Hmmm...could this picture be a hint?
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will pay tribute to former FB Mike Alstott, one of the franchise's all-time greats, on Sunday during the team's prime-time game against the Seattle Seahawks.
That's good news for you, because you're a huge Mike Alstott fan, right? You think you remember every big run and know everything there is to know about the Pro Bowl fullback's career, yes?
Well, let's see. Below you'll find a 20-question quiz about the great #40 and his 12 seasons as a Buccaneer. Get at least 15 right and we'll agree that you're on-board the A-Train of information. Without further ado:
1. Alstott had seven 100-yard rushing games during his career, against five different teams. Against which two teams did he TWICE break the century mark?
2. Which former Buccaneer linebacker was one of the last Vikings that Alstott ran over during his memorable third-effort touchdown run in the Metrodome in 1997?
3. The first touchdown of Alstott's end zone-happy career was actually a reception, a 12-yard catch against the Vikings in the sixth game of his rookie season. Against what team that season did Alstott record his first rushing touchdown?
4. In what year was Alstott awarded the Ed Block Courage Award after a vote by his teammates. The award is given out each year to the one player on the team who best exemplifies commitment to the principles of sportsmanship and courage.
5. Mike Alstott was named an Associated Press first-team All-Pro following the 1997, 1998 and 1999 seasons. How many other offensive players in Buccaneers history have earned a first-team AP All-Pro award?
6. Name the only two players in team history with more career receptions for the Buccaneers than Alstott's 305.
7. With 5:17 left in Super Bowl XXXVII, Mike Alstott caught a pass on third down that allowed the Bucs to run two more minutes off the clock and essentially kill Oakland's comeback hopes. How long was the third down that had to be converted and how many yards did Alstott get on the catch?
8. Alstott started at fullback in his very first regular-season NFL game, against Green Bay on September 1, 1996. Who started at running back behind him in the backfield?
9. Of the four running backs that were drafted before Alstott in 1996, how many finished their careers with more rushing yards than the 5,088 posted by the Buccaneer fullback?
10. Who was the last player to hand the ball off to Alstott in a game?
11. Alstott played in 10 postseason games during his career, including Super Bowl XXXVII. In how many of those 10 games did he score at least one touchdown?
12. Against which team did Alstott catch a career-long 44-yard touchdown pass in 2002?
13. In which season did the A-Train set career highs with 10 rushing touchdowns and 11 touchdowns overall?
14. Twice in his career, Mike Alstott set a single-game high and tied a team record by scoring three rushing touchdowns. Against which two teams did he achieve that feat?
15. When the Buccaneers unveiled their new uniforms, logos and colors on April 9, 1997, Alstott joined Trent Dilfer and Hardy Nickerson as the three players modeling the jerseys and pants at a downtown press conference. What combination of pants color and jersey color did Alstott model?
16. How long was Alstott's touchdown scamper against Detroit on December 28, 1997, a run that still ranks as the longest in Buccaneers postseason history?
17. Which of these five players was NOT in the same Buccaneers draft class as Mike Alstott: Donnie Abraham, Marcus Jones, Jason Odom or Jerry Wunsch?
18. With which MLB team did Alstott take batting practice during spring training in 2003, shortly after the Buccaneers had won Super Bowl XXXVII?
19. Who was Mike Alstott's first running backs coach with the Buccaneers?
20. How many regular-season passes did Alstott throw during his NFL career?
Scroll down to the bottom for the answers. We'll entertain you a bit in the interim with another excerpt from 40: The Mike Alstott Commemorative Book.
Chapter Five: Celebrating #40 (Retirement)
For Alstott, the months following the 2007 season were very much like those in the wake of 2006. Most observers had already mentally shipped him into retirement. His 22 carries in Week 16? "A final bit of glory," they said. That such a statement would, in the end, prove true was a matter of circumstance, not will.
Because Mike Alstott still had the will to play football. He had walked off the field after the Seattle game with Nicole on one side and his kids on the other, and he knew it might be his last game. But, once again, he wanted a few weeks to think it over, and what he discovered was that his love of the game was as strong as ever.
And so he returned for another season. At this point, his offseasons were no longer the stuff of mystery or anxiety. His role in the offense was quite well-defined and the strength of his neck had been tested without issue for two seasons. The arrival of free agent quarterback Jeff Garcia and first-round draft pick Gaines Adams were much hotter topics.
So it was an unwelcome surprise when that neck injury suddenly resurfaced early in training camp. After about a week of practices, Alstott's body had gone through the usual early-camp arc of soreness and recovery, except his neck remained sore. He was sent back to Pittsburgh to see the same specialist, and it was determined that there were unacceptable stress levels on his neck above the spot where the two vertebrae had been fused in 2003. Doctors called the soreness a "blessing in disguise," because it allowed them to address the situation before it became another injury like the one in '03.
On August 9, one day before the Bucs would open their 2007 preseason against New England, Bruce Allen and Mike Alstott convened a press conference. Allen knew it was not going to be an easy one for the stalwart fullback.
"I think it's important that you listen to what Mike has to say and understand that it's quite emotional mainly because the man loves football, period," said Allen as an introduction.
And, indeed, Alstott had to stop several times during the question and answer session to compose himself. The issue of retirement was sidestepped, but this time there were some pretty strong indications that long-term health concerns would win out this time. He was placed on injured reserve but he vowed to still contribute to the team during the season.
"[I] grew up in the organization, and we're going to turn this thing around together and win another Super Bowl, even if I can't put on a helmet this year," he said. "The thing is they need me. I need them. And it's just an emotional time right now."
The Bucs would storm to another division title in 2007, though another unfortunately quick playoff exit followed. Alstott remained a presence within the walls of One Buc and on the game-day sidelines, offering the younger backs the benefit of his experience. Though he didn't step on the field, he was an important part of yet another successful Buccaneer season.
- Minnesota and New Orleans 2. Jeff Brady 3. Arizona, the very next week 4. 2004, after his return from his first neck injury 5. None 6. James Wilder (430) and Mark Carrier (321) 7. Seven and nine 8. Jerry Ellison 9. One, Eddie George (10,441)…the other three were Lawrence Phillips, Tim Biakabutuka and Leeland McElroy 10. Tim Rattay 11. Six 12. New Orleans 13. 2001 14. Cincinnati (1998) and Minnesota (2001) 15. White pants, white jersey 16. 31 yards 17. Jerry Wunsch 18. Philadelphia Phillies 19. Tony Nathan 20. Two, both incompletions.