Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Answer Man, Series 2, Vol. 14

Wherein the Answer Man considers his limits and returns to his strength: Answering questions for Buccaneer fans from an insider’s perspective

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It's always good when a superhero knows his limits.

Sure, Superman can do just about anything anywhere, but Spiderman knows to stick to the big city and its skyscrapers, and you've seen all the gadgets and vehicles Batman has to use. They know their limits.

Well, the Answer Man is getting to know his limits, that's for sure.

Now, some of you may be saying that my "super powers" are debatable in the first place, but I have answered an awful lot of questions over the past nine months. And, I mean, look at my picture…I've got electricity coming out of my head! That's not normal.

But limitations – thems I got. And here, I'm realizing, is number one: I cannot entice my readers into sending e-mails on a particular topic.

Stump me with your best trivia, I say? Ah, no thanks, you respond. Include your New Year's Resolutions with your next question? That's my business, Answer Man. Those two attempts should have told me to give up the e-mail solicitation business, but instead I tried it again last week.

"Bucs fans everywhere, tell me where you are!" said the Answer Man. If you're reading this in some remote outpost, or with 17 layers of clothes on to fight the cold, let me know about it. Let's get a look at the outer reaches of the thriving Buccaneer fan base.

Well, the e-mails didn't exactly wash over me like a waterfall. They didn't even trickle in. In fact, if I have to finish the moving-water analogy, then I guess I'll have to admit it was just one little drop out of the faucet.

Yes, I got one e-mail from a far-flung Buc fan excited to share his location. Oh, I received tons of e-mails overall, as usual, but only one who took my bait. Therefore, the remainder of this introduction will be dedicated to one Jay Ehrhart of the Cayman Islands, and his question.

Jay Ehrhart of Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman asks:

Answer man! I have read your column on occasion and recently saw you are asking for Buc Fans from around the globe to stand up and be counted. Originally from the Bay area, I currently reside in the Cayman Islands with all of my tax-free money. You would be surprised how many Caymanian people are Bucs fans and travel regularly to the games. (Cayman Airways has a direct flight to Tampa) My question is do you think the team will ever return a kickoff for a touchdown. If so, is anybody on this team capable of doing it? Also, is this the least important stat in team history? By the way, who was Bobby Joe Edmonds, the man with the most kickoff return yards in one year as a Buc?

Answer Man: Well, Jay, this question is just on the border of the type I'm not supposed to answer – opinions on current players or the team's fortune. Still, you answered my shout-out – you and you alone – and so I'll give it a whirl.

Yes, I agree, it's relatively unimportant, at least over the course of a whole season. Obviously, teams can have a very successful season without ever returning a kickoff for a touchdown, as the Bucs did in 2002, for instance. However, a kickoff return touchdown can make the difference in a single game, and a single game can make the difference in a season, so they are certainly not unimportant. Would the Saints have beaten the Buccaneers last December without Aaron Stecker's touchdown return for New Orleans? I doubt it.

I think probably what you're asking me is, does the Bucs' streak of never having returned a kickoff for a touchdown get more attention than it is worth? To that I say, emphatically, yes. It can sometimes overshadow a fine kickoff return game, as the Bucs had in 2004, when they finished fourth in the NFL with a team-record 24.2-yard average. Get the ball out to the 30 on almost every kickoff, and you'll please the majority of the league's special teams coaches.

Can any of our current players break the streak? Well, of course they can. All it takes is for all the blocks to fall in just place, or for the return man to hit just the right seam at just the right time. That is what makes the Bucs' streak surprising, if not necessarily important. You would think that it would have happened by chance by now. I mean, Stecker's touchdown return was little more than a bizarre, broken play punctuated by some very good reactions…and we had Stecker on our team for several years!

Torrie Cox looked great on kickoff returns in 2004 and could be just one well-timed block away from springing the big one. The Bucs' shiny new Cadillac, Auburn back Carnell Williams, is an obvious threat to go the distance and Head Coach Jon Gruden has hinted that he could be used occasionally in the return game. We don't even know yet who all the candidates will be. Ian Smart? Earnest Graham? Larry Brackins? Derrick Lewis?

