Tom Tupa produced the best single-season gross punting average in team history last year
So far, the All-Time Tampa Bay Buccaneers Team offense has its center and tight end (full-team results will be announced in the summer). With nine franchise all-stars still to be added to that unit, the Greatest Bucs should have a formidable offense.
But even the best offenses are forced to give the ball up from time to time. Acknowledging that not every drive by the All-Time Bucs team will find the end zone, we now go about the process of choosing the best punter in franchise history.
The job of an NFL punter is pretty one-dimensional – use your leg to give your team as much field position as possible – but there are several ways to go about it. Look around the NFL today: You have hang-em high guys, you have drive-em deep guys and you have drop-it-in-the-corner guys. The best punters, of course, can do it all. That's what we're seeking.
Another verity of punting in the NFL is that it is quite often a transient job. The Bucs, who signed former Green Bay Packer Josh Bidwell in March, will go into the 2004 season with a new punter for the ninth time in the last 17 years. Basically, since the late '80s, Tampa Bay punters have held the job for two years before giving way to the next man. And that's common around the NFL. Virtually every one of the punters to kick for Tampa Bay from 1988-2003 played for at least two other NFL teams.
That said, the Bucs still have a rich history of strong punting performances, from the chronically-overworked Dave Green in 1976-78 to the well-traveled and successful Tom Tupa the last two seasons.
Below, we have nominated eight of those punters for your consideration. Please review their accomplishments as Buccaneers and then cast your vote in the poll on the right. You will be voting for just one punter and the top vote-getter will be added to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers All-Time Team.
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 as the 2004 season gets underway this summer.
All-Time Tampa Bay Buccaneers Team: Nominated Punters
The nominations are presented in alphabetical order. Only a players' accomplishments with the Buccaneers are considered.