Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager, Mark Dominik was on hand to witness the rebirth of the team that finally captured the franchise first Lombardi Trophy, Dominik who was in his third year as a personnel assistant for the Bucs in 1997 remembers all to fondly the hot start, as Tampa jumped out to a 5-0 record as Sports Illustrated said ‘Break Up The Bucs”.
That defining class that helped catapult the Bucs from once cellar dwellers of yesteryear into the national headlines was the 1995 class that included DT Warren Sapp and OLB Derrick Brooks. A draft that saw the Bucs trade down in the first round to land Sapp and then trade back into the bottom half of the first round to draft Brooks two of the franchise most notable faces and the cornerstones of what would become known as the Tampa 2 defense. Now, some 15-years later Dominik told Albert Breer, of the NFL.com that he’s optimistic that defining class for the current franchise could very well be the 2010 class.
“You had the 1974 draft for the Steelers, the 1991 draft for the Cowboys, the 1995 draft for the Packers, that defining class, that class that helped the guys that were already there accelerate the process. You can always find that class with the great championship teams, and I’m optimistic that 2010 is ours.”
There’s no doubt that the 2010 class with Mike Williams, Arrelious Benn, Gerald McCoy, Brian Price, Cody Grimm and Dekoda Watson could be huge in building the foundation of another Superbowl winner in Tampa. But the defining class was 2009, when the Bucs selected what looks at the moment to be the franchises first ever franchise quarterback, in Josh Freeman.
Freeman, is the current face of the franchise and the way he goes will be the way the team goes. If Freeman continues his upward ascension into the lure of football immortality. That will go down as the defining class, even if no other player from the 2009 class does anything worth mentioning.
The NFL is a quarterback driven league and you either have one or you don’t. And right now it appears as if the Bucs have one.