The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are officially back. The NFC South franchise managed to land former New England Patriots quarterback and future Pro Football Hall of Famer Tom Brady this offseason. However, between a few lengthy runs of less than stellar play that should come to a halt in 2020, the Buccaneers strung together some impressive seasons in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
With Tampa Bay even winning a Super Bowl along the way, the lone title in the history of the franchise, the Buccaneers have definitely put together some memorable teams despite often being associated with losing. Because Tampa Bay typically put together well-rounded teams that featured a slew of talented players, some of those players sometimes get lost in the shuffle even to this day. Although often forgotten, that doesn’t erase the long-lasting impact that the following players had on the Buccaneers organization during their time in Tampa Bay.
Dexter Jackson, DB (1999 – 2002, 2004 – 2005)
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have only won one Super Bowl title since the team’s inception all the way back in 1976-77, which means that the franchise only has one Super Bowl MVP as well. Although not a household name and a journeyman for the majority of his NFL playing career, former Buccaneers defensive back Dexter Jackson came out of absolutely nowhere to earn Super Bowl MVP honors as a result of the team’s infamous victory over the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII in 2002-03. Jackson spent a total of six seasons as a member of the Buccaneers with the Lombardi Trophy and Super Bowl MVP obviously serving as the high points of both his NFL career and Tampa Bay tenure. Jackson was crowned as Super Bowl XXXVII MVP after notably picking off two passes en route to becoming just the second safety and third defensive back to earn such an honor.
Keenan McCardell, WR (2002 – 2003)
Veteran wide receiver Keenan McCardell didn’t spent too much time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, though his legacy with the franchise will live on forever. After signing with the team prior to the start of the 2002-03 campaign, McCardell helped lead the Buccaneers to the franchise’s first and only Super Bowl title right off the bat while contributing in a big way against the Oakland Raiders. With the Buccaneers going on to defeat the Raiders by the score of 48-21 in Super Bowl XXXVII, McCardell scored not one but two touchdowns as Tampa Bay cruised to victory. McCardell was also productive for the Buccaneers in 2003-04 as he eventually became the team’s go-to wide out while reaching his second career Pro Bowl in the process. Appearing in a total of 30 regular season games for the Buccaners, McCardell recorded 670 receiving yards and six touchowns on 61 receptions as a result of his first season in Tampa Bay before going on to up the ante in his second season with the team, which resulted in 84 receptions, 1,174 receiving yards and eight more scores. That final go-round in Tampa Bay in 2003-04 would mark the final time that McCardell would produce more than 1,000 receiving yards in a single season as well.
Tim Brown, WR (2004)
One of the best wide receivers to ever play the game, former NFL wide out and Pro Football Hall of Famer Tim Brown notably spent almost his entire career playing for either the Los Angeles or Oakland Raiders. That “almost” came as a result of the 2004-05 campaign, the final year of Brown’s illustrious NFL tenure, as the Raiders legend retired after one go-round with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Spending just the one season with the Buccaneers to cap off a memorable run that lasted more than 15 years, Brown actually reached 100 career receiving touchdowns while playing against none other than the Raiders, which also served as his first game in Oakland since leaving the organization. As a member of the Buccaneers, a run that lasted 15 regular season games, Brown registered 24 receptions for an even 200 yards and the lone touchdown reception, which quite literally couldn’t have come at a better time. It is also worth noting that Brown possibly chose to sign with the Buccaneers as former Raiders head coach Jon Gruden made his way to Tampa Bay following his first stint in Oakland.
Vinny Testaverde, QB (1987 – 1992)
Despite the fact that longtime NFL quarterback Vinny Testaverde began his professional playing career as a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he is often associated with either the Baltimore Ravens or New York Jets as the majority of his success atop the highest level came as part of those two franchises. However, Testaverde broke into the league with the Buccaneers in a massive way as he was originally selected by the NFC franchise with the No. 1 overall pick in the 1987 NFL Draft out of Miami. Going on to spend the first six seasons of his NFL tenure with the Buccaneers, Testaverde struggled mightily during his time in Tampa Bay before ultimately going on to find success elsewhere. After becoming known for throwing a ridiculous amount of interceptions for the Buccaners, Testaverde did manage to reach a pair of Pro Bowls as a NFL signal caller before all was said and done.
Carnell “Cadillac” Williams, RB (2005 – 2010)
Originally selected by the franchise with the No. 5 overall pick in the first round of the 2005 NFL Draft out of Auburn, running back Carnell Williams — better known as “Cadillac” went on to spend the majority of his relatively brief professional playing career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Only lasting seven seasons atop the highest level, the first six of those campaigns came in Tampa Bay as Williams finished him time with the Buccaneers as the team’s fourth all-time leading rusher while now ranking fifth on such a list. Coinciding with his 3,677 career rushing yards, “Cadillac” Williams also tallied an even 20 rushing touchdowns and 968 rushing attempts over the course of 70 regular season appearances for the Buccaneers. A household name for the better part of his time with the Buccaneers, Williams is probably most known for his incredible nickname, one that originally gave him serious notoriety at the collegiate ranks with Auburn.