The Franchise Quarterback

June 2nd, 2019


Interesting breakdown of the mostly sad history of Bucs quarterbacks.

Doug Williams has his number up on the stadium wall at the Den of Depression. That’s more for his social impact than his impact on the field. People get nostalgic discussing Williams because he led the Bucs out of the darkness of losing to the cusp of the Super Bowl.

But Williams wasn’t that good of a quarterback with the Bucs. Shaun King, who led the Bucs to the 1999 NFC title game, had better numbers.

It is with this in mind Ali Bhanpuri of takes a look at the mostly ugly history of quarterbacks in the NFC South. It wasn’t always like it is today when each team currently has its best quarterback starting in franchise history.

Well, in the case of America’s Quarterback, Pro Bowler Jameis Winston, the best not named “Steve Young.” Joe will get to that in a second.

In picking the franchise quarterback for each team, Bhanpuri struggled with the Bucs. Technically, he believes Young was the best, but the Bucs (at the time) traded him for a second-round pick and of course, Bill Walsh knew what he was doing. Ray Perkins, who shopped Young to get rid of him, had a hangup with lefty quarterbacks.

So Bhanpuri came down to Jameis and Brad Johnson. And while he admits Jameis has better numbers, Jameis has yet to overcome a horrid defense enough to win games. Johnson, on the other hand, got the Bucs over the Super Bowl hump.

This is a tricky one. Although Winston, in just 56 career games, has set nearly every major passing record (he’s 192 yards short of Vinny Testaverde’s yards mark) in team history, he also has a worse INT percentage, completion percentage and win-loss record than Johnson. Plus, he’s yet to play in the postseason. That, ultimately, is why I defer to Johnson here. There’s no question that Johnson benefited from an elite defense, while Winston has had anything but. There’s also no question that Winston has not lived up to his draft status. First overall picks simply should not get benched in Year 4 for Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Bhanpuri had an interesting thought concerning Young. It’s one of those “What if?” questions that could have changed Bucs history.

What if the Bucs didn’t trade Young? Well, the Bucs would not have needed Vinny Testaverde. Bhanpuri suggested instead of drafting Testaverde, the Bucs could have drafted Cornelius Bennett, a game-wrecker of a linebacker who led those tremendous Buffalo Bills’ defenses of the 1990s.

That could have been a game-changer. Would the Bucs have been good enough with Young and Bennett to make the playoffs, thus the Bucs would not have been in position to draft Warren Sapp or Derrick Brooks, hire Tony Dungy and, well… you know?

And for those who holler at their bartender and stomp their feet in church because Jameis has only one winning season, remember: Young was 3-16 as a Bucs starting quarterback.

48 Responses to “The Franchise Quarterback”

  1. AlteredEgo Says: Your comment is awaiting moderation. Says:

    Doug Williams QB stats do not due justice nor tell his story….he was the HEART and leader of the team !…#63 was the soul and foundation…Doug was a tough tough QB that willed every inch of offensive production !

  2. Pete I Says:

    The “Best” QB in Buccaneers history is not even on track to make the Ring of Honor at Ray Jay.

  3. AlteredEgo Says: Your comment is awaiting moderation. Says:

    Jameis is on a one year 20 million dollar prove it deal….he just might make it if he plays like “check down Brad Johnson”…a style BJ had to rely on after his neck injury/nerve damage that tamed his once long distance rocket arm game

  4. OneBuc55 Says:

    I like Winston but just from a pure talent standpoint, Steve Young imo was easily the best QB in Bucs history…

    That said, Young never would have reached his full potential here in Tampa Bay (we usually get rid of them around these parts before they reach their full potential)..Getting coached up by Bill Walsh and sitting behind Joe Montana obviously helped him become a HOF QB… Nowadays, that would be the equivalent of Winston being traded to New England and sitting behind Brady for a few years; I’m pretty sure Belichick could squeeze at least 1 or 2 SuperBowls out of Famous Jameis…

  5. Bird Says:


    Steve young was jacked in that photo

  6. Pete I Says:

    While playing for the Express, Steve Young became the first quarterback in professional football history to pass for 300 or more yards and rush for 100 or more yards in a single game.

