modern-era semifinalists for the Class of 2013, including the six remaining first-year-eligible candidates.  One third of that latter list is made up of Buccaneers: safety John Lynch and DT Warren Sapp. Continue reading

Gruden Among Reunion Attendees

In his first year as head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, in 2002, Jon Gruden led the team to its first Super Bowl championship.  On December 9, Gruden will be back in Tampa to lead that same squad out onto the field at Raymond James Stadium.

The Buccaneers have organized a reunion of that unforgettable ’02 team, which set a team record with 12 regular-season wins and then steamrolled the 49ers, Eagles and Raiders to take the title.  That was particularly fitting for Gruden, who had worked for all three of those teams en route to his post with the Buccaneers and, in fact, had left the Raiders to take over in Tampa Bay.

Gruden, who is now an ESPN analyst and a member of the Monday Night Football broadcast team, will join other former players and coaches from the Super Bowl XXXVII team on the field on Dec. 9 when they are honored on the 10th anniversary of that championship season at halftime.  The group will also gather at One Buccaneer Place on Saturday night for a special reunion event.

The list of players and coaches from that championship team who will take the field in front of the Raymond James Stadium crowd is impressively long and includes a vast majority of the figures Buccaneer fans will remember.  The entire list will be announced shortly on Buccaneers.com.

This will not be Gruden’s first time back at One Buccaneer Place since his final season as head coach in 2008.  He returned last year as part of the MNF team for Tampa Bay’s prime-time game against the Indianapolis Colts, even interviewing current Buccaneer players inside team headquarters.  This time, however, Gruden and his fellow 2002 Buccaneers will be the ones in the spotlight.

Buc Rookies Prominent in Award Races

The Buccaneers have not had a player win the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award since 2005, when it went to RB Cadillac Williams.  (Warrick Dunn also won it in 1997). The team has never had a player win the defensive version of that award, at least not the official Associated Press version.  DT Santana Dotson got a nod in that direction in 1992 from two publications that used to give out rafts of awards: Football Digest and College and Pro Football Newsweekly.

There is a very real chance a Buccaneer could take home both of those award in 2012.  At the very least, several Bucs have forced their way into the conversation.

That’s the opinion of SI.com’s Jim Trotter, at the very least.  Trotter has posted his top three front-runners for all of the NFL’s major awards in 2012, and two Buc rookies are prominently featured.  RB Doug Martin is third on his list for Offensive Rookie of the Year, behind the first two picks in the 2012 draft, QBs Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III (in reserve order).  On defense, LB Lavonte David is Trotter’s second pick behind Seattle LB Bobby Wagner.

Trotter refers to Martin as “one of the game’s dynamic young players at the position.”  He lauds David not only for his own strong play but for being the Buccaneers’ signal-caller on defense.  Trotter says David “consistently shows up when big plays need to be made.”

Check out all of SI.com’s predictions on the 2012 player awards.  Trotter updates the list every Tuesday (you can see that he had Martin at #1 a week ago), so it’s worth a weekly check.

Underdogs? Experts High on Bucs

The 9-1 Atlanta Falcons, owners of the best record in the NFC, are coming to Tampa this weekend to take on a team they have beaten six out of the last seven times, with a chance to hit double digits in victories for the third straight season.  The Buccaneers, meanwhile, are 6-4, three games back in the standings…and favored?

They are if you agree with the assembled experts at ESPN.com.  That group has made its picks for Week 12, and eight of the 14 believe the Buccaneers will protect their home and win their fifth straight game, in the process pulling to within two in the NFC South race. Continue reading

Power Polls: Another Move Up

The various Power Rankings, a staple of online NFL coverage, have been updated again, and there’s at least one bit of consensus between the likes of ESPN.com and SI.com regarding the Buccaneers: Their Week 11 win at Carolina was worthy of a small bump.

The Bucs land in a variety of spots this week, from ninth at FOXsports.com to 12th on PFT, but in each case they have made a minor climb after their 27-21 comeback victory.  In fact, they got moved exactly one spot in three of the five polls linked below.

FOXSports’ Brian Billick already was the Bucs’ most bullish supporter, so his one spot bump took Tampa Bay from 10th to ninth, their highest ranking in any poll so far this year.  Billick says the Bucs are in prime position to capture a Wild Card spot.

