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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


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

  1. Deflategate ruling should cost Roger Goodell his job


    In football terms, this was more than just a loss. This was a blowout, a rout, an upset of historic proportions.

    This was an embarrassment.

    In the game of Deflategate, not only did Patriots quarterback Tom Brady beat NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, he ran up the score.

    What happens when you're on the wrong end of a blowout? What happens when you continually get embarrassed?

    You lose your job. You get fired....

    Patriots fans get their wish — for now — when it comes to quarterback Tom Brady not having to serve a four-game suspension. The NFL is appealing.
  2. Jones: Great expectations might be asking too much


    There are a whole batch of things that can get a college football coach fired. Or, at the very least, get his seat a little toasty.

    Recruiting scandals. Player arrests. Academic fraud. All not good.

    Right up there, however, are expectations. Specifically, high expectations. Nothing can sink a coach's ship more quickly than failing to meet expectations.

    Expectations of the boosters, of the fans, of the student body, of the media....

    Willie Taggart, entering his third year as USF’s coach, took over a wreck of a program and needs more time to rebuild.
  3. Tom Jones: Bucs offense keeps coordinator Dirk Koetter up all night



    Dirk Koetter didn't get a lot of sleep Saturday night. • The Bucs' new offensive coordinator did a lot of tossing and turning. His offense didn't have the best of nights against the Browns. • Ah, who are we kidding? • "We stunk," Koetter said. • No argument there. With rookie quarterback Jameis Winston scrambling for dear life, the Bucs offense stalled right out of the starting gate and never really did find its stride. • Of course, if you want to make excuses, there are plenty. • It was only preseason. Winston is playing on a tender ankle. The offense was pretty vanilla, saving the real tricks for the regular season. I mentioned it was only preseason, right? • Koetter wasn't buying. • "Everything is an excuse," he said. "Bottom line: we stunk. Not good enough in any phase. … This is a team game and we were terrible on offense. It's not good enough in any aspect." • All righty then. Hey, give Koetter points for honesty. Now for the Bucs to get some points, he needs to have an equal amount of urgency. His offense needs to figure out a way to move the ball. In a hurry....

    Getty Images
  4. Shooting from the lip: ESPN's Schilling sub; where's the tennis movie; Tiger still moves needle

    TV and Radio

    tom jones' two cents

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

    With Curt Schilling serving a suspension from Sunday Night Baseball because he went on Twitter and compared extremist Muslims to Nazis, ESPN made the best of a bad situation by bringing in Jessica Mendoza (above) to replace Schilling for Sunday night's Cubs-Dodgers game. Mendoza is an Olympic gold medal-winning softball player and has worked on ESPN during the College Softball World Series. She also has appeared on Baseball Tonight, but her first major-league broadcast was last Monday's Diamondbacks-Cardinals game....

  5. Jameis Winston gives final glimpse of ups and downs ahead


    TAMPA — Jameis Winston walked up to the line of scrimmage facing third and 11 at his 24. No sooner had the ball been snapped than he was under siege from a swarming Cleveland blitz. Pressured and perplexed, Winston carelessly threw a ball up for grabs, and Browns cornerback Charles Gaines grabbed it.

    Awful decision. Dreadful throw. Horrible result.

    Just minutes later, on his next pass, Winston dropped back into a well-protected pocket, surveyed his prospects and confidently fired a dart to sprinting Vincent Jackson for a 26-yard gain....

    TAMPA, FL - AUGUST 29:  Quarterback Jameis Winston #3 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers gets sacked by strong safety Ibraheim Campbell #30 of the Cleveland Browns, defensive end Billy Winn #90 and wide receiver Vince Mayle #85 during the first half of the preseason game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Cleveland at Raymond James Stadium on August 29, 2015 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Scott Iskowitz/Getty Images) 565963999
  6. Rays just don't feel like playoff team

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — It was one month ago to the day that I used this space to essentially write the Rays off for 2015.

    The offense was sputtering as it always does. The starting pitching was showing a few cracks. The bullpen was leaking oil.

    The Rays were exactly .500 and 3½ games back in the wild-card race. They certainly weren't out of it, but it didn't feel like they were in it, either....

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer (22) after the top of the fifth inning of the game between the Minnesota Twins and the Tampa Bay Rays in Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, August 26, 2015.
  7. This preseason performance does count, sort of


    TAMPA — The NFL preseason is a complete waste of time.

    The games don't count, so the results are meaningless. Teams rarely break out all of their tricks, so the performances are worthless. For the most part, the guys playing a bulk of the games won't be playing on 100-yard professional football fields much longer.

