Former Buccaneers safety John Lynch was not elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday.
Many around Tampa Bay see that as a slight, especially since Lynch did not make it to the final round of 10, as he did last year.
But anyone claiming that he deserved to be inducted before Eagles great Brian Dawkins is making the wrong argument.
There is no doubt that Lynch, who played 11 seasons for the Bucs and four for the Broncos, has the credentials.
He was one of the NFL’s most feared tacklers. He was a leader on the field and in the locker room. He redefined the way the position is played.
So did Dawkins.
And by just about every way we can measure, he was more productive than Lynch.
More interceptions (37-26).
More passes defensed (120-51).
More forced fumbles (36-16).
More sacks (26-13).
More touchdowns (4-0).
More All-Pro selections (4-2).
One point in Lynch’s favor: He has a Super Bowl ring. Dawkins does not. Dawkins, though, played in five conference championship games. Lynch played in three.
For most of his career, Lynch played alongside two Hall of Famers (Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks). Dawkins did not (Richard Dent was a part-time player in Philadelphia in 1997, his final season and Dawkins’ second). He was the heart and soul of a generation of Eagles teams.
The case for Dawkins over Lynch is clear. A better argument for Lynch is one that doesn’t compare him with Dawkins: It seems silly that voters sometimes feel compelled to choose only one player from a position group.
Lynch should get elected eventually. Finalists tend to. Unfortunately for him, though, more worthy defensive backs will be eligible in the next few years — Ed Reed in 2019, Troy Polamalu in 2020 and Charles Woodson in 2021.
Statistics in this report are from Pro Football Reference. Contact Thomas Bassinger at [email protected] Follow @tometrics.