The NFL.com Power Rankings are the accumulation of the lists of a handful of analysts, but Elliot Harrison presents, effusing that Tampa Bay’s win at Carolina was “absolutely ridiculous” (in a good way).  Harrison shows the Bucs at number  11, also up one spot from last week, but warns that the next two weeks (vs. Atlanta, at Denver) will say quite a bit about the “ilk” of the Buccaneers.

Likewise, Pete Prisco at CBSSports.com moved the Bucs up exactly one spot, to 12th overall.  Prisco has been warning that the Buccaneers are for real for several weeks and this time refers to the team as a “real playoff threat.”

The ESPN.com power poll was apparently most impressed by what the Bucs accomplished in Week 11, leaping them three spots all the way up to 10th.  The teams Tampa Bay passed this week to crack the top 10: Pittsburgh, the Colts and the idle Seahawks.

Finally, the Bucs made a move of two spots in the ProFootballTalk.com poll, rising to 12th.  No word yet on Don Banks and SI.com, but stay tuned.

Tomlinson: Martin is “Everything We Want in the NFL”

Doug Martin has been compared to Emmitt Smith and Ray Rice, has been linked statistically to Walter Payton and Edgerrin James and has now received a resounding endorsement from LaDainian Tomlinson.  That’s rare company for any running back, let alone a rookie, and it’s another indication that Martin has a bright future in the the NFL.

Actually, Martin’s present is pretty bright, as he is on pace to become just the third rookie in league history to eclipse 2,000 yards from scrimmage, joining James and Eric Dickerson (there’s another one!).  After his sixth straight game with more than 100 yards from scrimmage helped the Bucs complete a comeback win over Carolina on Sunday, Martin got a visit from Tomlinson, now an NFL Network analyst.

Tomlinson interviewed Martin on Tuesday for a piece that will air on the NFL Network this Sunday during the leadup to Tampa Bay’s high-profile game against the Atlanta Falcons.  The Hall of Fame-bound running back and the rookie not only sat down for a studio talk but also strolled out onto the Bucs’ practice fields and compared notes.  Continue reading

Bucs-Falcons Ticket Update

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers get their first crack at the NFC South-leading Atlanta Falcons this Sunday, with a chance to significantly tighten up the division race.  And they get the Falcons on their own home turf.

Thanks to a four-game winning streak, and five victories in their last six outings, the Buccaneers have improved to 6-4 and could pull within two games in the division with a victory over the Falcons in Week 12.  The Bucs and Falcons will meet again in the final week of the season, meaning Tampa Bay’s division title hopes would be very much alive with a win on Sunday.

It’s time for yet another huge game between the Buccaneers and the Falcons, and this one is at home, in front of a Raymond James Stadium crowd that has proved to be a serious home field advantage.  Moreover, the possibility of a sellout at Raymond James Stadium remains.  Here is a ticket update as of 5:00 p.m. ET on Monday:

There are approximately 11,000 non-premium tickets left to sell out this Sunday’s game and the team is still about 7,400 short of reaching the 85 percent threshold needed to lift the television blackout.

Bucs Twitter Reactions to Victory in Carolina

BUCCANEERS WIN!!!! DALLAS CLARK WITH THE TOUCHDOWN! ITS OVER! 27-21 BUCCANEERS!!!!!! #itsabucslife
@THECaptainFear
Captain Fear
A little love for the Buccaneers' defense, too. Best stat: Tampa Bay had 10 tackles for loss today; Carolina had zero.
@TBBuccaneers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Man #BucsNation traveled well today, lots of red in that stadium! #ITSaBUCSlife What a game!! Thank you Lord for the opportunity!!
@MichaelKoenen
Michael Koenen
Way to fight Bucs!!!!! Awesome win!!! 🏈🏈🏈👍👍👍
@DougMartin22
Doug Martin
What A Crazy Win 2day!!!! #BucNation ....& Thank You All For Your Support/Prayers....Im Okay 👍👌
@TiUnderwood
Tiquan Underwood
No matter how negative the situation, accept it, let it go, and use it as motivation!
@DougMartin22
Doug Martin
Just landed in Tampa! So proud of our team for fighting til the end! @ @ #Bucs http://t.co/bUxrS1d4
@JF5x
Joshua T. Freeman
That's 37 years of Buccaneer football and you might not find a more incredible victory than this one.
@TBBuccaneers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers