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. 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....

    Derek Jeter has steered clear of controversy despite playing in New York.
  2. 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).
  3. 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.
  4. 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
  5. 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.
  6. 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....

    A disturbing number of fans stood up for former Raven Ray Rice at Thursday’s game.
  7. 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]
  8. 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....

    A new video shows what happened inside an elevator in Atlantic City in February, when Ray Rice punched his then-fiancee and knocked her out.
  9. Depressing facts about ugly Bucs loss

    Sports

    Most disappointing

    Let's be realistic. The Bucs won four games last season. So no one should be surprised that they opened 2014 with a loss against a Panthers team that won 12 games and the division a year ago.

    But this one stings because the Panthers, missing starting QB Cam Newton, were ripe to be beaten. Especially depressing is this thought: A team led by journeyman backup Derek Anderson managed to come into your stadium and outscore your offense, an offense that added all kinds of weapons through the draft and free agency....

  10. Shooting from the lip: Pat Haden's lapse in judgment; networks' NFL shows

    TV and Radio

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

    Worst behavior

    What in the world was Pat Haden thinking?

    The Southern Cal athletic director had a momentary lapse in judgment, but it should cost him his spot on the committee that will select the four teams that compete in the college football playoff....

    USC athletic director Pat Haden left the press box for the field to argue with officials during his team’s game against Stanford on Saturday.
  11. It's time for the Bucs to win ... now

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Do you know the worst thing you can say about the Bucs?

    Not that they are bad, although they have certainly been bad in recent seasons. Not that they don't have a future because, frankly, we don't know what the future holds.

    No, the worst thing you can say about the Bucs is that they are not relevant.

    It's the one thing no team ever wants to hear.

    No one cares. You're not on the radar....

    Lovie Smith is the Bucs' third coach in four seasons. [BRENDAN FITTERER | Times]
  12. NFL sidelines some surprising names

    Bucs

    Rough business, this NFL.

    One day you're a Pro Bowl player and the next you're wandering the streets, looking for work.

    Sometimes you're the flavor of the month only to find out that you're a flavor about to be discontinued.

    Forget what you did yesterday or back in college, what have you done lately, as in today?

    Job security in the NFL? There's no such thing.

    The 32 NFL teams trimmed their rosters to 53 last weekend to get ready for the season, which begins Thursday night. And there are some surprising names bouncing around at the moment....

    It feels as if some teams are passing on Michael Sam because of the perceived distraction, Tom Jones writes. [Getty Images]
  13. Shooting from the lip: ESPN's College GameDay excels again

    TV and Radio

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

    Best show

    Great to see the return of the best sports show on television — ESPN's College GameDay. Saturday's season debut didn't disappoint.

    There was a "Mean Tweets'' segment. Taken from a Jimmy Kimmel idea, college coaches such as Florida's Will Muschamp and Alabama's Nick Saban read mean tweets about themselves....

    South Florida running back Marlon Mack (5) runs the ball  for a touchdown against Western Carolina defense in the second half at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida on Saturday, August 30, 2014. South Florida defeated Western Carolina 36 to 31.
  14. NASCAR's Tony Stewart should sit out season

    Auto racing

    Worst decision

    Driver Tony Stewart will be back behind the wheel tonight at the NASCAR Sprint Cup race in Atlanta. It's his first time competing since the sprint car he was driving at a dirt track in upstate New York struck and killed fellow driver Kevin Ward Jr. on Aug. 9.

    I think Stewart is making a mistake. He should sit out the rest of the season.

    There is never going to be a perfect time to come back. But this unfortunate event is now a part of Stewart's legacy. Not just today, but years from now, I think it will look bad to remember that Stewart sat out only three races after Ward's death. Sitting out the "remainder of the season'' seems more respectful....

    Bucs coach Lovie Smith will be part of a BHSN live postgame show.
  15. Michael Sam story brings ESPN a shower of criticism

    Bucs

    A quick Two Cents tour around some of the more interesting sports topics of the day.

    All apologies

    When football player Michael Sam announced that he was gay before the NFL draft, knuckleheads immediately and shamelessly wondered what would happen when it came time for Sam to shower after practices and games.

    So on a week when Sam recorded two sacks in a preseason game for the Rams, ESPN reporter Josina Anderson talked about … Sam showering after practices and games. Anderson said on air that one player told her, " 'Sam is respecting our space.' From his perspective, he seems to think that Michael Sam is waiting to kind of take a shower, so as not to make his teammates feel uncomfortable.''...

    Michael Sam of the St. Louis Rams reacts after sacking the Cleveland Browns' Johnny Manziel earlier this month. [Getty Images]