An interview with former Bucs RB Tony Davis
This interview took place in January 2014. Tony came to the Bucs in 1979 in a trade with the Bengals and played three seasons with the Buccaneers. He was one of the best special teams players the franchise has ever had and was given a nickname "Tough Tony" by Coach John McKay, a moniker that you will see led to some unfortunate repercussions. Now living in Colorado, he is one of the most active former members of the 1979 championship team. |
You started your NFL career in Cincinnati. Was that very different to what you found in Tampa?
The NFL in 1976 was much the same everywhere in that it was physical, challenging and very rewarding. When I was traded to Tampa Bay in 1979, the Bucs had not had much success but Coach McKay had built a very competitive team as was evidenced in the "Worst to First" Bucs of 79.
What was John McKay like as a head coach?
He was a great leader and coach but he was not a person you got real close to for the most part. He did two things for me personally that endeared me to him.
In 1979 I had an incentive clause that paid me a bonus for playing a certain percentage of plays. I was two or three plays away from receiving that bonus but he made sure I got that bonus anyway.
The other incident was when James Wilder was drafted in 1981 and he called me to his office. I was expecting to be cut when he said to me " I am going to room James Wilder with you during camp. I need you to teach him the offense so that he is ready for our opening game". I said to him I would do it but would it meant that I got cut after camp. He promised me that if I did this for him, he would keep me one more year. I did and he did.
Lastly, I love a great cigar and on occasions Coach McKay would call me into his office and give me one of his Cubans.
You were known as a special teams' specialist. Was that something you embraced or resented?
I always took a lot of pride in playing hard and smart. Whatever I could do to make myself valuable for my team I did. Covering and returning kicks came naturally to me. On those Bucs teams I played on, there were some exceptional special teams' players.
And the nickname "Tough Tony" - that led to some particular attention from the opposition didn't it?
I was not real fond of the name to be honest. Firstly the game is full of guys who are tough and secondly, the name cost me a lot of extra hits at the bottom of piles.
On leaving Tampa you were able to continue your pro career in the USFL. What do you remember from those days?
The USFL was an experiment that should have worked. There were a lot of NFL-quality players in that league. I really had fun although physically, it was my last year in football.
What was your best memory from the NFL? Any particular play you specifically remember?
The Tampa Bay Bucs of 1979 was as good as it gets. The Bengals of 1977 was the.best year I ever had as a player as I was voted the Team MVP.
Who were your best friends on the Buccaneers? Are you still in touch with many of your former team-mates?
Chuck Fusina, Jim Obradovich, Dave Reavis. Curtis Jordan, Danny Reece, Doug Williams, Mel Carver, Mike Morton, Steve Wilson and Mark Cotney. Social Media has allowed many of us to stay in touch.
And one from my daughter now - how often do you tell your children, "you know when your Dad played in the NFL"..... !
I never said much about playing in the NFL to my four children growing up as they did not need that preasure. But my youngest son Josh played at Nebraska and was with the New York Jets for two years.
What are you doing with yourself these days after football? In good health?
I work out six days a week, sometimes seven and I stay in pretty good shape although my knees are an issue I will have to deal with later.
I am the Director of Business Development for SGS North America, a Global Inspection Company in the Oil/Gas Industry. I also the Managing Member of a company called TJMC Energy. We market a catalyst for Air Conditioning Systems called "IceCold" that increases the AC efficiency by removing the existing Oil Fouling on the AC Unit.
I have four children of which two, my twins were born in Tampa. I have four grandchildren with two more on the way and I have been married to my wife Lori for 40 years.
And if you could sum up your NFL career in one word, what would it be?
I cannot sum up my NFL career in one word but "Awesome" comes pretty close. Be well Buc fans!