Really, Jay, this one was easy for me because the Answer Man truly believes at the beginning of every year that this is the one in which the streak will end.

Now, on to the rest of the mailbag.

**

  1. Don P. of Provo, Utah asks:

**Oh Great and Knowledgeable Answering One,

I have seen a stat called the "Intimidation Block" that is frequently credited to O-Linemen. Through my searching with the tools of mere mortals I have not been able to figure out what it means, or what qualifies a player to earn one. I know it is different from a "knockdown block" which is only sometimes recorded as an intimidation block, but is often intimidating in its own right. The term seems to be used only in the South as I previously have only seen it in reference to SEC and ACC teams such as FSU, UF, Clemson, and Tennessee, but when I saw it used in an article on buccaneers.com about possible draft pick Alex Barron, I just had to know what I was reading. Is this one of those stats that coaches keep track of, but is never really reported to fans in any uniform way? I hope you give the hard working O-Line some recognition time and answer my question. Thanks from the beautiful mountains of Utah for the many hours of reading you have given me.**

Answer Man: No, thank you, Don, for my favorite question of the week, due more to presentation than topic. I think you provide part of the answer yourself in the question, but it is still worthwhile, as you say, to give the hard-working men up front some love.

Yes, "intimidation blocks" are one of those coach-kept statistics, not to make that sound like a bad thing. Coaches compile lots of things when they go over game tape, first on their own and then again with their players in the room. Buccaneers Defensive Backs Coach Mike Tomlin, for instance, records pass break-ups that come on third downs, ending in a drive, as one of many possible impact plays. You won't see those in a stat page anywhere, but he and his players know who is making the plays.

So here's the story on intimidation blocks: it's just another phrase for "knockdown blocks." That's the consensus opinion of the Buccaneers' scouts, who see these bios and scouting reports all the time. The phrase seems a little silly to the Answer Man, but on the other hand, it's only fair that these offensive linemen get some statistics of their own. That kind of thing isn't kept on the pro level, but it is a staple of every offensive lineman's scouting report.

You mention knockdown blocks in your question, of course, and they are fairly self-explanatory. The offensive lineman blocks the defensive lineman so well that, not only does the defender not make a play, but he ends up on the ground. I remember watching highlight tapes of then-Ohio State, now-St. Louis Rams offensive tackle Orlando Pace flattening guys all over the field.

The only thing I would add to that is, when did we get rid of the great term "pancake block?" It was just another way to say knockdown block, but it had more flavor. Flattened him like a pancake. Very descriptive. Now all I see in the bios is "knockdown block," and now, "intimidation blocks." Just doesn't have the same ring. Oh, well.

**

  1. Jim Wilson of Fort Worth, Texas asks:

**Mr. One and Only Answer Man, the true authority on all that is Football,

I have enjoyed your column immensely over the past 2 years. I was pondering about player designations and would like to know the difference between "all pro" and "pro Bowler" and are the two related? In other words can one be an "all pro" with out having been selected to the "pro bowl?"**

Answer Man: Jim, if you've been enjoying my work for two years, then you are definitely my biggest fan. I've only had this gig since late last July; I guess before that you really liked the way I shined shoes here at One Buccaneer Place.

Seriously, though, thank you. And I like your question. We do toss those terms around a lot, often in ways that may make them seem interchangeable. In fact, they describe two different honors that a player may receive, and it is definitely possible to be one without the other. Since the All-Pro designation is more exclusive, it's more likely for a player to make the Pro Bowl without also being named All-Pro.

All-Pro is the designation used by the Associated Press in naming its top players at every position at the end of each season. There are only as many (first-team) All-Pros as there are positions on a team, so if you get this honor, you are truly considered the best in the business, at least by AP. If Ronde Barber, for instance, is named first-team All-Pro, that means he is considered one of the two best cornerbacks in the entire NFL. If he is named to the Pro Bowl, he is one of six men headed to the all-star game at his position.

There is also an All-Pro second team announced every year, and that is a great honor, too. However, if you see a player described as "All-Pro," that usually means he was a first-teamer. There are many other all-star lists compiled, such as All-AFC and All-NFC, but the AP All-Pro team is generally recognized as the most significant honor.

