Do you remember when Edgerrin James’ on-field production helped the Indianapolis Colts win Super Bowl XLI? Me neither.
Do you remember when Edgerrin James was awarded a Super Bowl ring after the Colts won Super Bowl XLI? I do.
For those who don’t know the story, Edgerrin James played his last season – his 7th overall – for the Indianapolis Colts in 2005. And, despite having a solid season in which he finished 4th in the NFL in both yards from scrimmage and total touchdowns, and despite being the Colts all-time leading rusher, as well as 3rd in touchdowns scored in franchise history, the Colts decided even before free agency started that they were not going to re-sign him for the 2006 season, and he ended up signing with the Arizona Cardinals, where he would go on to finally play in a Super Bowl of his own 3 years later and cement his Hall of Fame resume.
Despite not having won a Super Bowl in any of James’ seven seasons with the Colts, and not having even won a single playoff game in James’ final season with the team, the very year James left to join the Cardinals he was replaced in Indianapolis by rookie running back Joseph Addai.
Addai immediately stepped into the starting lineup, ran for over 1,000 yards, and finished his rookie season 12th in the entire NFL in yards from scrimmage (James’ finished 16th) and 8th in the NFL in yards per carry (James finished 44th), while helping to lead the Colts to their first-ever Super Bowl victory since relocating from Baltimore to Indianapolis in 1984.
However, despite Edgerrin James not spending one single day as a member of the Indianapolis Colts’ 2006 team, and having to watch a rookie win the Super Bowl ring he never managed to win in Indianapolis, Colts owner Jim Irsay rewarded James with a Super Bowl ring!
After they won it in 2007 when I was with the Cardinals, Reggie Wayne pulled up one day and he’s holding a box … he said, “Mr. Irsay wanted you to have this, for everything you did to get us here.” I mean, a lotta guys won Super Bowls over the years, but how many guys can say that? 1
” Colts owner Jim Irsay rewarded James with a Super Bowl ring, despite not being a member of said Super Bowl-winning team for even one single day, simply because of everything James did for the organization in the past!
Why Not Jameis?
If you’ve never seen the Jameis Winston squinting GIF on social media, go look it up, as now would be a perfect time to view such.
The simple fact is that if James deserved a Super Bowl ring for everything he did for the Colts in the past, which somehow helped the 2006 Colts finish their season as Super Bowl champions, Jameis Winston deserves that and more for everything he did for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the past, and for his influence and production being obviously instrumental in the 2020 Buccaneers’ team winning Super Bowl LV!
Firstly, let’s just look at the franchise rankings of both James in Indianapolis and Winston in Tampa Bay:
Edgerrin James left the Colts with the record for the most rushing yards in franchise history.
James Winston left the Buccaneers with the record for the most passing yards in franchise history.
Edgerrin James left the Colts third on their all-time touchdowns list, behind only Marvin Harrison and Lenny Moore.
Jameis Winston left the Buccaneers with the record for the most passing touchdowns in franchise history.
And for the trolls who will say, “oh yeah, well, what about turnovers”, Jameis Winston is second all-time in interceptions thrown (and total turnovers) for the Buccaneers franchise and Edgerrin James is third all-time in fumbles lost amongst Colts running backs.
However, it’s not the mere statistics that prove Jameis Winston is every bit as deserving as Edgerrin James was of being awarded a Super Bowl ring by the owner(s) of his former team. It’s the obvious influence Jameis had on the Buccaneers 2020 team that actually illustrates how much more deserving he is than James was.
31 points scored by Bucs in Super Bowl
NEW ADDITION Rob Gronkowski = 12 points
NEW ADDITION Ryan Succop = 7 points
NEW ADDITION Antonio Brown = 6 points
NEW ADDITION Leonard Fournette = 6 points
Players from 2019 Team = ZERO POINTShttps://t.co/NnQYKfVQfl
— Author Jameis1of1 (@jameis1of1) February 19, 2021
Now, don’t misunderstand me, I am certainly not saying that Winston was the primary reason the 2020 Tampa Bay Buccaneers won the Super Bowl. In fact, I believe it’s abundantly clear that the two men most responsible for the 2020 Buccaneers winning Super Bowl LV are head coach Bruce Arians and quarterback Tom Brady.