    The LA Express!

    The “Best” QB in Buccaneers history is not even on track to make the Ring of Honor at Ray Jay.

  7. DislocatedBucsFan Says:

    After Jameis is booted for an atrocious year featuring horrible accuracy and multiple interceptions you can place him on your ring of honor joe. All you’d have to is select one of your hundred ads to remove and instill Jameis. Jameis is leftwitch 2.0 and one could argue a tannehill 2.0.

  8. BringBucsBack Says:

    …and with Bo Jackson at RB!

    What might have been!

  9. Pete I Says:

    Steve Young, Brad Johnson, Trent Dilfer and Doug Williams all started and won the same numbers of Super Bowl = 1 (each)

    Johnson won his with this franchise.

    Winston currently has only meaningless stats, great for a record book, not much else.

    The “Best” QB in Buccaneers history is not even on track to make the Ring of Honor at Ray Jay.

  10. DooshLaRue Says:

    I read this yesterday and it got me thinking about the importance of stats.
    All the JW supporters want to talk about his stats and compare him with some of the greats, but I call BS on that.

    JimmyJack made a great point yesterday in one of the Jameis threads about how none of the greats looked as bad as JW has looked at times. He has had some horrible meltdown games. And while the greats have had their share of bad games, they just never seemed as lost as JW.

    Having said that, Doug Williams, whom I saw play every home game at the old Sombrero, while not having the gaudy numbers that the Jamie’s fanboys love to shout about, knew how to win some big games.
    Nostalgic? Maybe, but he did get us to the NFC championship game in 79 and to the playoffs the majority of the years he was here.

    Yes, the defense was better then it has been under JW, but Williams deserves to be remembered as the Bucs’ best QB based on RESULTS, not potential.

  11. Bruce Blahak Says:

    Ridiculous…stats? They don’t apply to comparing Williams and the offense he played in. Biggest thing about him was, when the game was on the line he usually came through. You have to actually watch the tape to appreciate the way he played. Completion percentage baloney? Please….

  12. Slugglife Says:

    Looks like Jameis got it to do then, huh?

  13. Pete I Says:

    The only QB in Buccaneer history who made you feel like he could pull the game out was Doug Williams.

    His heart and grit gave the stadium hope.

    Johnson and Dilfer didn’t.

    No way with Winston.

    Williams belongs in the Ring of Honor.

    The “Best” QB in Buccaneers history is not even on track to make the Ring of Honor at Ray Jay.

  14. rhenry Says:

    The Bucs got it right this time. Instead of trading or simply cutting talented players and retaining inept coaching, as in years past, they brought in a competent staff to coach up the talent. I have a good feeling about this season.

  15. Jfat Says:

    This is why analytical types use adjusted stats. Completely different era, can’t compare stat for stat. Have to account for rule changes and all that good stuff. Passing is much easier in today’s NFL. Jameis would have struggled even more playing in Young or Williams’ Era.

    Pulling for JW but he hasn’t really proven anything yet. He won’t be great till he gets better in the red zone and with his deep ball. Pass pro wasn’t that bad last year really, he needed to get the ball out quicker.

  16. Mayhem41 Says:

    To be accurate, Young was traded for a second, fourth and 1 mill cash. Of course Culverhouse found a way to get cash out of the deal, lol.

  17. Allbuccedup Says:

    Jameis Winston is an average QB at best. But I am sorry he doesn’t deserve 20 mil a year and if they resign him 25 or 30. I would resign if he agreed to 15 mil or less. I hope he proves me wrong this year but I have my doubts.

