Tony Mayberry earned three Pro Bowl nods, the most by an offensive lineman in franchise history
Last week, Buccaneer fans selected the cornerbacks for the All-Time Tampa Bay Buccaneers Team, casting tens of thousands of votes on Buccaneers.com. Site visitors had 10 players from which to make their selections at cornerback.
Now we move on to the position of center, the anchor of our team's all-important offensive line. And we need to tell you this up-front: There will not be 10 choices this time.
No, we're not devaluing a few worthy candidates or trying to funnel the voting to our personal favorites. The simple fact is, the Bucs have really only had four long-time starting centers in franchise history. It has been a position of remarkable stability, and you can define it with one four-word chain: Wilson-Grimes-Mayberry-Christy.
Dan Ryczek started 21 of the Bucs' first 24 games at center (and for that earns a spot on our list). Starting with the 11th game of 1977, however, Steve Wilson, Randy (Bubba) Grimes, Tony Mayberry and Jeff Christy combined to start all but seven of the team's next last 396 regular season games at center. John Wade, a 2003 free agent signee, started all 16 games last year, his one season so far in Tampa (and thus earns the sixth and final spot in our voting).
In all, that quartet has accounted for roughly 90% of the 436 all-time starts at center for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. On a team that had many years of rapid turnover in the 1980s and '90s, that is rather remarkable continuity.
Below, you will find a short writeup on each of the six players nominated for the center position on the Buccaneers All-Time Team. Review their accomplishments and then cast your vote in the poll on the right. Unlike with the cornerbacks, you will be choosing just one player this time, as we need only one center for our starting unit.
Your vote will be tabulated with the rest, and the results will be stored for future release. Once you've had a chance to vote at each position over the coming weeks, the entire team of the Greatest Bucs Ever will be unveiled prior to training camp 2004.
All-Time Tampa Bay Buccaneers Team: Nominated Centers
The nominations are presented in alphabetical order. Only a players' accomplishments with the Buccaneers are considered.