Happy Birthday Mike Alstott: Legendary Tampa Bay Buccaneer FB’s Gritty Football Story

by Will Shepard

Happy birthday “A-Train!” The legendary Tampa Bay full back from Toronto, Canada turns 46 years old today. Mike Alstott retired in 2006 after playing for the Buccaneers for 12 years.

Fullbacks in the NFL rarely experience the love and appreciation from fanbases they deserve. In fact, the position is one of the most underrated positions in all of sports.

The guys who play the position are more often than not, big guys who block for the running backs in short-yardage plays. They aren’t given the ball too often, and more importantly, they are hard to come by.

Should Alstott Be Heading to the Hall of Fame?

Mike Alstott, to this day, remains one of the best fullbacks to play. To start, he was drafted at 35 in 1996 which is still one of the highest picks for the position.

Alstott was so talented that he actually played some half-back as well. However, that doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface on this guy. He was so good, in fact, that he was utilized more in the running game than the blocking game.

Additionally, Alstott’s career numbers are astounding. First, over his career, he scored 71 total touchdowns. This statistic puts him behind only the great Jim Brown. It is worth noting that Jim Brown was certainly the feature back for the Browns. Alstott also has a total of 7,372 rushing and receiving yards.

The 2,284 receiving yards by the fullback are Hall of Fame numbers. And, if that isn’t enough, consider that his career yards per touch stands at 4.4 yards. For reference, that is barely half a yard fewer than LaDainian Tomlinson.

He also was selected to six Pro Bowls. And perhaps the best moment of his career was when he helped win the Super Bowl in 2003.

Alstott actually scored the first Super Bowl touchdown for the Buccaneers. That is an amazing record that will remain in history books forever.

A “Ground and Pound” Kind of Guy

Moreover, Alstott is a ground and pound style back. The guy wouldn’t try and beat you around the edge, rather, he would simply run you over. Tackling this guy is like trying to bring down a bull moose.

On his first-ever touchdown, he talks about wanting to score more than the defender wanted to bring him down. And this mentality stuck with him for the rest of his career.

“Determination – I wanted it bad. It was a critical situation. I want to be an impact player. I don’t want to just be a blocking back.”

Additionally, one of his teammates, Keyshawn Johnson, talks about his play on the field. He says that his ability to run guys over made him feared by defenders.

“Those guys didn’t really want to tackle him after a couple of times of running into him. It was kind of like, ‘Nah, we don’t want any part of that.’ Once you sense that, you just kind of know they’re in for a pretty good butt-kicking.”

Along with his fruitful NFL career, he boasts certainly one of the best nicknames in the sport. For those who think that there’s better nicknames out there, please re-consider.

To be absolutely clear, when you go to create a player in Madden, one of the first nicknames available for your player is “A-Train.” If that alone isn’t enough for you to fully grasp the levity of how good a nickname this was, watch this highlight video. This guy is the definition of a freight train.