Make us your home page

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

  1. Koetter: QB Jameis Winston will start Sunday vs. Bills


    After five days of uncertainty, Jameis Winston will be starting at quarterback on Sunday as the Bucs play at Buffalo, coach Dirk Koetter announced Friday afternoon.

    Bucs QB Jameis Winston, shown against the Patriots two weeks ago, will start Sunday at Buffalo after being sidelined with a shoulder injury last week. Dirk Koetter announced that he was starting after watching him throw at practice Friday.
  2. Florida football has become something to be endured, not enjoyed


    The Jim McElwain era at Florida is something to be endured, not enjoyed.

    Florida Gators defensive lineman Khairi Clark (54) leaves the field after the Florida Gators game against Texas A&M, at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, in Gainesville, Fla. The Florida Gators lost to the Texas A&M Aggies 17-16 MONICA HERNDON   |   Times
  3. Cannon Fodder podcast: Most important stat in Bucs-Bills game


    Greg Auman talks about the uncertainty at quarterback for the Bucs as they go to Buffalo in his latest Cannon Fodder podcast.

    Interceptions, such as this one by Brent Grimes against Arizona, will be the most important stat in Sunday's game.
  4. Dirk Koetter sounds Bucs alarm: 'They're the players that we have'


    The other day, Bucs defensive coordinator Mike Smith was asked about the lack of production and pressure from the defensive line, especially off the edge.

    Then it happened.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Vernon Hargreaves (28) takes the field for the start of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers game against the New England Patriots on October 5, 2017 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla.
  5. Superiority complex: USF continues to battle schedule, expectations


    Does USF deserve its No. 16 national ranking? Coach Charlie Strong says there's no doubt. He expects that his Bulls can match up with any Division I-A program. (Octavio Jones, Times)