  18. Jonathan Limpchimpi Says:

    There will always be a special place in my heart for B-rad Johnson. He played through a lot of pain in 2002 ( remember the Rob Johnson 5 FG only outing against Chicago to seal the playoff deal as B-rad was basically in traction ) and can barely walk these days. Steve Young was a tremendous talent and given a “100 million dollar” contract from the USFL prior to joining the Bucs. He went to an absolutely ideal situation in San Fran and led a stacked team to a Super Bowl win vs an inferior opponent ( lucky Charger team ). He was floundering in Tampa and wouldn’t have remained upright much longer. I’ll never forget the “white out game” when he when he was basically whitewashed during a sack. The Bucs coming out party in ‘97 featured the sacking/destroying of Young by #99. Full circle I suppose…

  19. Destinjohnny Says:

    Correction joe
    Although we did get a draft pic
    It was Hugh Culverhouse who sold steve young for coin

  20. Easy Says:

    Trevor Lawrence will lead this franchise back to the Super Bowl.

  21. AlteredEgo Says: Your comment is awaiting moderation. Says:

    Easy Says:
    June 2nd, 2019 at 9:37 am
    Trevor Lawrence will lead this franchise back to the Super Bowl.
    LOL…there is going to be some REALLY REALY bad football played in 2020 has team try to out bad each other…there could be 2-3 teams with 0-16 records

  22. Buc1987 Says:

    Is it a derangement syndrome like some have suggested in the past?

    You tell me….

    I always see the same posters attacking Winston on Winston threads…YET I rarely see their names posting on other threads.

    It’s fascinating Bucs fans rooting against their QB. YES you are. Daily.

    Do they care about the team as a whole? Not from what I can tell or they’d be all over the site on other threads.

    Fascinating. 2 year olds.

  23. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Winston hands-down is the best we’ve ever had.

    Winning is a team effort, not an individual effort. That’s why it is not mentioned in stats.

  24. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Brad Johnson had the benefit of a fantastic kicker and a fantastic defense. He was not nearly as good as Winston.

    Remember, we had Gramatica in his best form back then.

    And Johnson also had Mike Alstott.

  25. Buc1987 Says:

    If the D improves by 25% this team WILL start winning games.

    Then all of a sudden Winston will be looked at as a pretty good QB.

    Brad Johnson? You peeps crack me up.

  26. Patrick Says:

    Brad Johnson had the most accomplished career of all the Bucs quarterbacks

  27. SteelStudBuc Says:

    Winston can’t hold a candle to Williams, Young, and Johnson.
    Heck… Dilfer too.

  28. Brandon Jeff Says:

    I remember clearly several times where Doug Williams would have a couple of guys clinging to him and he still managed to flick a rope 30yds downfield for a completion.
    Dude was a beast!

  29. Duthsty Rhothdes Says:

    Doug Williams & Brad Johnson by far the top 2 qbs as bucs. As mentioned above, go watch the doug williams offenses & his PLAYOFF games. The bucs & john mckay ran the ball and ran it some more then dougie would always find jimmie giles or kevin house for that clutch play.

  30. Pete I Says:

    The “Best” QB in Buccaneers history is not even on track to make the Ring of Honor at Ray Jay.

    It is a team game and right now no one on this roster is on track to make the Ring of Honor at Ray Jay.

    McCoy too.

    But team game or not the QB is saddled with the wins and losses on his record, no other player is judged by wins or losses. It’s not in the stat line of Barry Sanders or Lawrence Taylor or Jerry Rice or Paul Gruber.

    Head coaches too get judged by wins and losses.

    And both get judged by championships…fair or not.

    And no one cares why the suffered those losses. There is no asterisk for a crappy defense or poor coaching. Simply a stark font of number of wins vs number of losses.

  31. DooshLaRue Says:


    Please do a poll for greatest Bucs QB….. you might be surprised.

  32. DBS Says:

    The polls are useless. Unless you can get one so people can only vote 1 time.