To be called a "Pro Bowler," obviously, you need to be selected for the Pro Bowl. This honor is voted on by fans, NFL coaches and the players themselves, so it is recognition of a different sort than the AP All-Pro teams, which are chosen by the media.

What is more interesting, at least to the Answer Man, is how teams and journalists refer to former all-stars in subsequent years. If player John Smith was in the Pro Bowl four years ago, do you call him "Pro Bowler John Smith" or "former Pro Bowler John Smith" or just "John Smith?" Same thing with All-Pro. Players who received those honors in a certain year are usually called "All-Pro" or "Pro Bowler" for much of the next year. After that, it is up to the writer's taste, but it is probably stretching it a bit to call a one-time Pro Bowl participant a "Pro Bowler" five years after that game.

**

  1. Donna Smith of Port Charlotte, Florida asks:

Hey Answer Man, I'm trying to find out some information on a specific game that was played sometime between '79 and '82. I was sitting about 8 rows up in one of the end zones when Lee Roy Selmon scooped up a fumble (or possibly picked off a pass) and ran it in for a score. I'll never forget the sight of big number 63 running right at me! I have however forgotten everything else about the game such as who we were playing and what the final score was (and I hope it wasn't all a dream!) Can you help me out? Thanks!

Answer Man: Of course I can help, Donna. I'm the Answer Man. It's what I do.

The game to which you refer was the 1979 season opener, 26 years ago, and I'm guessing you were, what, five or six at the time? (My momma taught me right!) So, considering, your memory is pretty good.

That was the first really magical Buccaneer season, and it started off in dominating fashion against the visiting Detroit Lions. As they would later do in 1997 to kick off another era of Buccaneer excellence, the '79 team won its first five games of the year and went on to capture its first playoff berth.

The Lions actually fumbled on the first play of the game, but this one was recovered by LB David Lewis and eventually turned into a field goal to begin the scoring. Later in the first quarter, however, Detroit fumbled again and Selmon quickly snatched up the loose ball and began running…rightatyou! He rumbled 29 yards into the end zone for his first touchdown since high school.

The Bucs went on to win the game, 31-16. It was all defense and the running game, as the Bucs rushed for 229 yards and forced three turnovers. Well, almost all. Though he completed only four passes on the day, QB Doug Williams did hook up with TE Jimmie Giles on a 66-yard touchdown, and then with TE Jim Obradovich on a two-yard score to make it 24-7 at halftime.

Hopefully that jogs your memory a bit, Donna, because that is a very good game to remember.

**

  1. Chris Bowen of Frederick, Maryland asks:

Answerman, Love the column. Please keep up the good work. I have not read anywhere that the Bucs have used the coveted "Franchise Tag' this offseason. Can we use that on a Draft Pick? And, if possible, in doing so does that shy the draft pick away from signing with the team?

Answer Man: On the face of it, that's an intriguing question, Chris. The franchise tag on a just-drafted player? That's a novel thought…but when you think about it, it's completely meaningless.

You use the franchise tag on a player for one purpose: To retain exclusive negotiating rights. You already have exclusive negotiating rights with a player you've just drafted.

Franchise tags are for unrestricted free agents. Whereas a UFA would normally be free to negotiate with any teams he so desires, one who has been tagged as a franchise player loses that option and may only deal with his current team. The flip side is that he is guaranteed a salary commensurate with the best players at his position in the league.

The franchise tag itself does not help a deal get done, however. A player can accept the one-year tender offer that comes with such a tag, but he doesn't have to. He can hold out, contractually, the same way a rookie draft pick would. (There is a type of franchise tag that allows players to negotiate with other teams.)

So, no, you can't use a franchise tag on an unsigned draft pick, but you wouldn't have any reason to do so, anyway.

By the way, draft picks have until the 10th week of their rookie seasons to sign with the team that drafted them. If they do not sign by then, that team loses any rights to sign him thereafter, and he becomes eligible for the draft again the next spring. Former Buccaneer quarterback Craig Erickson did this in 1991 and 1992. He was originally drafted by Philadelphia in the fifth round in 1991, but he never signed with the Eagles and re-entered the '92 draft, where he was grabbed by the Buccaneers in the fourth round.

