Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Jones: Who is the next Bucs Hall of Famer?

 

John Lynch, who had two interceptions, celebrates the Bucs 16-3 victory. It's the only time the Bucs have beaten the Steelers. 

 [Kevin White | Times]

December 13, 1998

John Lynch, who had two interceptions, celebrates the Bucs 16-3 victory. It's the only time the Bucs have beaten the Steelers. [Kevin White | Times]

Tony Dungy, the coach who turned around the Bucs franchise and laid the groundwork for their only Super Bowl title, will go into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday night. He became the fourth member of the Hall to have spent a good chunk of his career in Tampa Bay, joining Lee Roy Selmon, Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks.

Who's next is now a conversation that involves two players who were a part of the Bucs' so-called "glory days'' that started under Dungy and ended with a title under Jon Gruden. Those players: John Lynch and Ronde Barber. Lynch has been a finalist for the Hall, while Barber will be eligible starting in 2018.

Lynch's chances seem to be gaining momentum even though he played a position that hasn't gotten much respect from the Hall. Only seven pure safeties have reached the Hall. Lynch's window might be shrinking because safeties Troy Polamalu and Ed Reed likely will be first ballot Hall of Famers when eligible. Lynch needs to get in before he gets caught in a numbers game behind Polamalu and Reed.

Is Lynch a Hall of Famer? Those who covered him believe he is, and his nine Pro Bowls are certainly give him a number that carries a lot of weight. I still see Lynch as a borderline guy. A good safety. A really good safety.

An all-time great? One of very best ever? Hmm, not quite. But that's just a quick gut-reaction answer and I have no quarrel with those who think he belongs.

Meantime, Barber is the only member of the NFL's 25-40 club, meaning at least 25 sacks and 40 interceptions. Pretty cool stat, but kind of an oddball one because not many ever played in a defensive scheme to create those kind of numbers. There are a ton of those manufactured stats that can build up a player, but just because they might be members of a very exclusive club doesn't necessarily make them a Hall of Famer.

Is Barber a Hall of Famer? Again, like Lynch, he was very, very good. I just don't know he reaches the level of a Hall of Famer.

Here's the other thing. Dungy, Sapp and Brooks are already in. If you think Lynch and Barber deserve to make it, too, you're now talking about five members of a team that won only one Super Bowl. Maybe Super Bowls shouldn't be factor when determining a player's Hall status, but still, to put in five from one team, including four from a defense that produced just one championship, might more generous than the Hall is will to admit.

Jones: Who is the next Bucs Hall of Famer? 08/06/16 [Last modified: Friday, August 5, 2016 7:19pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. New Bucs player murals go up at Raymond James Stadium

    Blogs

    Each summer, it's a sign that training camp is soon to arrive at One Buc Place: the changing of the huge player murals on each corner of Raymond James Stadium.

    Bucsquarterback Jameis Winston is back for a second year in a row with a corner mural at Raymond James Stadium.
  2. Jordan Spieth wins British Open (w/ video)

    Golf

    SOUTHPORT, England — Someday, perhaps soon, there will be a plaque at Royal Birkdale for Jordan Spieth, much like the one off the 16th hole that celebrates Arnold Palmer and the 6-iron he slashed out of the rough in 1961 to win the British Open and usher in a new era of golf.

    Jordan Spieth, right, comes from one back of Matt Kuchar, left, after 13, going birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie-par to win by 3.
  3. Fennelly: Brutal weekend could be start of something worse for Rays

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Well, that was lovely.

    Brad Boxberger suffers his second loss in the three-game series, this time by allowing back-to-back homers in the eighth inning when called on to protect a 5-3 lead. “Just bad pitches,” he says.
  4. Wesley Chapel hockey camp impresses youth players, parents

    Lightning Strikes

    WESLEY CHAPEL — As a 17-year-old Triple-A hockey player, MacCallum Brown regularly plays against elite talent. As a Palm Harbor resident, he often has to travel to face that talent.

  5. Rays journal: Rays gamble on Sergio Romo's track record, heart

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Some of RHP Sergio Romo's numbers this season with the Dodgers were the worst of his career, yet the Rays feel he can be a good fit for their bullpen.

    LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 26:  Sergio Romo #54 of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws a pitch in the 9th inning against the Los Angeles Angels at Dodger Stadium on June 26, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)