Tag Archives: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

My Way Too Early Speculation of Where Le’Veon Bell Will Land in 2019

Le’Veon Bell’s time in Pittsburgh is clearly coming to an end. But, where will the All-Pro, all-purpose back land in 2019?

It’s clear the Pittsburgh Steelers and All-Pro running back Le’Veon Bell are headed for a divorce. At this point the relationship appears unsalvageable after his teammates, specifically the offensive line, recklessly spoke about his contract situation and reluctance to show up for their week one matchup against the Cleveland Browns. He’s even been removed from the depth chart for week two’s matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Bell hasn’t signed his $14.5 million franchise tender, and will be docked $850 thousand for each game his misses. He wants a contract that will reset the market for top-flight running backs. Similar to what the LA Rams signed Todd Gurley to; 4 years, $60 million with $45 guaranteed. The 3-time All-Pro is two years older and unlikely to get that money from the Steelers, especially with the way his replacement, 2nd-year pro James Conner has performed so far in his absence in week one against the Cleveland Browns and training camp.

Bell’s not likely to get a long-term deal because of his age, but he’s a perfect match for teams that are in win now mode. Honestly, that’s the type of team he should be looking for, especially if he’s going to leave a franchise in Pittsburgh that’s always in the championship race.

So assuming it’s really over for Bell in the 412. Where could he land? Who needs him? Who could/is willing to pay him what he desires? Here is my way too early speculation of where he might land in 2019.

New York Jets. The Jets were in the hunt for quarterback Kirk Cousins and willing to pay him top dollar (I know QB money and RB money is different) before he chose the Minnesota Vikings and they drafted Sam Darnold with the third overall pick in the 2018 draft. They also were interested in acquiring Khalil Mack from the Oakland Raiders before he was eventually shipped off to the Chicago Bears. My point for bringing up those two players is to show that the Jets organization has the money and appears willing and desires to make a splash. Now that they appear to have a franchise QB in Darnold on a rookie contract, and their defense looks to be more than formidable, they’re only missing a top flight back. The three best friends for a young quarterback are an elite tackle to protect his blindside, a stout defense and a strong running game. Bell would help the team check the final box. Also, it’s New York. Bell likes the spotlight, and an offer anywhere near Gurley’s, even if it doesn’t top it, would likely pique his interest and make the Jets a strong contender in the AFC.

Indianapolis Colts. They’ve been trying to pair Andrew Luck with a running back since the day he was drafted to replace Peyton Manning. They’ve tried just about everything. Last season it was then 35-year old Frank Gore. In previous seasons they went as far as trading for Trent Richardson when he flamed out with the Cleveland Browns after being drafted two slots behind Luck in the 2012 draft. Nothing has worked. The Colts finally have invested in their offensive line to protect their wounded franchise QB. The other way to further that protection, get him an elite running back. Bell is worth the money if the Colts really think Luck is the championship caliber QB to lead them.

Green Bay Packers. The Pack desperately needs to get a running game to compliment Aaron Rodgers. Even though he is superhuman, at some point you put him at too much risk, being predictable by allowing him to drop back and sling it all over the field. They need balance. Green Bay was also interested in acquiring Khalil Mack before he was traded to the Bears. So they too are in win at all cost mode, NOW. Bell would give them a dimension they’ve NEVER had in A-A-Ron’s time under center in cheese country. A balanced attack would make the best QB in the game even scarier.

DARK HORSES

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Who knows what Jameis Winston’s future is in west Florida, but if they keep him beyond his rookie contract that ends in 2019, and he improves on and off the field, their offense has everything but an elite running back. The combination of DeSean Jackson, Mike Evans at wide receiver positions and OJ Howard at tight end is lethal. With Bell they’d have better weapons than what he’s currently apart of in the Burgh. Tampa Bay’s defense led by Gerald McCoy, Lavonte David and Brent Grimes is stout. Bell would make the Bucs the favorites in the best division in the NFL, the NFC South. A division that has been represented in the Super Bowl 2 of the last three seasons.

Seattle Seahawks. When Russell Wilson was at his best, he had “Beast Mode” Marshawn Lynch behind him. Even though he’s improved each season, their offense has been very predictable and Wilson playing sandlot ball. Now, they just spent their 2018 first round pick (27th overall) on Rashad Penny out of San Diego State who led FCS in rushing with 2,027 yards in 2017. So this is less likely than the other teams I have mentioned. However, Bell is a different animal, and if you can get him, YOU. GET. HIM.

