OK, so this is one of the worst kept secrets since my causing the breakup of Reggie Bush and KimK but it is, nonetheless, pretty exciting. The Ring of Honor at Raymond James Stadium will get a new member this year and it will be one of the guys that made me love the Bucs of the 70’s.
By now, you guys have all read WHY Mr. Giles is a good selection. Many of you had to be informed of who he was as this team has enjoyed a recent surge of support (read as during the wonder years leading up to the Super Bowl). Sadly, many of the guys that laid bricks for the early Bucs are forgotten. Their contributions to a team formed when new franchises were often stocked with local factory workers and law enforcement officers rather than top tier D1 talent have drifted off in to the pages of history and seem to pale in comparison to the shiny new Red and Pewter greats of today.
I think that sucks.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love Sapp, Brooks, Lynch, Barber (and the rest of the list that is sure to follow). In fact, I make no bones about the fact that Warren Sapp is my favorite all time Buccaneer. However, for a Ring of Honor, I think chronology must be at least noticed. There are guys that still sit at the top (or near the top) of many critical statistical categories that never donned our very cool new uniforms. There are guys who toiled under an owner that would turn the stomach of even the most staunch anti-Glazer Bucs fan and watched teammates leave for reasons far more insidious than the value of their contract and they still went out and performed.
Now it is hard to get a sense for how amazing some of the accomplishments were but between the Worst to First run that had the Bucs make the NFC Championship game in the 1979 season to the 13 consecutive ten loss seasons, some pretty damn good players wore teh Bucs colors. If you have not Googled Doug Williams, Ricky Bell, Kevin House or James Wilder, you should go do that. Hell, there are plenty more to add to that list. The point of the story is that even though there may not have been team glory associated with some of those individuals, the work they did for the team you love is unquestionable.
Does that mean the new era players should have to wait? What if they were actually better players?
They were great. They were all great in certain ways. Being added to a Ring of Honor has a time component and while it may not seem fair, I think it is one of the few things that will incent our younger fans (which are awesome by the way) to go back and check out a history that, while filled with futility, provides a backdrop for the passion that does still exist on Sundays here in Tampa.
Congratulations Jimmie. You deserve it. And thanks for the great memories (especially versus the Cowboys!).