**

  1. Kasi V. Sridharan of Dunedin, Florida asks:

How many Rookie Quarterbacks have so far taken their team to the Super Bowl and how many won the Super Bowl for their teams?

Answer Man: I can answer both of those questions in two words, Kasi: Zer oh!

No rookie quarterback has ever taken his team to the Super Bowl, which was one of the things that made Ben Roethlisberger's story with the Pittsburgh Steelers so compelling last year. Big Ben and the Steelers got to the AFC Championship Game but ran into that juggernaut we call the Patriots. It was a tough game for Roethlisberger, but he did advance as far as any rookie QB ever has.

Of course, a Buccaneer did it six years before that. Shaun King, who took over as Tampa Bay's starter in December of 1999 after injuries to Trent Dilfer and Eric Zeier, had a memorable run ending in the NFC Championship Game in St. Louis. Before Roethlisberger's overtime win over the Jets in the Divisional Playoff Round last January, King had been the only true NFL rookie quarterback since the 1970 merger to win his first playoff game.

Those two had something in common, as do most rookie quarterbacks who rack up a lot of wins – they were backed by very good defenses. Still, Roethlisberger did compile a 98.1 passer rating during the regular season, so it's impossible to discount his importance to that Steelers team.

**

  1. Brian Barber of Bradenton, Florida asks:

**Ok Answer Man. Here's one for you. With all this talk about Matt Jones from Arkansas being able to play WR/TE/RB/QB it got me thinking. (Yes, I know, a very dangerous thing.)

Suppose a team drafts him as their newest RB. In addition to this they also dub him their 3rd QB so they can open an additional roster spot for other needs.

So far so good but here is the interesting part. If he lines up as RB with the team's 1st QB lined up as QB could the team do a direct snap to the RB without removing the 1st and 2nd QBs until the 4th quarter?**

Answer Man: I'm sure the Jacksonville coaches are going to be thinking of some very creative ways to use Matt Jones, but your scenario won't work, Brian.

A team has to declare eight game-day inactives each week (assuming it has a full 53-man roster; you simply have to deactivate enough players to get down to 45 on game day), of which one can be a designated third quarterback. You don't have to make one of your eight inactives the third quarterback, but most teams do most weeks.

Here's the thing: That designated third quarterback can't enter the game in any way before the fourth quarter without making the other two quarterbacks ineligible. You can't say that he's a receiver and put him in the game and still maintain him as one of your eight inactive players.

That seems to be the distinction you're making. You put him on the field at running back, fine. You snap him the ball, and now all of a sudden he's a quarterback. That's an interesting scenario, but by that point, it's moot. Once he's in the game in any capacity, he's gone from inactive to active, and thereby made the first two quarterbacks inactive.

Besides, if you use your third-quarterback designation on Jones, then what do you do with your actual third quarterback? Either he remains active and forces another player to the inactive list, or he's one of the other seven inactives, and he does not have the option of entering the game, period.

**

  1. Tyler Cluthe of Peapack, New Jersey asks:

You recently answered a question about a PAT being faked and run in for a two-point conversion, mentioning Tim Seder did that for touchdowns. Wasn't the first ever NFL two-point conversion a snap to holder Tom Tupa, who then ran up the middle for the two-points??? I think I'm remembering this right, although I'm not sure who Tupa was playing for at the time.

Answer Man: It's a good thing the rest of my readers don't know your e-mail address, Tyler, or I might soon be out of a job.

You are 100 percent right on the money. Tupa, who was the Buccaneers' punter in 2002 and 2003, was indeed the first player to score a regular-season two-point conversion after the rules were changed in 1994. A Cleveland Brown at the time, he was the team's holder for placekicks and he scored in the first game of the '94 season, at Cincinnati. Tupa simply took the snap and ran it in for two.

Amazingly, the Browns pulled the same stunt two more times in 1994, earning Tom the nickname "Two-Point Tupa" (I am not making this up). What a crazy and rewarding career that guy has had. He first came into the league as both a punter and a quarterback in 1988, and was even the Arizona Cardinals' starter at QB for the first 11 games of the 1991 season. Later, after not punting once from 1990-93, Tupa took over the punting job for the Browns in 1994 and immediately put together two strong years in that role (in addition to earning a new nickname).

