Jimmie Giles Talks To JoeDecember 3rd, 2011
Bucs legend, tight end Jimmy Giles, becomes the thirdÂ Buccaneer to be inducted into the Bucs Ring of Honor on Sunday, andÂ the team will honor GilesÂ by wearing the throwback creamcicles. Joe was fortunate to have a chance this week to ask Giles a few questions about his days with the Bucs and how the game has changed for tight ends.
JoeBucsFan: Are you sort of jealous about the way the game has changed? When you played, aside from Kellen Winslow — who was a tight end in name but in reality was a slot receiver — tight ends were blockers first and receivers second. Now, some tight ends are top receivers. Could you have been more of a passing target in today’s football?
Jimmie Giles: That’s one of the things we talked about. Blocking, that’s something I prided myself on that. Passing? Back in the day when Kellen played, tight end was more of a passing weapon in the AFC, but with John McKay, it was all about pitching that ball out and blocking to spring the running back. You had to be a blocker and when you had to catch it, you had better catch it or you would never have the ball thrown to you. I had to put myself in position where I could catch the ball anywhere from 6-12 times. But if I played now, I’m sure I could get 16 catches a game. Kellen was a great tight end but he didn’t want to block that much and he didn’t have to.
Joe: You were a crushing blocker, almost like a pulling guard. As a kid, I remember and can still picture you blowing up linebackers time after time. Was your blocking ability something you had to develop with the Bucs or what that a skill you always possessed?
Giles: First of all, I invite you to join the committee to elect me to the Hall of Fame. One of the things is, you have to have a team concept of being able to run the football. A tight end had to be a very integral part of the blocking and you have to want to be able to work and learn the techniques of blocking and have a mindset of blocking. If you know you have to make a key block, to make the running game go, that is as important as catching a 15-yard pass. Blocking is more of an attitude. But they don’t pay you for blocking, they pay you for catching passes.
Joe: You played in two of the most extreme weather games in Bucs history, the 1979 regular season finale in a monsoon at Tampa Stadium against the Chiefs to clinch the NFC Central title, and the Snow Bowl in Green Bay where you literally played in a blizzard with a foot of snow and wind chills at zero degrees. Which was the most difficult?
Giles: Without a doubt the game against Kansas City because that was the game that ended the losing days for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That game put us in the playoffs and you couldn’t call us losers any more. That win gave us a 10-6 record and nobody could say we were losers and we were excited about that.
Joe: The early glory days of the Bucs you played with Doug Williams. When he left the team’s success collapsedÂ and itÂ took over a decade for the team to recover. With his success with the Bucs and later the Redskins, should Williams be in the Hall of Fame?
Giles: I would have to say without a doubt because of the adversity he faced throughout his career and the things that he accomplished despite not having the tools other quarterbacks had to work with and to get to the Super Bowl and did what he did in the Super Bowl, I think he was one of the greatest of all times, convincingly. For his journey, absolutely he should be in the Hall of Fame.
Joe: It seems that you and your Bucs teammates were close. Few if any of you were from Florida yet so many of you stayed in the area and set down roots and started businesses, which you don’t see that often with other teams. Whenever there is an appearance or reunion of the old Bucs, there is a big turnout. So it seems you guys were tight and close. Was there a special bond that you developed with your teammates? Is that why so many of you stayed in the area?
Giles: That is what prepared us for winning. We became a football family after the 1978 season, we became very close and we developed a rapport to lock out for each other and take care of each other. We won despite everyone else. We had a great core of fans week in and week out and that made a huge difference when you came to the games on Sunday and see the stadium packed. You wanted to win for the fans and the organization.