Tom Jones, Times Sports Columnist

Tom Jones

Tom Jones writes columns and television/radio commentary for the Tampa Bay Times' Sports section. He has covered everything from high schools to colleges to professional sports since starting with the St. Petersburg Evening Independent in 1986. After the Independent, Tom worked at the Times (1987-91), the Tampa Tribune (1991-96), the Times again (1996-2000), the Minneapolis Star-Tribune (2000-03) and returned for his third stint at the Times in 2003. Though he has covered all sports, Tom is a hockey writer at heart. He covered the Tampa Bay Lightning from its first game in 1992 until moving to Minnesota to cover the Wild for three years. He returned to the Times again to cover the Lightning until taking over as writer and editor for Page Two in 2006. He lists Herb Brooks, Lou Piniella and Wayne Gretzky as the most interesting personalities he has covered and the 2002 Winter Olympics as the best event he has covered. Tom co-hosts a sports talk show weekday mornings from 6-9 on WDAE 620-AM, 95.3-FM. He previously hosted a weekly sports roundtable show on Bright House Sports Network.

Phone: (727) 893-8544

Email: tjones@tampabay.com

Radio talk show (620-AM, 95.3-FM): Listen live

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  1. For Gators' Will Muschamp, Tennessee seems a must-win

    College

    It wasn't all that long ago that a Florida-Tennessee showdown was one of the biggest games of the college football season.

    Not this year. In fact, it has been a while since this game truly mattered in the grand scheme of the SEC. Saturday's matchup in Knoxville likely will have no impact on the SEC, let alone the national championship picture.

    But that doesn't mean this game has no implications. Actually, there's a lot riding on the outcome. What, exactly?...

    Will Muschamp looks on during the Gators' loss to Alabama in Tuscaloosa. [Getty Images]
  2. Bucs have a right to celebrate after breakthrough win

    Bucs

    TAMPA — One game, one win and, suddenly, everything is just peachy again.

    For a few minutes, it's easy to forget that the Bucs' problems still far outweigh their solutions.

    The offensive line continues to have issues. The injuries continue to pile up. There are still serious doubts about whether the new offensive coordinator knows what he is doing and whether the new/old/new quarterback has what it takes to be a consistently good NFL starter....

    "It felt good,''  Lovie Smith said of his first win as head coach of the Bucs. "It's a feeling you want to have again.'' [JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times]
  3. Mike Glennon should be Bucs' starter from now on

    Bucs

    Best choice

    The Bucs have themselves a starting quarterback.

    In the NFL, you're not supposed to lose your job because of injury, and the only reason Mike Glennon started Sunday was because starter Josh McCown is hurt.

    Forget tradition. This isn't about losing a job to injury. It's about losing a job because someone else is better. There is no controversy here. Glennon, not McCown, should start. From now on....

    There is no controversy here. Mike Glennon, and not Josh McCown, should be the starter. From now on. [Getty Images]
  4. Jeff Tedford's absence puts Bucs in a bad position

    Bucs

    TAMPA

    Time to start chewing some fingernails. This has all the makings of being a fiasco.

    The Bucs offense is now in the hands of a backup quarterback and, here's the spooky part, a backup offensive coordinator.

    Marcus Arroyo doesn't have the official title, but he has all of the responsibility of being the Bucs' offensive coordinator. He's now in charge of calling the plays for a Bucs team that isn't reminding anyone of the "Greatest Show on Turf."...

    Marcus Arroyo
  5. Start makes it clear that Bucs are in rebuilding mode

    Bucs

    TAMPA — This is what rebuilding looks like. This is what happens when you are starting over.

    You get beat by a backup quarterback. Then you get beat by a backup-to-a-backup quarterback.

    Then you go on the road against a pretty good team and get your doors blown off. You get beaten so badly that a national television audience wonders if you're the absolute worst team that plays games on 100-yard fields....

    Since general manager Jason Licht and coach Lovie Smith, pictured, took over in January, the Bucs have made 218 transactions. [Getty Images]
  6. Shooting from the lip: Too much Jameis Winston; Urban Meyer details end of Florida career

    TV and Radio

    Tampa Bay Times sports columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.

    Most overexposed

    Clearly, the Jameis Winston suspension was the major story line of Saturday night's Florida State-Clemson game, and ABC had no choice but to pay attention to it. But the network paid a little too much attention to it.

    While it might not have been ABC's intent, the consistent showing of Winston on the sideline surely only encourages the quarterback to believe he is bigger than the game and the rules don't apply to him. He believes he is a bigger-than-anything star, and ABC confirmed that Saturday night. It was stunning, really, how much Winston was on camera....

    FILE - In this Sept. 6, 2014, file photo, Ohio State head football coach Urban Meyer gestures on the sidelines during a game against Virginia Tech in Columbus, Ohio. Two days after a 35-21 loss to Virginia Tech, Meyer is taking steps to fix what's wrong with Ohio State, which has dropped from No. 8 to No. 22 in the rankings. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete, File) NY167
  7. Lovie Smith needs to loosen up with Bucs offense

    Bucs

    Just hours after the Bucs were creamed on national television by the Falcons, there were already calls by some disgruntled fans to put coach Lovie Smith (left) on the hot seat. Let's not be silly. No one is going to be fired after three games. No one deserves to be fired after three games. We should have known that it was going to take a while to fix all the issues that plagued a team that, let me remind you, won only four games last season. However, there are some disturbing trends when it comes to Smith....

