Born.... November 8, 1954 in Greenville, Mississippi, U.S.
Brief.... Height 6'3" Weight 240lbs
College..... Alcorn State
NFL Draft..... 1977 / Round: 3 | Pick: 70
Buccaneers Career..... 1978 - 1986 | Acquired trade with Houston
Ended Career By..... 1986 Released during season
Jimmie Giles, Jr. as a former professional American football player who was drafted by the Houston Oilers in the third round of the 1977 NFL Draft. A 6'3", 238 lb tight end from Alcorn State University, Giles played in 13 NFL seasons from 1977 to 1989. A four-time Pro Bowl selection, Giles's career flourished as a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the early and mid-1980s, despite being used mainly as a blocker during several seasons in which he fell into disfavor with the coaching staff. Giles' benching coincided with a training-camp holdout, the first in Buccaneers history by a player under contract, and the difficult Doug Williams negotiations that resulted in his departure for the USFL. Giles' four touchdowns against the Miami Dolphins on October 20, 1985, tied Earl Campbell's record for the most touchdowns by a Dolphins opponent, and is still (as of 2010) the Buccaneers' single-game record. Dolphins coach Don Shula said of the performance, "I can't remember any tight end dominating us that way". Buccaneer teammate Gerald Carter said that Giles could have been "one of the best all-time tight ends, if they'd used him more". In 1988 with the Philadelphia Eagles, he caught a touchdown on one of the most memorable plays in Monday Night Football. Quarterback Randall Cunningham escaped a tackle from Giants linebacker Carl Banks and threw a touchdown to Giles.
Jimmie was drafted in the 3rd Round with the 70th Overall pick in the 1977 NFL Draft by the Houston Oilers. In his rookie season, Jimmie was used sparingly and mainly was a blocking TE. However, he did catch 17 passes for 147 yards.
In the 1978 offseason, Tampa Bay acquired Giles via trade from the Oilers. Tampa gave Houston the 1st overall pick for the 17th overall pick, a 2nd Round pick, Giles and 3rd Round plus 5th Round picks in the 1979 draft. Houston used the pick on eventual hall of famer Earl Campbell. Tampa, meanwhile, felt they were fine with their running back Ricky Bell so they felt they didn’t need Campbell. His first season in Tampa had him finish with 23 receptions for 324 yards and 2 touchdowns. It has been noted that the low numbers can be attributed to star quarterback Doug Williams missing games to injury.
In 1979, a healthy Williams and Giles helped the Buccaneers start 5-0 and finish the season at 10-6, which was good enough for 1st in the NFC Central division. It was an impressive accomplishment for a team that went 0-14 three years prior. Giles finished the year with 40 receptions for 579 yards and 7 touchdowns. The Buccaneers faced the Eagles in the divisional round, and upset the Eagles 24-17, shutting up critics who were calling them “lucky” to win the division. In the conference championship game, the Bucs defense limited the Rams to 9 points, but those 9 points were the only points scored in the game, resulting in Tampa Bay losing.
Things looked promising for the Buccaneers in 1980, with a 2-0 start including a victory over defending NFC champions Rams on Monday Night Football. However, injuries on the defensive side of the ball began to doom the Buccaneers and they finished the season 5-10-1. In a game against the Bears, safety Doug Plank landed a violent hit on Giles that later resulted in a fine by the NFL. This did not prevent Giles from leading all tight ends with 33 receptions for 602 yards and 4 touchdowns. He was considered the game’s best deep-threat pass catcher that season, with his 18.2 YPC leading all receivers with at least 25 receptions. Afterwards, he became the first Buccaneer not named Lee Roy Selmon to be named to the Pro Bowl.
In 1981, Giles continued where he left off and posted his best statistical season, finishing with 45 receptions for 786 yards and 6 touchdowns. His 786 yards are still a Buccaneers single season record for a tight end, along with an 81-yard reception that also remains a franchise record. This greatly helped the Buccaneers, who managed to win the NFC Central division once more, but this time with a 9-7 record after defeating Detroit at the Silverdome in the season finale (where Detroit had been undefeated all season). In the divisional playoff game against Dallas, Tampa was shut out 38-0 in what was, at the time, the largest margin of victory in a playoff game. Despite the disappointing end, Giles’ efforts did land him in the Pro Bowl once more.
