Date: Jan. 26, 2003. Site: Qualcomm Stadium
We have a winner. The voters picked Derrick Brooks' 44-yard interception return in the Buccaneers' Super Bowl XXXVII victory against the Raiders as the most memorable play in Bucs history, and I respectfully question their selection.
Brooks' pick-six was huge. There's no doubt about that. An icon made a memorable play at a big moment. As a symbol, it was as big as it gets, and I don't want to sell it short. But there's another moment that I think had a greater impact -- and Brooks' interception might never have happened without this play. That's why I'm giving my nod for the most memorable play in franchise history to Ronde Barber's interception return for a touchdown in the NFC Championship Game.
Barber's play against the Philadelphia Eagles came late in the fourth quarter with the Eagles driving. He returned the ball 92 yards for a score, sealing a 27-10 victory that sent the Bucs to their only Super Bowl.
His play came in the last game ever at Veterans Stadium. That place was known for raucous crowds. But Barber silenced the stadium in the final minutes.
The Bucs endured more than their share of losing in their first two decades. But Barber's interception and return seemed to make all that go away. If you're a true Tampa Bay fan, you remember exactly where you were the moment Barber's play took place.
That's the mark of the most memorable play in franchise history.