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.  Nearly every key figure from that team will be on hand, from Head Coach Jon Gruden to 20 of the team’s 22 starters in the Super Bowl and nearly three dozen other players and coaches.  Those who helped form Kiffin’s top-ranked defense in 2002 and who will be on hand for the weekend’s celebration include Derrick Brooks, Warren Sapp, John Lynch, Ronde Barber (the only member of the 2002 team still playing), Shelton Quarles and Simeon Rice.  The only starter not able to return is DE Greg Spires, who had a sack and a tipped pass that led to one of Dwight Smith’s pick-sixes in the Super Bowl.  Spires has family obligations to attend to but will be there in spirit and will surely get updates from some of his old teammates.

During his 13-year tenure at the helm of the Bucs’ defense, Kiffin emerged as one of the most respected assistants in league history.  His team so completely perfected the Cover Two style of defense that it is now commonly referred to as the “Tampa Two.”  The Buccaneers finished in the top 10 in the NFL’s defensive rankings in 11 of Kiffin’s 13 years with the team, ranking at the top in 2002 and 2005 and finishing either second or third in 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2007.

Two players won NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors during Kiffin’s time with the team – Brooks in 2002 and Sapp in 1999.  Buccaneer defenders earned a total of 36 Pro Bowl berths in that 13-year span, and Kiffin himself was named the Assistant Coach of the Year by the Pro Football Writers Association in 2002.

For a complete list of the returning Buccaneers this weekend, click here.

3 comments on “Kiffin Joins Super Bowl Reunion

  1. Robert McClure on said:

    Dat was a gr8 team we had in”02″ kiffin needs 2 comeback & run our defense! No harm 2 da coaches we already hv der

  2. Kevin Strickland on said:

    This is Awesome Kiffin is in my Opinion not just one of the best, he is the best Defensive Coordinators ever. The man is a absolute genius when it comes to defenses , that also knew the offensive side of the ball, which made the man a excellent coach. Kiffin knew his stuff and was able to install it into his defensive schemes. The Tampa Bay Buccaneer Defensive players seemed to love the man and always gave 110% that’s why I feel they were the Best Defense Ever. The Defense of the 2002 Superbowl team will all someday be in the Hall of Fame or at least they should be. The Offence wasn’t too shabby ether, but I feel the Defense was what got them into the game and they also accounted for a big part of the reason The Tampa Bay Buccaneers hoisted the Vince Lombardy Trophy that season. It is going to be such a Awesome half time presentation that I would have loved to attend however with Christmas and all I just can’t afford to. I will however be watching from my living room couch Here in Illinois and I can’t wait to see the game and the presentation. The Coaches and Players of this team are all great and it will be a honor to see them again. The current Tampa Bay Buccaneer Team should be honored to be the team that now represents such a wonderful city. I believe that this new team has the talent to do what the 2002 team did they in my opinion are Superbowl contenders. Well good luck and god bless and watch over the coaches , team , cheerleaders, fans and all those announcing the game this Sunday . Last but not least GO BUC’S Beat the Eagles I will be watching heck mI can hardly wait til Sunday. Your # one fan in Illinois.

  3. Liz Henn on said:

    Sooooo Glad to hear Monty will be there to celebrate w/all of us!

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