Jameis Winston Made Tom Brady A Believer
However, it is an established fact that Bruce Arians himself has made it clear many times that he came out of retirement to coach Jameis Winston and that Winston was one of the primary reasons he even considered unretiring and taking the head coaching job in Tampa Bay.
Consider the following quotes from Arians himself:
“Jaboo’ is legend in Birmingham … he would be fun to coach, there’s no doubt about it … He’s a winner and a great leader and a heck of a young quarterback.”
“Everything is going to be built around him. I think he can win it all. He has the intelligence, the toughness and obviously the arm ability to lead a team.”
"Our quarterback here we can win with, we can win the championship with."
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) January 11, 2019
In regards to Brady, it was widely reported that the two teams all-in on acquiring him and the two teams he was deciding between, were the Los Angeles Chargers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Does anyone actually think that if Jameis Winston would have had a 2019 season in Tampa like Philip Rivers had in Los Angeles, that Brady would have chosen to play for the Buccaneers over the Chargers?
In 2019, Jameis led the entire NFL in passing yards, finished 2nd in the league in TD passes, and led the 4th highest-scoring offense in the league, all while winning 7 games despite playing most of the season on a torn meniscus, a quarter of the season with both a torn meniscus and a broken thumb on his throwing hand, and multiple games with both a torn meniscus and broken thumb on his throwing hand while both Mike Evans and Chris Godwin were out injured!
Philip Rivers on the other hand threw for just the 4th most yards in the league, the 15th most TD passes, and won just 5 games, despite being healthy all season and being sacked 13 fewer times than Winston on the season.
Winston’s remarkable level of production in the 2019 season made it abundantly clear to Tom Brady that Tampa Bay was a team on the rise and a team where he could not only have success but have fun doing so.
Simply put, had Winston not been the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback, Bruce Arians would likely have never even considered coaching the team beginning in the 2019 season.
And, had Jameis Winston not had the remarkably productive 2019 season he had in Tampa, Tom Terrific would likely have never even considered the Bucs as a suitable franchise to sign with, and likely would have signed with the Los Angeles Chargers instead.
Media Whipping Boy
Regardless, everyone who has paid attention to how the media treats Jameis Winston (i.e. as a whipping boy and someone who deserves to have everything positive he does mocked, scoffed at, or ignored, and everything negative he does microscopically focused on) can certainly understand that there is next to no chance any mainstream talking head will ever make the claim that the Bucs’ owners – the Glazer family – should reward Jameis Winston with a Super Bowl ring.
However, the facts clearly prove that Winston is not only every bit as deserving as Edgerrin James was when Colts owner Jim Irsay awarded him with a Super Bowl ring, but that Winston is even more deserving!
We know how Irsay felt about James, who played no discernible part in inspiring his replacement (i.e. Joseph Addai) to join the team that ended up winning the Super Bowl.
Is the Glazer family as thankful for their team’s all-time leader in passing yards and passing touchdowns, and a young man who played an instrumental part in convincing Bruce Arians to unretire, as well as a seemingly enormous role in inspiring Tom Brady to sign with the Buccaneers, as the Colts’ Jim Irsay was when he rewarded a running back who was third in franchise TDs?
The pigskin is in the Glazer family’s gridiron so to speak. Are they as ethical, sensible and thankful as Jim Irsay? If so, they’ll do the right thing and reward Jameis Winston with a Super Bowl ring.
The Glazer family could do so privately – the way Irsay did – or they could actually choose to one-up Irsay and do so in the most public manner imaginable, by rewarding Winston on opening night in Raymond James Stadium when the Buccaneers team is awarded their rings and Winston is standing across the sidelines wearing a New Orleans Saints jersey, as I think we all believe the NFL won’t miss a chance to kick off the 2021 NFL season with Buccaneers v. Saints!
Hopefully, the Glazer family will do the right thing, just as Winston has continued to do the right thing by immersing himself in a plethora of charitable endeavors in the state of Florida and co-founding a Covid-hotline, even after becoming a member of the rival New Orleans Saints.