Over the offseason, thousands of fans voted in our "Team For the Ages" contest to construct the best imaginable 50-man roster from the NFL’s modern era, which began in 1967. The votes have been counted, and we’re unveiling one player each weekday between now and the kickoff of the 2018 NFL season.
The entire Team For the Ages roster will be unveiled at "Football Legends LIVE!" Sept. 8 in Crystal Lake, Ill. Tickets are on sale now: https://shawmediaevents.com/e/pfw50
Tampa Bay Buccaneers LB Derrick Brooks
For 14 seasons, Brooks never missed a regular-season game (224 of them total) or a playoff game (11 in his career), playing the weak-side linebacker spot as well as anyone has in his generation or any other.
Brooks made 11 Pro Bowls, was named first-team All Pro five times, was the league’s 2002 Defensive Player of the Year and made the Pro Football Hall of Fame on his first ballot. There might not have been an off-the-ball linebacker who turned in a bigger season on a better defense than Brooks’ 2002 campaign, when he helped lead the Bucs to their only Super Bowl victory.
They said it
Following the Super Bowl XXXVII victory over the Oakland Raiders, in which Brooks capped the scoring with a fourth-quarter pick-six, Brooks summed up his once star-crossed franchise’s achievement: "Today, it means we've come full circle, from the laughingstock of the league to the world champions."
Brooks is tied for 18th all time in interception returns for touchdowns with six — and the 17 players ahead of him on the list are all defensive backs. That total doesn’t even count Brooks’ Super Bowl INT return for a score.
Did you know?
Brooks is one of only 10 Florida State football players (he wore No. 10) to have his jersey number retired, as well as one of only three Buccaneers (Brooks wore No. 55) to have his jersey retired.
As great as Brooks’ signature moment was in Super Bowl XXXVII, we believe his best game might have come against Michael Vick late in the 2004 season. Brooks spied Vick all game in a 27-0 Tampa Bay shutout, gathering 11 tackles, two sacks, a forced fumble and a tipped pass that was intercepted in the end zone. Vick also left the game with a huge welt from Brooks clobbering him. All game long, Brooks yelled “no points!” and held up his end of the bargain with a monstrous performance against the division-leading Falcons — the first time a Vick-led team had been shut out in the NFL.
Previous "Team for the Ages" player announcements