In 1996, he jumped to the New England Patriots and quickly found himself in the Super Bowl, as the Pats went from 6-10 the year before to 11-5 in '96. New England lost that Super Bowl, but Tupa would get another chance – and a championship ring – in his first year with the Buccaneers in 2002. He didn't bring the same first-year magic with him to Washington last year, but he still had a very fine season, averaging 44.1 yards on 103 punts and hitting 30 inside the 20 against only eight touchbacks.

Anyway, back to your e-mail, Tyler. You nailed it with the Tupa factoid and, in my opinion, greatly improved the answer I gave to the issue last week. Thanks!

**

  1. Richard Humphrey of Tampa Bay, Florida asks:

My question to you is about a rule for punts and special teams. I know you have been through this a lot already, but I've haven't seen any answer to this question. Let's say a punt is blocked and the ball lands behind the line of scrimmage, is it possible for the punter to recover the ball and attempt a re-punt? Also if the kicker attempts a field goal and it is blocked can he pick up the ball and punt it, to put their opponent further in their own territory?

Answer Man: Seriously, I think we've covered every bizarre punt and placekick scenario short of a UFO abduction at the exact moment of the snap. Still, we get yet another twist on it from Richard, here.

Okay, let's take this one at a time. Yes, if a punt is blocked, the punter can pick it up and kick it again, provided the ball didn't cross the line of scrimmage. Here is that exact scenario described in the NFL's Official Casebook, a companion piece to the Rulebook that I've referred to from time to time. This is A.R. 9.54:

Fourth-and-5 on A30. B1 blocks the punt, and the ball rolls to the A16. A2 picks it up there and punts it again. The ball goes out of bounds at the B40. Ruling: B's ball first-and-10 on B40. Legal punt from behind the line. (9-1-1)

The (9-1-1) part is just a reference to the Scrimmage Kick section of the Rulebook, which covers punt, field goals and dropkicks (please, let's not get into those again).

So, the first part of your answer is easy. The field goal stuff is a little trickier, though the basic rule is still the same. If a scrimmage kick (which, again, covers punts and field goals) is blocked at the line and goes back into the kickers' territory, it is live and can be recovered and advanced by either team. It is still fourth down, however, so the kicking team would have to get the necessary yardage for a first down in order to retain possession.

It's a totally different situation, but the kicking team can also recover and get a first down if the ball is touched by the receiving team beyond the neutral zone…in other words, not a blocked kick but just a touching of the ball after it has crossed the line. If the receiving team touches the ball and then the kicking team recovers (see Lett, Leon), it's considered two changes of possession and thus is a first down for the kicking team.

But back to your question. The kicking team has recovered the ball and may advance it. Can they punt it? Well, that's why I said it was trickier. There's no mention of this exact scenario in the Rulebook or the Casebook (and believe me, I just scoured those books enough times to make my eyes bleed). Still, it is the kicking team's ball to advance, so presumably they could punt it, too. After all, had the team lined up in field goal formation but then snapped it directly to the kicker for a punt, that would be legal. That is, in fact, a fairly common strategy. Therefore, the Answer Man assumes you could punt after recovering a blocked field goal behind the line of scrimmage.

To be clear, one thing you cannot do in this situation is to kick the loose ball directly off the ground. That scenario is specifically covered in the Rulebook, and it is illegal. Not only would the blocking team get possession, but they would gain 10 more yards as a penalty is enforced on the player who kicked the ball.

**

  1. Chris Stewart of St. Paul Minnesota asks:

Dear knower of all thing pig skinned, I have been huge fan of the Buccaneers since the peach and white days and of Tampa Bay itself being born there and lived there most of my life. I am thrilled to know that the 2009 Superbowl might be held in Tampa. My question for you is what goes into picking a city for the SuperBowl? I know that Miami, Atlanta, and Houston (I think) all are competing for the 09 SuperBowl (which the Bucks will surely be defending their title in) but what does Tampa have to offer to secure the spot. NO1BUCKFAN (and yes it's still cold up here)

Answer Man: Two quick spelling notes, Chris, as you've got the Answer Man's hackles up. One: Super Bowl is always two words. And two: The shortened version of Buccaneers is Bucs. The Bucks play basketball in Milwaukee.

