The Tampa Bay Buccaneers special teams unit has garnered a favorable ranking from renowned Dallas Morning News columnist, Rich Gosselin. Gosselin who grades the NFL’s, 32 special teams units by ranking 22 kicking game categories and assigning points according to their standing in each category (1 for the best through 32 for the worst). Has released his 2009 rankings.
In 2008, the Bucs were ranked 9th out of 32 teams and seemingly took a jump up the rankings in 2009.
Gosselin graded out the Bucs special teams unit with a final ranking of 2nd out of the leagues 32 special teams units. What’s startling about the rankings is that even with the Bucs using three different field goal kickers, two punters and losing their best return man, Clifton Smith do to concussions they still managed to grade out very high in a season marred by injuries and inconsistency.
The more interesting and apparent observation, is the inverse relationship between the overall success of a team winning, versus the success of its special teams play, which has no relevance or correlation with a team going all the way. In 2008 the Superbowl participants’ were the Pittsburgh Steelers who ranked 20th and the Arizona Cardinals who ranked 28th in Gosselin’s rankings. Fast forward to 2009 and the two participants in the Superbowl were the Indianapolis Colts and New Orleans Saints who ranked 28th and 29th respectively. It’s also worth noting that in 2008, the Colts ranked dead last in the rankings.
The proof is in the pudding and based on the above stats for the past two seasons, you now see why so many within the NFL’s inner circle view associate head coach / special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia as a legitimate head coaching candidate.