Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Alstott, Williams Selected for Ring of Honor

For the first time since its inception, the Buccaneers Ring of Honor will welcome two new members in 2015, as all-time fan favorites Mike Alstott and Doug Williams will be inducted in separate ceremonies.

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Two eras, one mindset. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Ring of Honor at Raymond James Stadium is about to get a double dose of grit.

For the first time since the inception of the Ring of Honor in 2009, it will be welcoming two new inductees in the same season. This year, the franchise will honor former quarterback Doug Williams and former fullback Mike Alstott, two players who unite Buccaneer fans of all ages with memories of what they were on the field: hard-nosed, team-oriented and – ultimately – extremely successful.

Williams and Alstott join previous inductees Lee Roy Selmon (2009), John McKay (2010), Jimmie Giles (2011), Paul Gruber (2012), Warren Sapp (2013) and Derrick Brooks (2014) in the Ring. They are the first quarterback and running back, respectively, to gain membership in that exclusive group. Their names and jersey numbers – 40 for Alstott, 12 for Williams – will be added to the Raymond James Stadium façade in a pair of home-game ceremonies this fall.

Alstott will see his name unveiled first during the Buccaneers' October 4 game against the Carolina Panthers. Then, on December 6, Williams will have his day as Tampa Bay takes on the Atlanta Falcons. Both games kick off at 1:00 p.m. ET.

The best photos of fullback Mike Alstott.

There's a neat bit of symmetry to Alstott being inducted during the Buccaneers' 40th season, since he made that jersey number famous. However, any year of induction would have been appropriate for both players. Alstott retired from the team and the NFL in January of 2008 but remains an extraordinarily popular figure in the Bay area. Williams' last game as a Buccaneer was played in 1982 but he later returned to the team's front office for seven more years as a personnel executive (2004-08) and coordinator of pro scouting (2009-10).

"This 40th anniversary season seemed like the ideal opportunity to celebrate two of the greatest Buccaneers in our team's rich history," said Buccaneers Co-Chairman Bryan Glazer. "Doug Williams and Mike Alstott epitomize what it means to be a Buccaneer. They were winners on the field, but they left a lasting mark on our community and with our fan base long after their playing days were over."

Williams and Alstott inserted their names throughout the Buccaneers' record book, but their most important shared statistic was in the "wins" column. Both players joined the team at a time when it was starved for success on the field, and both were instrumental in almost immediate turnarounds for the franchise.

The best photos of quarterback Doug Williams.

In Williams' case, he arrived as the first attempt by a very young franchise to find a long-term solution at the quarterback position. After compiling a 2-26 record during its first two years of existence – in an era that was unkind to expansion teams – Tampa Bay selected Williams out of Grambling State with the 17th overall pick. He was an immediate starter as a rookie but limited to 10 games due to injuries. Williams would then start every game over the next four seasons and lead the Buccaneers to its first three playoff appearances. In 1979, with Williams at the helm of the offense, Tampa Bay would shock the league by not only winning the NFC Central title but advancing to the NFC Championship Game.

Williams departed after the 1982 season, moving first to the USFL and then back to the NFL with the Washington Redskins, with whom he won a Super Bowl and Super Bowl MVP honors. The Buccaneers would not reach the playoffs again for a decade and a half, after the team had been purchased by Malcolm Glazer.

Tampa Bay's 14th consecutive losing season following the Doug Williams era was 1996. That was also the year that Alstott arrived as a second-round draft pick. Under first-year Head Coach Tony Dungy, the Buccaneers won five of their last seven games, with Alstott emerging as the team's leading pass-catcher and an unstoppable goal-line threat as a rookie. Just like Williams' 1979 squad, the 1997 Buccaneers surprised the league with a season-opening five-game winning streak en route to a Wild Card berth in the playoffs.

