Mike Alstott ranks first all-time in team history in touchdowns and second in rushing yards
In one respect, ranking a list of running backs is easier than, say, doing the same for a group of offensive tackles. The statistic tables tend to do part of the job for us with the backs, while the tackles have few stats to consider beyond games played and starts.
But, when it comes to choosing the two running backs for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers All-Time Team, the stats generate almost as many questions as they answer. What do you want in your backfield, the back who scores the most touchdowns or the one who racks up the most rushing yards? Do you favor the pass-catching studs, or the ones with the highest per-carry average? Do you give more credit to the runner who had a couple big seasons but flamed out early, or to the man who ground out a long and productive career?
When it comes to the list of great backs in Buc history, you have all of that to choose from, and more. That is particularly true because, for the sake of this team, we are going to eliminate the fullback position and select two running backs of any type. Considering that Mike Alstott plays fullback and James Wilder spent the early years of his career in that role, the position has a good shot at representation, anyway.
The Buccaneers have put impact backs on the field almost from day one. After a committee approach in the inaugural season of 1976, Tampa Bay spent the first overall pick of the 1977 draft on USC's Ricky Bell, who became a key figure in the team's rapid rise to prominence. Wilder took the reins for much of the '80s, Gary Anderson helped the team into the '90s and Reggie Cobb and Errict Rhett paved the way for the Alstott-Warrick Dunn combo.
Below you will find brief accounts of those players and several others, all nominated for inclusion on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers All-Time Team. Please review their qualifications and vote for two running backs in the poll to the right. Your votes will determine who makes the team at the position, although the results will not be announced until the entire team is revealed near the beginning of the 2004 season.
This is ninth installment of our ongoing effort to determine the Greatest Buccaneers at every position. Already you've selected two cornerbacks, two defensive ends, two outside linebackers, two safeties, two offensive tackles, one center, one tight end and one punter. To review the positions discussed so far, visit the All-Time Tampa Bay Buccaneers Team home page.
All-Time Tampa Bay Buccaneers Team: Nominated Running Backs
The nominations are presented in alphabetical order. Only a player's accomplishments with the Buccaneers are considered.