Not trying to pick on you, Chris. I'm guessing your fingers were just too cold to type accurately.

Tampa is indeed in the running to host Super Bowl XLIII in 2009, with the other candidates vying for the honor being Atlanta, Miami and Houston.

Any community that is trying to get the Super Bowl forms a "Task Force" or some similarly-named committee. That committee works with local organizations – such as, in our case, the Tampa Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Tampa Sports Authority – to submit a bid that meets all of the NFL specifications. Each city in the running will try to play up its advantages, and typically warm weather has been an important one. While the next Super Bowl will be held in Detroit, the majority have been staged in such sunny locales as Tampa, Miami, New Orleans and various places in California.

To put it plainly, the goal of the Task Force is to make the most convincing presentation to the NFL's team owners, who will collectively make the decision on where each Super Bowl is played. This year, the bid packages were due on May 2 and the decision will be made by the owners during meetings in Washington on May 24 and 25. So we'll know soon.

Tampa has a lot to offer and some consider it to be in a tight race with Atlanta for the final vote. Miami and Houston are attractive spots, but Houston hosted Super Bowl XXXVIII just over a year ago and Miami has already won the bid for Super Bowl XLI in 2007. Tampa last had the Super Bowl in 2001, a year after it was most recently in Atlanta.

The Bay area obviously has wonderful weather to offer, as well as an endless number of activities for visitors. It's an attractive vacation destination any year, so owners can feel confident that tourists will want to come here during Super Bowl week. And it has proved to be a great location on three other occasions, so that's another plus.

Anyway, we'll find out in just a few weeks, probably about the time you thaw out, Chris.

**

  1. Alan Z. of Riverview, Florida asks:

Why are receivers allowed to wear numbers in the teens all of a sudden? I thought that the NFL mandated that they wear a number between 80 and 89. IE Randy Moss #18, Plaxico Burress #17, Keyshawn Johnson #19 and all of the rookies last year wearing the number #11.

Answer Man: That was kind of jarring seeing all those guys run around in number 11 last year, wasn't it? Just a few years ago, the Bucs had to get special permission just to let Keyshawn keep wearing #19 when he came to Tampa.

Well, Alan, the NFL changed the rule just last year. Previously, receivers had to wear numbers in the 80-89 range, as you say. If your team had no 80 numbers available – say, for instance, you had an 80 number retired and two other guys wearing 80 numbers on injured reserve – then you could give out a number in the teens to a receiver. That's how Keyshawn got his 19 in the first place.

Those kind of problems became more and more frequent in recent years. Teams were commonly running out of 80 numbers. Think about it, if you have six receivers and three tight ends on your team (tight ends can wear numbers in the 40s, but rarely do), that's already nine of the 10 remaining numbers. If you then have two of those nine land on injured reserve and you sign two new players during the season, what do you do with the second new player? He has to go to the teens. Since it was a problem teams were running into with some frequency, the NFL simply made it legal in all cases.

Now a receiver can have a number in the teens even if there is an 80 number available. I think you're seeing a lot of that right away because it's kind of a novelty, a way to stand out. Also, it gives the young receivers a better chance of matching their college numbers.

You still cannot wear a single-digit number as a receiver without special permission from the league, and the league is not high on giving that permission. During the preseason, of course, you basically have to put receivers in all kinds of single-digit and teen numbers, with the assumption that you'll move them to legal numbers if they make the team.

**

  1. Russell of Panama City Beach, Florida:

Hello A-Man, I'm a Florida State student and was wondering how many FSU alumni play or played for the Buccaneers? Who do you think were the most influential for the Bucs?

Answer Man: Come on, Russ, surely you know the answer to that second question. The most influential 'Noles-turned-Bucs? Does 2002 NFL Defensive Player of the Year mean anything to you? How about starting Super Bowl quarterback? Do you remember a fast little running back who was the electric half of "Thunder and Lightning?"

