George Washington, of course, was the first President of the United States, serving in that post for eight years, beginning in 1789.
Mike Washington was the first left cornerback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, starting the first game of the new franchise's inaugural season in 1976 – also, coincidentally, the nation's bicentennial – and remaining at that post for nine years.
On Monday, the U.S. celebrates Presidents' Day, which recognizes Washington's birthday (George, not Mike) but also honors Abraham Lincoln (also born in February) and all the men who have occupied that office over more than two centuries.
Mike Washington is one of the best players in franchise history and he also happens to bear a very appropriate surname for Monday's national holiday. And he's not the only one. Linebacker Chris Washington started his Buccaneer career the same year Mike Washington was wrapping his up and proved to be a very productive defender for Tampa Bay for five seasons. Center/guard Todd Washington provided valuable depth for the Bucs for five seasons and started two games for the 2002 Super Bowl team before signing with the Houston Texans in 2003.
That trio of Washingtons got us to thinking: What would an All-Presidential Buccaneers Team look like. That is, could you populate a starting lineup on offense and defense, plus a few key special-teamers, using only former Buccaneers who shared names with a U.S. President? And, if so, how good would that team be?
The answer are, yes you certainly can field an All-Presidential Buccaneers Team, and it would be…kind of decent. There are some glaring weak spots in the starting lineup, but this team will be able to throw the ball and defend the pass well. Whether or not our quarterback will have time to throw is another question.
Since this is just for fun, we were a little loose with the rules. For instance, one of our picks (Phillip Buchanon) isn't spelled exactly right. We also picked a couple players based on their first names, as you'll see, and one of those wasn't an exact spelling match. So we stretched it a little bit; what are you going to do, impeach us?
Without further do, we hereby swear in the All-Presidential Buccaneers Team:
- The Bucs have had more Johnsons at QB than the nation has had in the Oval Office, and probably have fonder memories of Brad than the U.S. does of Andrew or Lyndon. If Brad is unavailable, Rob could step in as Lyndon did for the country in 1963. And if we need somebody to run for office, running was always a strong suit for Josh.
- The offensive backfield is light. If we had pushed the rules a little bit more and used presidential first names as player last names, we could have had Doug Martin Van Buren or Mike James Madison, but we felt that was a stretch. Louis Carter is the 17th-leading rusher in team history and at one point in 1978 and 1979 he was the team's career leader. Robert Wilson got drafted in the third round in 1991, started the whole year at fullback, even put up some decent stat (179 rushing yards, 20 catches)…and then got cut before the 1992 season.
Photos from Robert Ayers' 2016 campaign.
- Andrew Jackson, the seventh President, appears on the $20 bill, and the Buccaneers have rarely spent their Jacksons in free agency as well as they did when they signed Vincent Jackson in 2012. The Bucs got Keyshawn Johnson in a trade and he helped them win a Super Bowl. Gerald Carter and Charles Wilson round out the receiving corps nicely.
- Zachary Taylor was a renowned war hero, which is why he won the presidency in 1849, but he lasted only 16 months before dying of a sudden intestinal ailment. So, he's not a particularly apropos namesake for tackle Rob Taylor, who was undrafted out of Northwestern and hardly known at all (despite a stint in the USFL) when he came to Bucs headquarters asking for a tryout. Also unlike Zachary in the White House, Rob called One Buccaneer Place home for a long time, starting 91 games over eight years. Steve Wilson was also a long-timer for the Bucs, starting 104 games over 10 years. In fact, he was the last player from the inaugural 1976 team to finish his Buc career, playing through 1985.
- It's good that Taylor and Wilson can bring experience to the rest of the line because it was nearly impossible to fill out the rest of that unit, in presidential terms. If you say "Washington and the two Adams" in regards to the presidency, you're talking about 16 of the first 40 years in the White House. If you say "Washington and the two Adams" in regards to the Bucs, you're talking about five combined starts. We could possibly add Noah Jackson, Blanchard Carter and Brandon Carter, all of whom played a little O-Line for the Bucs but combined for just three starts. Similarly, our only two tight end choices are Kyle Adams and Todd Harrison. Don't remember them? Exactly. Kyle played a little bit more than Todd.
- The defensive line was a bit tough to fill out as well, which is why we used the first-name gambit to grab (Bill) Clinton McDonald and (Ronald) Re(a)gan Upshaw. Kevin Carter anchors that group and play inside or outside, but Bernard Wilson, who played in 14 games with two starts from 1993-94, is an admittedly shaky pick. That's why we're also calling in defensive ends George Johnson and Tyoka Jackson; with those two around, we can use Carter more often in the middle.
Photos from Mike Evans' 2016 campaign.
- Like his namesake, 19th President Rutherford B., linebacker Geno Hayes was a relative short-timer who managed to make a significant impact. Rutherford stuck to a pledge to only serve one term but worked hard on such issues as government corruption, racial inequality and prison reform. Geno only started three seasons for the Buccaneers but was a playmaker, with four interceptions, seven sacks and four forced fumbles.
- As mentioned at the top, Mike Washington is a great choice to start this Presidential team, and he'd have some pretty good cornerback depth around him. Yes, we had to ignore that errant "o" at the end of Phillip Buchanon's name, but it was worth it to get this two-year starter who picked off five passes in 2007-08. Buchanon isn't the most memorable of Bucs but he was a starter on a playoff team, which would probably get him ranked higher than James among the presidents. Buchanan is usually near the bottom of any ranked list of U.S. Presidents. However, in a somewhat similar fashion, James Buchanan was succeeded in the White House by the great Abraham Lincoln and Phillip Buchanon was succeeded in the Bucs' starting lineup by first-round pick Aqib Talib, who has been to four Pro Bowls (alas, all since leaving Tampa). Leonard Johnson, Carl Carter and Blue Adams give us some usable cornerback depth.
- We've got an all-Jackson safety position, although Marty Carter could step in for Tanard and Dexter and do just fine. Carter, like his presidential namesake Jimmy Carter, just happens to hail from Georgia.