The Times had a piece today about the Bucs Ring of Honor that is coming this season. The pose the question: Who should be in first? Good question, but I think there are better issues to consider. Like, "How exclusive should this thing be?", "Is it based on stats alone or intangibles?", "How many can go in at one time?", and "How long after retirement should you have to wait to be included?".
At the very least they need to avoid turning this into a Boston Celtics or New York Yankees situation where you have an overload of shitbags on the list which defeats the purpose of starting the thing to begin with. The Gators made the mistake of coming up with hard and fast rules when they started their Ring of Honor in 2006. By doing so the initial inductees were Emmitt Smith, Steve Spurrier, Danny Wuerffel, and Jack Youngblood, leaving Wilber Marshall out of the fold the the dismay of a lot of people. Not surprisingly the rules were changed and Marshall was inducted the following season. The downside of not setting hard and fast rules are obvious. The Miami Dolphins have one of these things too. I'm not as well versed in their history, so to comment on the validity of their selections (19 in total), but the number is probably about right considering they've been to the Super Bowl 5 times in 43 years.
As for the Bucs, the names that will be kicked around are John McKay, Jimmie Giles, Richard Wood, Lee Roy Selmon, Doug Williams, Ricky Bell, James Wilder, Hardy Nickerson, Paul Gruber, Tony Dungy, John Gruden, John Lynch, Warren Sapp, Derrick Brooks, Mike Alstott, , Shelton Quarles. This based on my own memory and glancing at the all time stats leaders in passing, rushing, receiving, interceptions, sacks, and tackles. That list is entirely too long.
Current players should not be included (that would remove Brooks from consideration since he hasn't officially retired just yet). Simply winning a Super Bowl should not result in automatic inclusion. I don't think Barry Switzer is making any Cowboy Hall of Fame, nor is Larry Coker being honored by the Canes. This would eliminate John Gruden. Ricky Bell didn't do enough on the field before he died. Shelton Quarles I threw on the list based on his total tackles, but he doesn't pass the smell test.
If I were in charge my list would be Selmon, Wilder, Nickerson, Gruber, and Dungy.
Selmon is in the Hall so that is an easy one. Look at James Wilder's all purpose yards. He accomplished this on the worst teams in Bucs history. If you took 1985 James Wilder and put him on the 1979 team or any of the late 90s teams, he would have gotten a lot more attention. Hardy Nickerson is important because he was statistically great but also what he represented when he showed up. He signed as a free agent in 1993, and really without him on the field, it would have been more difficult for the Sapp/Brooks/Lynch nucleus to turn into the leadership unit that guided our defense for so many years. Nickerson was the only guy on the field for a while there that wasn't OK with losing, and plus he was an absolute beast. Paul Gruber kind of goes without saying as does Dungy.
So what about Doug Williams, John Lynch, Warren Sapp, and Mike Alstott? I think a waiting period should be in order for Lynch, Sapp, and Alstott. As for Doug Williams, maybe Trey can speak more to this, but on paper he doesn't appear to have been good enough. He quarterbacked very average offensive teams. The defense carried those late 70s early 80s Bucs teams. I think Doug Williams got a lot of run in Tampa for a long time because the franchise was lacking star quality in it's roots until the 90's and 00's teams came along. If the Bucs had logged 20 years of great teams prior to Doug Williams playing for the Bucs, I doubt he would have gotten the recognition he received.
Thoughts from you guys?