  33. TexBuc Says:

    Look forward to see what is ahead.

  34. Mike Johnson Says:

    The sad history of our Bucs letting Doug Williams go. Owner Hugh Culverhouse refused to pay the guy. And it really was not that much money given Williams had really balled his A.. off for us. Williams then went to the skins and won a superbowl as many others have. Most Buc QB’s who went on to win SB’s were running their A’s off when they were here. It was almost like, our O line was nonexistent. Jameis has it good compared to those past QB’s with better weapons. And he still can’t win…consistently……Yet.

  35. Wesley Says:

    Doug Williams career with the Bucs is vastly overrated. I’m not sure why he’s even in the ring of honor. And honestly Jeff Garcia was one of our best q.b.’s ever and no i’m not joking.

  36. '79 Defense Says:

    I would go with Johnson. Yes, he had the superior defense and didn’t have to take many chances, but with him I never was worried that he would make some stupid mistake that would cost us. He played smart.

  37. AlteredEgo Says: Your comment is awaiting moderation. Says:

    Wesley Says:
    June 2nd, 2019 at 2:32 pm
    Doug Williams career with the Bucs is vastly overrated. I’m not sure why he’s even in the ring of honor. And honestly Jeff Garcia was one of our best q.b.’s ever and no i’m not joking.
    how old were you when DW was playing for the Bucs and did you ever see him play…..SMF’nH

  38. rrsrq Says:

    Joe says “What if the Bucs didn’t trade Young” what if Hugh would’ve paid Doug Williams is the better question. Hands down, there is a likely hood, Bucs would not have fell in the dark hole of anonymity

  39. Pete I Says:

    Wesley Says: 
    June 2nd, 2019 at 2:32 pm

    Doug Williams career with the Bucs is vastly overrated. I’m not sure why he’s even in the ring of honor. And honestly Jeff Garcia was one of our best q.b.’s ever and no i’m not joking.


    The “Best” QB in Buccaneers history is not even on track to make the Ring of Honor at Ray Jay.

  40. AlteredEgo Say: Your comment is awaiting moderation. Says:

    Somewhere Wesley is slobbering Beavis and Butthead snicker all over his keyboard

  41. Joe in Michigan Says:

    I never look at the “draft do-overs”, there’s very few “do-overs” in life. To answer your question, though: It’s the same answer as if Tampa Bay would’ve drafted Joe Montana, they wouldn’t have had much of a career, let alone Hall of Fame careers. The people that bad mouth the Glazers, they have no idea what it’s like to have one of the worst owners in the history of sports, Hugh Culverhouse.

  42. Buccfan37 Says:

    I also rate Doug Williams as the best Bucs QB.

  43. AlteredEgo Says: Your comment is awaiting moderation. Says:

    Doug and Vinny threw the most beautiful long balls….

  44. Ndog Says:

    SteelStudBuc Says:
    June 2nd, 2019 at 10:54 am
    Winston can’t hold a candle to Williams, Young, and Johnson.
    Heck… Dilfer too.

    A comment this ridiculous should get you banned for life watching football.

  45. Ndog Says:

    You people are simply crazy, Brad Johnson got benched for Casey Weldon at FSU. For those of you that say you didn’t have to worry about him making a mistake is because he didn’t have to make plays. Plus do you happen to remember the first pass of the Super Bowl? Yeah a pick and you same people saying he was so great would have KILLED Jameis for a throw like that. Hippocratical mother ….

  46. Morgus the Magnificent Says:

    Joe, you’re defending this Winston train wreck once again by saying “the other guys (Young in this case) sucked too!!”

  47. Morgus the Magnificent Says:

    Ndog….Winston got benched for who again? Oh yeah. And Winston also got benched for what off the filed activity? Oh yeah. And Winston’s first professional pass? Oh yeah. I’ll take Brad, thank you. “You people” indeed.

  48. TampaTown Says:

    The butterfly effect