    DIRK SHADD   |   Times
  8. Let's cheer a class act in Derek Jeter's last games at Trop

    Ml

    ST. PETERSBURG

    He was just a kid, an undersized, overmatched teenager who wondered what in the world he was doing. He would sit on the balcony every night at the Radisson Bay Harbor Inn out on the Courtney Campbell Causeway, counting cars and crying. Literally crying. • "It happened," Derek Jeter said. • He missed home. He missed his family. He missed being the baseball star he was in high school. Just another struggling prospect, he had way more strikeouts than friends. He barely had any hits. Jeter doubted he would ever make it as a professional baseball player. • Now, 22 years later, Jeter is walking away from the game, retiring as one of the very best to ever play. • Say goodbye to one of the good guys....

    Getty Images
  9. Bucs season already in doubt after two games

    Bucs

    Worst start

    That didn't take long. A season of hope has already turned into a season of doubt, and it took only two games.

    Forget the controversial final play Sunday and all the injuries that have piled up so far. The bottom line is the Bucs are 0-2 against a backup quarterback and a backup to a backup quarterback. And both losses came at home.

    Those other teams' backup quarterbacks have outplayed the Bucs' career backup who is posing as a starter this season with Tampa Bay. Josh McCown threw another costly and boneheaded pick Sunday to go along with the two what-is-he-thinking interceptions he threw in Week 1....

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (93) on the sidelines in street clothes after leaving the game with an injured left wrist against the St. Louis Rams at Raymond James stadium in Tampa on Sunday (09/14/14).
  10. Shooting from the lip: Cris Carter's emotional speech

    TV and Radio

    Tampa Bay Times sports columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.

    Most compelling moment

    By far, the absolute best moment of the weekend came on ESPN when Sunday NFL Countdown analyst Cris Carter (above) went on an impassioned rant about the Adrian Peterson story.

    Peterson is accused of beating his 4-year-old son with a tree branch, also called a switch, in May. This is a touchy subject. Many believe Peterson's form of discipline is his business. Peterson says he was raised with the belief of "spare the rod, spoil the child."...

    A boy holds a ticket for Sunday’s Vikings-Patriots game in Minneapolis featuring a photo of the Vikings’ Adrian Peterson, the running back indicted for beating his son and a primary topic on the NFL’s pregame shows.
  11. ROCKY BOTTOM

    U

    When USF coach Willie Taggart decided not to put names on the backs of his players' jerseys this season, he was doing them a favor. Who wants to be associated with this?

    USF football never has been this bad. It's unwatchable. Worse than that, it's irrelevant. And even worse than that, there seems to be no hope of it getting any better.

    The Bulls were crushed Saturday by North Carolina State....

    BOSTON, MA- SEPTEMBER 13:  Quarterback Tyler Murphy #2 of the Boston College Eagles drops back to pass against the USC Trojans during the first half at Alumni Stadium on September 13 in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Winslow Townson/Getty Images) 510850571
  12. USF Bulls sink to new depths

    College

    TAMPA

    When USF coach Willie Taggart decided not to put names on the back of his players' jerseys this season, he was doing them a favor.

    Who wants to be associated with this?

    USF football never has been this bad. It never has been this awful.

    It's unwatchable. Worse than that, it's irrelevant. And even worse than that, there seems to be no hope of it getting any better....

    South Florida Bulls fans are sparse during the game against N.C. State at Raymond James Stadium on Saturday, September 13, 2014. N.C. State defeated South Florida 49 to 17.
  13. CBS makes right moves on Ray Rice matter … mostly

    Bucs

    Times sports columnist Tom Jones gives his Two Cents on the Ray Rice story, including the media's coverage of it.

    Covering the Ray Rice story

    As the Ray Rice domestic violence story dominated the headlines last week, you had to think the NFL couldn't wait for actual games to be played so some of the focus would go back on the field. But then the first Thursday Night Football game on CBS happened to be in, of all places, Baltimore....

    Ray Rice, accompanied by wife Janay, first addressed the media at the Ravens practice facility in May.
  14. Beware, Josh McCown, Rams in a big rush to get to you

    Bucs

    TAMPA

    Maybe someone with the Bucs should assign a doctor to keep an eye on Josh McCown on Sunday.

    No joke.

    Remember last season? The Rams, with a front seven that is as ferocious as there is in football, sacked Bucs quarterback Mike Glennon seven times in a 23-13 victory three days before Christmas.

    Actually, sacked seems like a rather tame term. More like mauled.

    "I took some shots that game," Glennon said....

    Bucs quarterback Mike Glennon gets hammered by defensive end Robert Quinn during last season's game against the Rams. [DANIEL WALLACE   |   Times]
  15. Next step for NFL: Ban Ray Rice, oust Roger Goodell

    Sports

    Ray Rice should never play in the National Football League ever again.

    An overreaction? A rush to judgment? A knee-jerk decision?

    Tell you what: Go watch the video. Watch it now. It's disturbing and disgusting. It will turn your stomach. It's hard to watch, and that's exactly why it must be watched by everyone.

    This is what domestic violence looks like.

    It's a man balling up his fist and unleashing a brutal punch to the side of a woman's face, sending her viciously into the wall of an elevator. It's this woman lying unconscious on a dirty floor while her attacker stands over her, using his feet to move her motionless body into the hall....

    Ray Rice was present when now-wife Janay met with Roger Goodell.