The NFL recently announced the semifinalist for the 2017 Hall of Fame introductions. While the Buccaneers were not shutout with recent ring of honor inductee John Lynch making the cut, there was what some might consider a noticeable Buccaneer absent from the list. While it is a competitive year with a list of notable 1st timers on the ballot, a case can certainly be made that Simeon Rice, who spent 12 years giving opposing quarterback nightmares, also deserved to hear his name announced on the semi finalist list. Rice spent half of his 12 year career wearing red and pewter. This include playing a big role on the Super Bowl winning team.
Rice is currently 18th on the all time sack list with 122 in 174 career games. There is currently 3 non active players ahead of Rice on this list that are not in the Hall of fame either. Those names are Jason Taylor, who is in his 1st year of eligibility this year, John Abraham who retired in 2014 and is not eligible yet. The only other name that you can find in front of Simeon Rice on the all time sack list it Leslie O’Neal, who retired in 1999. Rice finished his NFL career with a sack per game average of .70. Of the 10 Hall of Famers ahead of him, Rice has a better sack per game ratio then 4 of them. This includes Bruce Smith, who is at the top of the list. Rice also finished his playing career with a better sack per game ratio then Jason Taylor, who some consider a lock to get in this year.
Not only does Rice have terrific career numbers, but he provided a great amount of consistency over his 12 year career. In 8 of his 12 seasons, Rice finished the year with double digit sack totals. Rice tallied 6 forced fumbles, in 4 different season. Perhaps what is holding Rice back is the lack of award recognition. With all the impressive numbers, Rice only played in 3 Pro Bowls and was All Pro only twice. Rice was 2nd team All Pro two times as well. The argument can also be made that Rice does not get the recognition that he perhaps deserves due to the fact that his greatness was in the shadow of Jason Taylor, another terrific pass rusher who came in the NFL just one year after Rice and lasted a few years longer. What is holding Rice back from getting more Hall of Fame talk? After reading deeper into the career stats you can’t help but your head and say. “What the Buc?”