The Buccaneers would go on to make the playoffs in five of Alstott's first seven NFL seasons, including another trip to the NFC Championship Game in 1999. While that season mirrored 1979 by falling one game shy of the Super Bowl, the Buccaneers would reach the pinnacle of the game three years later in Super Bowl XXXVII. Alstott, the team's touchdown leader in 2002 (as he was in six of his first seven campaigns), capped the franchise's finest season with the Buccaneers' first touchdown in a 48-21 Super Bowl rout of the Oakland Raiders.

Of course, those aforementioned records for Williams and Alstott are impressive, as well.

The fourth-leading passer in franchise history with 12,648 yards, Williams still holds the team's single-game high with a 486-yard outing against Minnesota on Nov. 16, 1980. His 499 combined passing and rushing yards in that contest also remain a franchise record. In both 1980 and 1981, in an NFL era in which the running game was much more prevalent, Williams compiled four 300-yard passing games, a single-season mark that has yet to be topped by a Buccaneer passer.

While Williams didn't play in the more pass-happy current era, he compared very favorably to his NFL peers during the four-year stretch from 1979-1982. During that span, Williams ranked seventh in the NFL in passing yards (11,369), 10th in touchdown passes (66) and seventh in lowest-interception rate (3.8 percent). He also topped all quarterbacks during that period with 856 rushing yards and tied for the most rushing touchdowns with 12.

Williams would go on to play six more professional seasons, the highlight of which was Super Bowl XXII, in which his Redskins defeated the Denver Broncos, 42-10. Williams was selected as the game MVP after throwing for 340 yards and four touchdowns. Notably, he was the first black quarterback to start in and win a Super Bowl. Between the end of his playing days and his return to the Buccaneers' front office, Williams had two stints as the head coach at his alma mater, leading Grambling State to four conference championships.

As for Alstott, his nose for the end zone was legendary. His 71 career touchdowns are by far the most in franchise history, 25 more than James Wilder's second-place total of 46. Alstott, who ranks third in team history with 432 points scored, is the only non-kicker in the top seven of that list. He was a threat to score on the ground and through the air, with 58 rushing touchdowns and 13 receiving scores, but it was his not-to-be-denied goal-line carries that truly made him an all-time fan favorite in the Bay area.

Though Alstott would eventually produce enough such plays to fill up a highlight reel, he set the tone for what was to come in just his second season with an amazing "one-yard" touchdown run against the Minnesota Vikings. Buc fans from that era can still vividly replay that highlight in their minds as Alstott first tries to dive over the middle, then lands on his feet after being denied and darting off to his left. Met by a pair of would-be tacklers, Alstott stays on his feet but ends up turned around with his back to the goal-line. Not even that stopped him, as he simply powered in backwards, pushing yet another Vikings defender into the end zone with him.

Alstott also ranks second in Buccaneer annals in both rushing yards (5,088) yards from scrimmage (7,372), and stands fourth in receptions (305). His six Pro Bowls are the most ever for a Buccaneer offensive player, and tied for third-most among all former Tampa Bay players, and he was an Associated Press All-Pro selection four times, including three first-team selections.

Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Doug Williams and FB Mike Alstott were announced as the newest inductees into the Buccaneers Ring of Honor.

Despite separate neck injuries that cost Alstott most of his 2003 season and all of 2007, the bruising back still managed to play in 158 games, the seventh-most in team history. His 10 playoff appearances are also tied for second in team annals, behind only fellow Ring of Honor member Derrick Brooks. He took part in five of the six postseason victories in franchise history and is the team's all-time leader in playoff rushing yards (341) and total touchdowns (seven). In fact, no other Buccaneer has more than two postseason TDs; Alstott recorded twice that during the Bucs' three-game run to the title in 2002.

It's more than memories of his great plays that have made Alstott one of the most beloved figures in Buccaneer history. In retirement, he and his wife, Nicole, settled in the Tampa Bay community and formed the Mike Alstott Family Foundation. The foundation's mission is to uplift the minds, hearts and spirits of families and children on their way to realizing their full potential through various events, assistance programs and celebrations. Mike is also the head football coach at Northside Christian School in St. Petersburg.

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