What’s there to say at this point? The Packers are hosting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this weekend, who have seen a fairly large number of starting quarterbacks duck under center over the past 20 seasons. Since we’ve done this for six other teams at this point and people seem to enjoy it, we figured we’d bypass the usual Wisconsin sports coverage this week in favor of ranking the 16 starting quarterbacks the Buccaneers have fielded since the 2004 season. Go Pack Go!

16. Josh Johnson
Though Josh Johnson managed to have a lengthy pro football career in the NFL, XFL, and something called the Alliance Of American Football, his first three seasons—which were spent in Tampa Bay as a backup for Josh Freeman—didn’t exactly suggest he’d enjoy any longevity as a professional quarterback. Somebody has to be at the bottom of this list, and the unsavory honor goes to the quarterback who was winless in five starts with the Bucs and who threw just five touchdowns (compared to 10 INTs) and just over 1,000 yards in a total of 26 games he took the field for Tampa as both a starter and replacement QB.

15. Byron Leftwich
You likely know Byron Leftwich from his solid seasons as the starter in Jacksonville or from his late-career stint as a serviceable backup in Pittsburgh, but it’s possible the Buccaneers don’t come to mind when you think of his playing career. That’s probably because he was winless in three starts with Tampa, managing only 594 passing yards and four touchdowns (plus three interceptions).

14. Luke McCown
The first of two McCown siblings on this list, Luke McCown started just three games in Tampa. During that abbreviated span with him at the helm, the team posted a 1-2 record and he had five touchdowns, three interceptions, and 1,009 yards through the air. He also added 117 rushing yards (on a mere 12 attempts! Holy shit!) to his stat line.

13. Bruce Gradkowski
Back in October, we named Bruce Gradkowski the 8th best Raiders quarterback of the past 20 years. Unfortunately for him, things didn’t go quite as well with the Buccaneers. Tampa went 3-8 in games Gradkowski started. He threw nine touchdowns, but added 10 interceptions to his stats as well. Yes, football is a team sport and we’re not insinuating Gradkowski is fully responsible for those eight losses, but averaging passing 163 yards per start sure didn’t help.

12. Tim Rattay
Tim Rattay was actually proficient during his two Tampa Bay starts (going 1-1 with four TDs and two picks), but the sample size is simply too small to earn him a higher spot on this list. Sorry, Tim.

11. Chris Simms
Speaking of being deceivingly passable, Chris Simms amassed just over 3,000 passing yards and 12 touchdowns through the air during his 15 starts with Tampa (seven of those being Bucs’ wins). That being said, he also had 18 interceptions during his three years primarily as a backup in Florida.

10. Josh McCown
This one is kind of confusing because journeyman quarterback (and brother of Luke) Josh McCown only won one of his ELEVEN total starts with Tampa, but dude had 2,200 yards and 11 passing touchdowns (plus three rushing scores) along the way, so all of those 10 losses couldn’t have been hung on him. That being said, throwing 14 interceptions in 11 games isn’t a recipe for success.

9. Baker Mayfield
Barring something unexpected happening between now and kickoff, Baker Mayfield will starting for Tampa Bay on Sunday. Now 13 games into his first season, he’s led the Bucs to a division-leading 6-7 record (lol NFC South) and has 21 total touchdowns compared to eight INTs. He’s also within 100 yards of throwing for 3,000 yards on the season with a few weeks left to play. Not great, not terrible…that’s the Baker Mayfield guarantee!

8. Mike Glennon
Before being hilariously overpaid by the Bears, Mike Glennon started his professional career as a sometimes-starter with Tampa. His team’s 5-13 record during games he started isn’t entirely his problem though, as Glennon threw for more than 4,000 yards and had 30 passing TDs, compared to just 15 interceptions split between three seasons.

7. Ryan Fitzpatrick
With 24 passing touchdowns (to just 15 interceptions), close to 3,500 passing yards, and a respectable completion percentage, FitzMagic played better than his 4-6 record as a Bucs starter indicates.


6. Brian Griese
Between the 12-9 record Tampa Bay had when he was a starter, the nearly 5,000 yards he posted, and 32 passing touchdowns, Griese deserves a spot just outside the top-third of this list.

5. Jeff Garcia
Yes, you’re reading that right! Jeff Garcia is, indeed, one of the five best Buccaneers quarterbacks of the last two decades. How? Well, Garcia had 5,152 passing yards (good for 10th all time in franchise history), 25 touchdowns, and a 14-10 record as a Buccaneers starter. That’s how!

4. Josh Freeman
Before his eventual decline and unceremonious exit from the other Bay area, Josh Freeman showed glimmers of greatness. He spent just four full seasons in Tampa (and was traded midway through his fifth year there), but still lands in the Top 5 in franchise marks for completions, passing yards, passing touchdowns, and is sixth in wins by a starting quarterback with 24 total wins. Let’s not talk about his 35 losses, okay?

3. Brad Johnson
When you pass for more than 10,000 yards, have a winning record in 49 career starts, throw 64 touchdowns, and help lead a team to a Super Bowl win, you land in the top three over their rankings of the last 20 seasons. We don’t make the rules! Yes, the Super Bowl came before this aforementioned 20-year period started, but Johnson was in his final year as a Tampa starter in 2004, so he counts goddammit!

2. Jameis Winston
Like the case of Freeman, high-profile Buccaneers draft pick Jameis Winston’s time in Tampa didn’t end on tremendous terms, but he managed some lofty numbers there along the way. His 121 touchdowns, 1,563 completions, and 19,735 passing yards are all the most in Buccaneers team history. Hell, he’s even 17th all time in Bucs rushing touchdowns. Say what you will about Winston now, but he was well above average among Tampa Bay quarterbacks.

1. Tom Brady
We legitimately hate to say it, but Tom Brady is the best Buccaneers quarterback of the last 20 seasons. Statistically, he lands in the Top 5 of almost any major massing category. Plus he led Tampa Bay to a Super Bowl, so it’s pretty tough to refute his standing at No. 1. It sucks, but it’s true.

About The Author

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Co-Founder and Editor

Before co-founding Milwaukee Record, Tyler Maas wrote for virtually every Milwaukee publication (except Wassup! Magazine). He lives in Bay View and enjoys both stuff and things.