The strike-shortened 1982 season was one marked with controversy for the Buccaneers. After defensive coordinator Tom Bass left the team, several other defensive players did as well. While fans at the time were perplexed as to why Tampa would trade those players away, it was later revealed by McKay and other conditioning staff members that some of those players were druggies and they wanted them gone. Despite the controversy, Tampa Bay finished 5-4 and were granted a playoff spot. However, they faced the Cowboys again, and were once again defeated 30-17. The game was marked with controversy when Charley Hannah, a Bucs player, kicked an official’s flag on the ground resulting in an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that debatably cost the Buccaneers a chance for a rally on what was initially a good drive. Despite all the negative things going on involving the Buccaneers, Giles once more appeared in the Pro Bowl after finishing the season with 28 receptions for 499 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Giles had a down-year in 1983, which was attributed to Doug Williams leaving the Buccaneers for the USFL after the Culverhouses refused to pay him more money that he rightfully had earned (he was making less than many backup quarterbacks) despite McKay’s full support. The team also had 18 players be on IR during the season, and only 3 players started all 16 games. Due to these events, Tampa finished 2-14. However, despite everything, the record was actually misleading, as the Bucs only lost by a touchdown or less in 9 of their games (6 of which featured them losing by 3 points or less). Giles’ 11 starts at him finish with 25 receptions for 349 yards and 1 touchdown.
Giles was disgruntled with the team in 1984 and requested a trade, but it was denied by the Bucs’ front office. He was initially annoyed, but later accepted an offer on an extension that would keep him signed through the 1986 season. Though the season started off poorly for Giles, as he dropped a sure-thing touchdown pass into Gary Fencik’s hands for an interception in a game against the Bears, he made up for it by catching the game-winning TD pass in a game against the Lions. He finished the season with 24 receptions for 310 yards and 2 touchdowns. His numbers being low were attributed to McKay frequently using him as a blocking TE that season rather than use him for his more suitable pass catching abilities.
In 1985, despite Tampa’s 2-14 record, Giles had a resurgence, finishing with 43 receptions for 673 yards and 8 touchdowns. In a game against the Dolphins, Giles shredded Miami’s defense and finished the game with 7 receptions for 116 yards and 4 touchdowns, with Don Shula remarking that he never saw a tight end dominate them so much. Despite the effort, it wasn’t enough for the Bucs to lose the game, as they lost 41-38. For his amazing efforts, Giles was rewarded with a trip to the Pro Bowl as well as being named team MVP.
Midway through the 1986 season, Giles was sent to the Lions. The Buccaneers, with a limited talent pool, finished 2-14 once more. Despite the blame being mainly on several players who weren’t as good as head coach Leeman Bennett thought they were, Culverhouse instead fired Bennett for the team’s failures. Giles criticized the move, citing that the Buccaneers had limited impact players and no amount of coaching could’ve fixed that. Despite the Bucs’ production falling, Giles finished decently, with combined totals from both teams being 37 receptions for 376 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Giles’ 1987 campaign had him only get 6 receptions for 62 yards. He was used sparingly in the 4 games he played in that season for the team. He was later sent to the Eagles, where he got 7 receptions for 95 yards and 1 touchdown that same year.
In 1988, Giles was in all 16 games, but was mainly used as a blocking TE. But he had one last hurrah: in a Monday night contest against the Giants, Eagles QB Randall Cunningham found Giles in the endzone for a touchdown after escaping Giants LB Carl Banks. It would be the only touchdown Giles scored that season.
In his final season as a player, Giles finished the year with 16 receptions for 226 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Giles was considered to be one of the best tight ends to play the game back in his heyday. Wide receiver and teammate Gerald Carter remarked that Giles could’ve been one of the best TEs ever if the Buccaneers coaching staff used him more.
He was later inducted into the Buccaneers Ring of Honor in 2011.
1980... Pro Bowl
1981... Pro Bowl
1882... Pro Bowl
1985... Pro Bowl
2011... Tampa Bay Buccaneers Ring of Honor
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