Tony Dungy. Ronde Barber. Warren Sapp. Derrick Brooks.
Each is known for helping the Tampa Bay Buccaneers become a winning franchise last decade by establishing a dominant defense. Their contributions helped the team post winning records in 2000 and 2001. The foundation each laid ultimately led to a Super Bowl victory after the 2002 season.
As a result, each was named to the NFL's All-Decade Team of the 2000s, which was released Sunday night. The All-Decade teams are chosen every 10 years by the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee members. The 2000s mark the ninth All-Decade Team to be selected in NFL history.
"Obviously, this is quite an honor," Barber told Buccaneers.com. "To be singled out among the thousands of players who have played during the 2000s is pretty special. What it means to me is that the hard work I've put in all these years has paid off, and I've been fortunate to have a pretty successful career. I think the fact that it started, really, at top of this decade with a big year and has continued since then shows my resiliency. I think I've had a pretty good career and it's rewarding to be recognized for it."
Barber, who is the only player still with the Buccaneers, was among a group of cornerbacks that include Champ Bailey, Ty Law and Charles Woodson. He was originally drafted by Tampa Bay in the third round in 1997 and has made five Pro Bowl appearances in his career.
Brooks, selected in the first round by Tampa Bay in 1995, was one of six linebackers named to the team, along with Ray Lewis, Joey Porter, Zach Thomas, Brian Urlacher and DeMarcus Ware. After being drafted in the first round by Tampa Bay in 1995, Brooks was named to 10 Pro Bowls
Sapp was Tampa Bay's other defensive player among four defensive tackles. The other players were La'Roi Glover, Richard Seymour and Kevin Williams.
Although Sapp established his dominance in the 1990s, he began the next decade with a career-high 16.5 sacks in 2000. Sapp's NFL Defensive Player of the Year award came in 1999, but he would play eight more seasons with the Buccaneers and Raiders and remain a force until the end.
During the 2000s, Sapp played in 121 games and registered 54.5 sacks, reaching double figures in that category as recently as 2006. He also had three interceptions and forced eight fumbles during that span and even caught a pair of touchdown passes. He was selected for the Pro Bowl in each of his four seasons with the Buccaneers during the decade.
Dungy was one of two head coaches chosen for the All-Decade Team, along with New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick. Dungy coached Tampa Bay in 2000 and 2001. He went on to coach the Indianapolis Colts from 2002 through 2008 and led the Colts to a Super Bowl championship in 2006.
NFL All-Decade Team -- 2000s
RUNNING BACKS (4)
TIGHT ENDS (2)
WIDE RECEIVERS (4)
OFFENSIVE TACKLES (4)
DEFENSIVE ENDS (4)
DEFENSIVE TACKLES (4)
KICK RETURNERS (2)
PUNT RETURNERS (2)
HEAD COACHES (2)