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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. Jones: Are Panthers the best ever with a Super Bowl win?

    Bucs

    Let's say the Carolina Panthers win Sunday's Super Bowl 50.

    Let's say quarterback Cam Newton throws over and runs through the Broncos defense.

    Let's say Carolina's defense kicks Denver quarterback Peyton Manning into retirement.

    Let's say the Panthers dominate the Broncos on offense, defense and special teams, and turn the biggest sporting event of the year into the biggest snoozer with a blowout victory....

    Terry Bradshaw leads the Steelers to a 35-31 win over the Cowboys in Super Bowl XIII in Miami.
  2. Jones: Could Cam Newton and Jameis Winston form next great QB duel?

    Bucs

    Immediately after Denver's upset of the Patriots in last week's AFC Championship Game, Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning met with New England coach Bill Belichick at the 50-yard line.

    "Hey, listen," Manning said in Belichick's ear, "this might be my last rodeo so it sure has been a pleasure."

    With that, Manning appeared to hint that he will retire after this Sunday's Super Bowl 50 against the Panthers....

    Cam Newton, left, and Jameis Winston, right, could make the Panthers and Bucs the next great rivalry in the NFL. [Getty Images; OCTAVIO JONES | Times]
  3. 'Sports Reporters' gives intriguing look at Winston story

    TV and Radio

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

    Most interesting conversation

    The story that continues to be on the front burner not only locally but nationally is the sexual assault allegation against Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston while he was at Florida State.

    Last week the university settled a federal Title IX lawsuit with the woman who says she was raped by Winston while both were FSU students in 2012. Winston said the sex was consensual. He was not charged. The university agreed to pay Erica Kinsman $950,000 and said it will make a five-year commitment to sexual assault awareness and prevention programs, and training for those programs....

    MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 31:  Novak Djokovic of Serbia holds the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup after winning the Men's Singles Final over Andy Murray of Great Britain during day 14 of the 2016 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 31, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images) 577969859
  4. Jones: NHL should be ashamed of John Scott's All-Star treatment

    Lightning Strikes

    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents on the world of sports.

    Most shameful

    Just when you think the NHL has gotten its act together, it does something idiotic to remind you that those in charge occasionally must eat stupid pills for breakfast.

    Have you heard the story of John Scott (left)? He was voted into today's All-Star Game by the fans. It started off as fans clowning Scott because he really isn't an all-star-caliber player. He's an enforcer. He fights. When it comes to actual hockey skills, he is near the bottom of the league. He has five goals and six assists in 285 NHL games....

    Associated Press  (1993)
  5. Cam Newton flap: part race, part ignorance, part old school

    Bucs

    There are two narratives when it comes to Panthers quarterback Cam Newton.

    One is he has evolved into the NFL's best quarterback and the league's most valuable player. The other is he has become the most polarizing figure in sports.

    Adored by some, abhorred by many.

    There are those who applaud his talents, but others who detest his celebrations.

    Some see only his freakish football skills, while others choose to focus on his dance moves....

    Cam Newton celebrates during the NFC Championship Game against the Arizona Cardinals at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina. [Getty Images]
  6. Jones: Steven Stamkos to Toronto makes sense

    Lightning Strikes

    When certain teams from up north come to Amalie Arena to play the Lightning, you can see the allegiances of the crowd based on the colors in the stands.

    You see red when the Canadiens, Blackhawks and Red Wings are here, orange when the Flyers are in town, dark blue when the Rangers visit and lots of black and gold when the Bruins and Penguins come calling.

    But you never can tell what the makeup of the crowd is when the Maple Leafs are in town, as they are tonight, because the color scheme of Toronto's uniform is the same as the Lightning's....

    Lightning captain Steven Stamkos, left, in the final year of his contract, continues to say he wants to remain in Tampa Bay.
  7. Shooting from the lip: Van Gundy on Cavs proves why he's best; NBCSN excels with EPL

    TV and Radio

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

    Best match

    There was no more entertaining sporting event over the weekend than NBCSN's Saturday morning coverage of the thrilling English Premier League match between Liverpool and Norwich City. In stoppage time, Norwich City tied the score, but Liverpool responded a short time later for an incredible 5-4 victory....

    Pro Football Hall of Fame finalist and nine-time Pro Bowl safety John Lynch speaks with reporters after Bucs co-owner Bryan Glazer announced that he will be the next member of the team's Ring of Honor during a news conference in Tampa, Fla., Friday, Jan. 22, 2016. (Will Vragovic/The Tampa Bay Times via AP)  TAMPA OUT; CITRUS COUNTY OUT; PORT CHARLOTTE OUT; BROOKSVILLE HERNANDO TODAY OUT    FLPET102
  8. Two Cents: Peyton Manning a shell of QB he used to be

    Bucs

    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents on the world of sports.

