’97 Team to Be Recognized, Too

This Sunday, the Buccaneers will induct tackle Paul Gruber into their Ring of Honor at Raymond James Stadium during a ceremony at halftime of their game against the Kansas City Chiefs.  Gruber’s name and jersey number (74) will be revealed along the stadium façade, next to those of previous inductees Lee Roy Selmon, John McKay and Jimmie Giles.

Gruber won’t be the only notable Buccaneer alumni at the stadium on Sunday, however.  Partly at his behest, the team has chosen to recognize the 1997 team during the halftime ceremony, as well.  Gruber will be joined on the field by a number of his former ’97 cohorts, including Mike Alstott, Derrick Brooks and Shelton Quarles.

The 1997 team memorably snapped the franchise’s string of 15 consecutive seasons without a playoff berth and began the turnaround that eventually led to victory in Super Bowl XXXVII at the end of the 2002 campaign.  Gruber considers the Buccaneers’ playoff victory over Detroit at the end of the 1997 season – the last game ever played at Tampa Stadium – to be one of his fondest NFL memories.  Having his ’97 teammates on hand will surely make his Ring of Honor induction even more special for him, and for Buccaneer fans who affectionately recall that season as well.

Though it could change before Sunday, here is the list of alumni from the 1997 team who are expected to be on the field for the halftime ceremony: 

CB Donnie Abraham DE Chidi Ahanotu FB Mike Alstott
CB Ronde Barber P Tommy Barnhardt S Tony Bouie
LB Derrick Brooks WR Horace Copeland DT Brad Culpepper
G Jorge Diaz RB Jerry Ellison S Kenny Gant
LB Jeff Gooch T Paul Gruber DE Tyoka Jackson
DT Jason Maniecki WR Marvin Marshall C Tony Mayberry
TE Dave Moore T Jason Odom C Jim Pyne
LB Shelton Quarles RB Errict Rhett CB Reggie Rusk
QB Steve Walsh T Jerry Wunsch  

 

4 thoughts on “’97 Team to Be Recognized, Too

  1. !997 I remember it well, it was the year my mother passed away, it was also the year I moved from Tampa to Iowa. In the winter of “97 I was back in Tampa by myself without my family, I remember I went to the mall and got everything with the new logo on it for my kids, hats, jerseys, pendant necklaces, you name it. Christmas ’97 I was back in Iowa my kids were all in grade school that year, all the other kids wore Rams or Packers gear, my kids were were able to proudly wear their Buc stuff in those years. Those were good times

  2. It was the last day of Aug in ’97 I wasn’t a fan of the new digs and felt a little betrayed by the idea that my team was doing the trendy thing by switching things up… Then, sitting in my apartment just 5 miles from BYU and with my 7 month old daughter sitting on my lap I watched my team beat down that QB that had given me cause to follow the state school over the Y. I am not a fan of players getting hurt but i did take a little solace in watching a former Bucc get his bell rung. I don’t know if it was that he quit to go play Canadian football or that he returned to steal Joe Montana’s team to win it all. Either way it didn’t make me feel bad. Sapp had 2 sacks that game and also ran the greatest receiver that ever played the game down from behind (I was a saddened that he broke Jerry’s leg), he was playing out of his mind. My memory may fail me but I think our D had 7 QB take downs. A-Train rolled over everybody and after that game I thought teams were gonna start forfeiting games out of fear for their offence’s safety. I did then and, in retrospect, would still rank that game as the greatest game i ever saw.

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