Do you recall a certain defensive back lifting the Super Bowl MVP trophy over his head?

Here, I'll give you the full list, and you see if you can pick out the "influential guys." Below are all 28 Florida State products who have appeared on the Bucs' regular-season roster at some point.

CB Clifton AbrahamRB Greg AllenWR Terry Anthony
RB Leon BrightLB Derrick BrooksK Bill Capece
LB Bert CooperWR Lawrence DawseyRB Warrick Dunn
CB Mario EdwardsDT Eric HayesQB Gary Huff
LB Charles HuntS Dexter JacksonQB Brad Johnson
DE Greg JohnsonCB Martin MayhewDE Toddrick McIntosh
WR Marvin MinnisDT Gerald NicholsWR Mike Shumann
WR Barry SmithS Shevin SmithLB Jesse Solomon
DE Greg SpiresG Pat TomberlinQB Casey Weldon
DE Reinard Wilson

Okay, so who would you say are the most influential?

I'll help. You can eliminate Abraham, Allen, Anthony, Cooper, Hayes, Hunt, G. Johnson, Minnis, Shumann, B. Smith, Solomon, Tomberlin and Wilson as men who played less than a full season as Buccaneers. Minnis, in fact, never appeared in a game, though he was on the active roster briefly in 2003. You can also eliminate a few others who played only a little more than that group: Bright, Edwards, McIntosh, Nichols and S. Smith.

That leaves Brooks, Capece, Dawsey, Dunn, Huff, Jackson, B. Johnson, Mayhew, Spires and Weldon. Capece, Huff and Weldon had a little less of an impact than the remaining seven.

But those seven are among the most influential Bucs ever. Brooks appears to have a good shot at the Hall of Fame and can be nowhere but the top of the list. Jackson, Johnson and Spires were all starters on the same Super Bowl team as Brooks, with Jackson taking the MVP honors. Dawsey was Sports Illustrated's Rookie of the Year choice in 1991 and Mayhew was a solid starter for four years after coming over in the same free agent class that brought Hardy Nickerson. Dunn ranks third on the Bucs' all-time rushing list and was a two-time Pro Bowl selection, though he left a year too early to taste the Super Bowl with his fellow 'Noles.

In case you were wondering, yes, Florida State does boast the highest number of players on the Bucs' all-time roster. They lead Florida and USC by just one (27 each).

**

  1. Greg Donoghue of Bradenton, Florida is the 1,147th person to ask:

When will the Bucs FanFest take place this year?

Answer Man: Well, we most recently answered this question a few weeks ago in Series 2, Volume 11 but I guess it's never going to die until FanFest has passed.

The Buccaneers' immensely popular annual fan event will be held Saturday, June 4 at Raymond James Stadium. As always, it is free and open to the public, and there are outstanding opportunities to get players' autographs, hear coaches answer questions and participate in a variety of games.

**

And, finally, for comic relief, here's a string of e-mails the Answer Man received from a very appropriately-named NFL fan who is located, apparently, in Minnesota.

That's right, an opposing fan is actually taking time to heckle a fictional web site character who answers e-mails for the Buccaneers. That is very thorough heckling!

On the plus side, he offers the Answer Man a job and doesn't try to hide his own e-mail address. On the negative side, the punctuation is heavy on periods and short on, well, coherency.

I could use this opportunity to take a crack at Minnesota fans, but I think I'll just let yo-yo's work speak for itself:

yo yo of over here mn says:

bucs verses mn. answer .MN knocks the crap out of you.Final answer. you lose answer man.Get a real job.Mn is looking for a cheerleader.could be the right answer.See you in mn.

And yo-yo of dc mn says:

**answer man my email is: [deleted].com

you know im right.You have the wrong answer.**

And finally, yo-yo of dc mn asks:

By the way how many tampa bucks do you get for being stupid.

Can't wait to hear the answer to that one. As for the rest of the questions in my mailbag, they'll have to wait until next week, such as the one from Graeme in Scotland asking for various salary-cap related topics. Oh, and Mike from Philly, despite your humble protests, I actually think your question about Buccaneer references in movies is a good one. I just haven't had time to give it full treatment yet. Stay tuned!

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