    Look at the four quarterbacks in today's NFL conference championship games: Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Cam Newton and Carson Palmer. Now, considering where they are right now, rank them from best to worst. There could be a debate about who is at the top among Brady, Newton and Palmer....

    Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James, left,  drives past Golden State Warriors?€š€™ Stephen Curry in the second half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Jan. 18, 2016, in Cleveland. The Warriors won 132-98. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak) OHTD110
  9. Jones: Lightning's Yzerman stays steady throughout Drouin saga

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Thursday was a pretty intense day at Amalie Arena.

    It ended with a rematch of last season's Stanley Cup final and, perhaps, a preview of this season's Stanley Cup final with the red-hot Lightning defeating the white-hot Blackhawks 2-1.

    It started with a hastily gathered news conference to go over the ugly twists and turns of the latest drama for a franchise that seems to have one soap opera after another....

    Lightning vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman looks down at the ice as he watches his team in September during NHL training camp at the Ice Sport Forum in Brandon.
  10. Jones: Drouin's heel turn a dumb move

    Lightning Strikes

    Jonathan Drouin seems like a good kid. And one day he might turn out to be a good NHL player.

    But Wednesday, he made a really bad mistake.

    He quit on the Lightning.

    Well, technically he quit on the Lightning's minor-league affiliate in Syracuse by refusing to show up for a game. He wants to be traded and wants nothing to do with the Lightning ever again.

    The third overall pick in the 2013 draft, likely acting on the advice of adults who should know better, messed up big time....

    Jonathan Drouin has been limited to 19 games with the Lightning this season because of injuries. He has two goals and six assists. In 89 career NHL games, he has six goals and 34 assists.
  11. Jones: Finally feeling Lightning will be okay

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — The Lightning came into the 2015-16 season as one of the favorites to win the Stanley Cup. In fact, before the season started, I picked the Lightning to win it all.

    But at the same time, I also made this prediction: We would get to January and the major storyline would be whether the Lightning would even make the playoffs.

    Well, here we are, midway through January, and the Lightning is no sure bet to make the postseason. That's just how hockey works....

    Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Ben Bishop (30), left, Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Nikita Nesterov (89), center, and Tampa Bay Lightning center Jonathan Marchessault (42) celebrate the Lightning victory over the Florida Panthers during the third period of Sunday's (1/17/16) game at the Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  12. Tom Jones' Two Cents: Best playoff game gets best broadcast team

    TV and Radio

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

    Best coverage

    Our luck that the NFL's best broadcast team — NBC's Al Michaels (top left) and Cris Collinsworth — had the best playoff game of the weekend — Saturday night's wild Cardinals overtime victory against the Packers.

    "I've never seen anything like this," Collinsworth said....

    BEVERLY HILLS, CA - MARCH 11:  Sportscaster Al Michaels attends the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences' 22nd Annual Hall of Fame Induction Gala at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on March 11, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California.  (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
  13. Tom Jones' Shooting from the Lip

    TV and Radio

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

    Best coverage

    Our luck that the NFL's best broadcast team — NBC's Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth — had the best playoff game of the weekend — Saturday night's wild Cardinals overtime victory against the Packers.

    "I've never seen anything like this,'' Collinsworth said....

  14. Jones: GM Jason Licht says Bucs' Dirk Koetter is 'right guy' (w/video)

    Bucs

    TAMPA — What a week it has been for Bucs general manager Jason Licht.

    The last time we saw him, he was standing at a lectern looking embarrassed, sheepish, shaken, even heartsick as if he had just done something that had cost him his best friend.

    Actually, that's kind of what had happened. Leaning on Licht's advice, the Glazers somewhat surprisingly fired coach Lovie Smith after two seasons....

    Dirk Koetter, above, says he and GM Jason Licht will work together as a team. “This is the way we both want it.”
  15. Jones: Koetter has Jameis Winston. Can he handle the rest?

    Bucs

    Old offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter is the new head coach of the Bucs, so let's get right to the heart of the matter, shall we?

    The news isn't as sexy as hiring Nick Saban or as intriguing as Jim Harbaugh or as interesting as Bill Cowher.

    But here are the only adjectives you care about: good or bad. Is this a good hire or a bad one?

    You might not like the answer, but here is it: None of us has the first darn clue....

    The Bucs hope their quarterback picks up where he left off last year and that will be much easier to do with Dirk Koetter, who knows Jameis Winston well, driving the offense and a playbook, which Winston knows well, serving as the owner's manual. [JIM DAMASKE | Times]