The Tampa Buccaneers Mt. Rushmore

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers began their existence in the NFL in 1976, and went on to lose their first 26 games. It’s no wonder people referred to them as the “yucks”, instead of their abbreviated nickname the Bucs. However, the Buccanneers became the first expansion franchise in the era of the post AFL-NFL merger to win a division title, a playoff game and play in the conference championship game in the same season (1979).

But, that was short lived, as their losing ways returned and they suffered 14 consecutive losing seasons during the 1980s and early 1990s. That period helped them gain the draft picks needed to build the team that eventually turned them into a perennial playoff team and culminated with their only Super Bowl victory (XXXVII). In their 39 years, they’ve also won 6 division championships and made the playoffs 10 times, 7 of those appearances from 1997-2007.

Many of the players on that Super Bowl team, and contributed to the organizations great success, are still vividly remembered as their careers just came to a close within the last five to eight seasons. A few of those men are also on this list as being the Mount Rushmore for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

CRITERIA:

  • No owners, unless they were also coaches, and their place on this list is based on their contributions as coach. No General Managers or Personnel executives. Just those who directly affected the games on Sunday. I will make a separate list for those contributors soon.
  • Key contributors to the team’s history and success, not just fan favorites or box office draws.
  • Can you tell the franchise’s story without them? If no, they’re on the list.

Derrick Brooks (1995-2008) was the face of the Bucs team that won the franchise’s first and only Super Bowl (XXXVII). The 11-time Pro Bowl and 9-time All-Pro selection is Tampa Bay’s all-time leader in tackles (1,297) and forced fumbles (24). In 2002 he was named the AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year and NFL Alumni Linebacker of the year. He’s a member of the 2000s All-Decade Team, Pro Football Hall of Fame (2014) and is only the third Buc to have his jersey number (#55) retired by the team.

Warren Sapp (1995-2003) is the Bucs all-time career leader in sacks (77), and was a member of the Super Bowl XXXVII Championship team. Sapp is a 7-time Pro Bowl selection and 6-time All-Pro. In 1999 he was awarded the AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year, and is a member of both the NFL 1990s and 2000s All-Decade Teams. In 2013, Sapp was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the Bucs’ Ring of Honor, and had his jersey number (#99) retired.

Leroy Selmon (1976-1984) is the first NFL draft pick in the team’s history. Selmon played in six consecutive Pro Bowls, and was a 5-time All-Pro. In 1979 he won the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year and Defensive Lineman of the Year awards. He is a member of the NFL’s 1980s All-Decade Team and the Pro Football Hall of Fame (1995). Selmon is the first Bucs player to have his jersey retired (#63) and in 2009 was inducted into the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Ring of Honor.

Tony Dungy (1996-2001) wasn’t the coach of the team that won Super Bowl XXXVII in San Diego, but he changed the culture in Tampa from perennial losers to champions. When he was fired by Tampa Bay in 2001, he was the all-time leader in victories with 54. Although the team won the Super Bowl the season after he was fired, fans and players largely credit him for their success.

There you have it Bucs fans. What do you think? Did I get it right? Or would you have gone with Ronde Barber? Mike Alstott? John Lynch? or someone else? I want to hear from you.

It’s Only a Uniform, but, Get Back to Your Roots

Sunday the St. Louis Rams lost 37-27 to the New York Giants in an ugly game in their last game at the Edward Jones Dome for the 2014 season. But, there was a beautiful sighting on the field for nostalgic sports fans. During the game, the current Rams team wore replica uniforms donned by the 1999 Super Bowl Championship team lead by Head Coach Dick Vermeil, NFL MVP Kurt Warner and Marshall Faulk; also known as “The Greatest Show on Turf.” The classic royal blue and yellow jerseys were replaced beginning with the 2000 season for the current Navy Blue and Old Gold flavor. It was great to see those classic uniforms from the 19??-1999 back on the field and even though I’m not a Rams fan I wish they would stick with that color scheme and jersey.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/d90/35069605/files/2014/12/img_2085.jpg

The Rams wore these uniforms to honor the ’99 Super Champions. Courtesy:StLouisRams.Com

Some franchises should never change their uniforms or color schemes for any reason; like my Pittsburgh Steelers, the New York Yankees and even the Los Angeles Lakers. In this day where pro sports leagues encourage teams to change up their style often in order to move merchandise, this show of respect by the Rams organization to their past got me to thinking, what other throwbacks should return, but FOR GOOD.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/d90/35069605/files/2014/12/img_2088.jpg

During the throwback craze of the early 2000s, this was one of the more popularly worn amongst the kids.

Atlanta Hawks. The old Pac Man logo has returned to center court and the shorts, albeit modified, but I miss the old red and gold color scheme. The NBA already has three other teams rocking some shade of red and blue, so I never understood why the Hawks made that switch in 2007-2008. At that time the New Jersey, now Brooklyn Nets were also donning their red and blue.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/d90/35069605/files/2014/12/img_2090.jpg

This 80’s Pac Man logo is back, but with modifications.

When teams go through losing periods as Atlanta did at the turn of the century, they quickly try to distance themselves from the stench of losing by doing something drastic with the uniforms, but what they fail to realize is they also tend to cut out the part of the past that was memorable, like the Dominique Wilkins and Spud Webb led teams of the 80s and early 90s.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/d90/35069605/files/2014/12/img_2092.jpg

Brady and the Pats rocked the throwbacks to celebrate their days in the AFL.

New England Patriots. Those AFL jerseys they’ve sported the last couple of years to celebrate the former league with the Minuteman on the side of the helmet hiking the ball are unique. Sure the Pats have had more success with their hockey-Ish style logo and color scheme, but it’s been a while since they won it all, maybe they could use a little rebranding.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/d90/35069605/files/2014/12/img_2091.jpg

His “Airness” only donned this jersey his rookie season, making it one of the more popular amongst his and Bulls fans.

Chicago Bulls. The Bulls jerseys haven’t changed much. The color scheme has always been black and red and the diamond on the side of the shorts with the Bull logo in it is still there, but it’d be great to see the cursive Chicago return to the chest of the road uniforms. Most remember a young Michael Jordan soaring over his foes in this uniform during his 1984-85 rookie season, then they disappeared except the occasional NBA Hardwood Classic nights the league puts on to sell more merchandise. The NBA is king of using new uniforms to drain the wallets of their fans. Example: Christmas Day sleeved jerseys and this upcoming Christmas edition with the first names on the lower back.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/d90/35069605/files/2014/12/img_2093.jpg

It doesn’t get more Miami than this teal, the new orange dominant color scheme is too much.

Miami Marlins. The uniforms they’ve been wearing since 2012 when they moved into their new stadium, Marlins Park are as ugly as the turnout to the games. Only one team in South Florida should be able to rock out dominate orange jerseys, that’s “The U”, even if they aren’t close to resembling the dominant college football program those of us that grew up in the 1980s remember. Although many weren’t a fan of the teal, silver and black jerseys they wore as the Florida Marlins, they did win two World Series Championships wearing them.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/d90/35069605/files/2014/12/img_2094.jpg

The Bucs sported these uniforms from 1976-1995.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I know they went away from the creamsicle and Bucco Bruce logo because it was synonymous with their losing past which included the first 0-14 season in NFL history. But, these news ones they have are more atrocious. Digital clock numbers with the pewter helmets that reflect like a mirror? As Cris Carter would say “C’Mon Man!” I’m not saying they have to bring back the exact same uniforms from the 70s-mid 90s, but some reincarnation of them, especially Bucco instead of the flag with the skull would be better.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/d90/35069605/files/2014/12/img_2096.jpg

These uniforms ARE Houston.

Houston Texans. Now this is a tricky one for me, because the Texans only have had one uniform and color scheme since entering the NFL as an expansion franchise in 2000 they don’t have another option or do they? The Texans were awarded to Houston to fill the loss of the Oilers when they moved to Tennessee in 1998, and while the Titans got to keep the Oilers franchise records, they rebranded the team with new uniforms and different color way.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/d90/35069605/files/2014/12/img_2097.jpg

The powder blue uniforms are as legendary in Houston as their former Hall of Fame QB, Warren Moon.

The Texans should take the baby blue, white and red colors and rebrand themselves in an attempt to reconnect to the city’s more successful pro football past, while moving away from the perennial struggle they’ve had while wearing their navy blue, battle red combination. Just look at the buzz—pun intended!—Charlotte has had bringing back the Hornets.

What are some other classic uniform designs or team color ways you think should return?