    In fact, not only are the games inconsequential, they can be hazardous. Ask the Packers, who lost top receiver Jordy Nelson for the year after he tore his knee in a preseason game. Ask the Steelers, who lost center Maurkice Pouncey in the same game with an ankle injury. Ask all the teams who have seen seasons shattered with major injuries to significant players in insignificant games....

    Bucs rookie quarterback Jameis Winston helps give Monday’s game some rare preseason importance.
  8. Tom Jones' shooting from the lip


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

    Biggest surprise

    Before the season, I predicted that Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez would have a decent season: 20 homers and 70 RBIs. Well, he's blowing through those projections. He has 26 homers and 69 RBIs. He's on pace for 34 and 91 — incredible numbers for a 40-year-old who sat out all of last season after being suspended for PEDs....

  9. Parents plague youth sports more than participation trophies


    So now we know what's wrong with kids these days: Trophies. Steelers linebacker James Harrison thinks so. He refused to keep trophies given to his sons, ages 6 and 8, for participating in a youth league. Harrison wrote on Instagram: "While I am very proud of my boys for everything they do and will encourage them till the day I die, these trophies will be given back until they EARN a real trophy. I'm sorry I'm not sorry for believing that everything in life should be earned, and I'm not about to raise two boys to be men by making them believe that they are entitled to something just because they tried their best." Harrison isn't alone. An HBO Real Sports feature last month suggested we are raising a generation of spoiled, entitled, arrogant brats because we award them with trophies just for showing up, even if they finish last. Many out there agree. This is crazy....

  10. FSU's Jimbo Fisher looks to put bumpy offseason behind him


    It hasn't been the best of offseasons for Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher.

    He lost 11 stars to the NFL draft, including his Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback, Jameis Winston, who is now trying to rescue the Bucs.

    Off the field, things got uglier when Fisher's players started slapping around women.

    A projected team leader, quarterback De'Andre Johnson, was kicked off the team after a video surfaced of him punching a woman at a bar. Then Fisher's best running back, Dalvin Cook, was suspended after reports he hit a woman outside a Tallahassee bar....

    In this Dec. 6, 2014, file photo, Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher kisses the trophy after defeating Georgia Tech in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game in Charlotte, N.C. [AP photo]
  11. Tom Jones' shooting from the lip


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

    Best criticism

    I hope local baseball fans realize how lucky we are to have Brian Anderson calling Rays games on Sun Sports. There can't be many baseball color commentators better than BA. Loaded with personality, Anderson is funny, open and engaging, and best of all, he has a high baseball IQ with the ability to share what he knows with the viewer....

  12. For starters, Jameis Winston all over the map


    MINNEAPOLIS — For a quarter and a half, the best thing you could have said about Jameis Winston's debut with the Bucs is that it didn't count.

    Good thing. The kid was lousy.

    Seven drives. Nine passes. Just two completions. An interception that led to a Vikings score. A couple of botched snaps. A mere four first downs.

    Not exactly the start Bucs fans wanted to see from the young man charged with saving the franchise....

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston throws against the Minnesota Vikings during the first half of a preseason NFL football game Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone) MNPS107
  13. Jones: For NFL, it's not all bad. Check the bottom line.


    I'm starting to wonder why, exactly, we all love the National Football League so much.

    If it's not a player hitting his fiancee (Ray Rice), then it's another hitting a child (Adrian Peterson). If it's not a player accused of hitting his girlfriend (Greg Hardy), then it's a player definitely hitting a teammate (the former Jets backup who punched out QB Geno Smith).

    There's Aldon Smith, released by the 49ers last week after numerous arrests for DUI, hit-and-run, felony weapon possession, firing shots in the air and just general bad behavior. There's last week's Hall of Fame induction, which had a somber feel because inductee Junior Seau was not there. He's dead from having committed suicide, perhaps the result of a brain disease caused by repeated blows to the head, a topic that continues to cast a dark cloud over the sport's future....

  14. Kevin Cash is the perfect manager for Rays

    The Heater


    Let's say we were naming the best managers in baseball right now. Who would be No. 1?

    There are plenty of good ones out there — San Francisco's Bruce Bochy, Cleveland's Terry Francona, Mike Scioscia of the Angels and Mike Matheny of the Cardinals among them.

    But the best? I'd say Joe Maddon. Look at what he did with the Rays. Look at what he's doing with the Cubs. Players love him. Fans love him. What's not to love? He's cool, interesting, smart. He's a winner....

    Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash (16) watching the action during the game between the Cleveland Indians and the Tampa Bay Rays in Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Tuesday, June 30, 2015.
  15. Tom Jones' shooting from the lip


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

    Biggest loss

    The world of sports lost a legend Sunday when Frank Gifford passed away from natural causes at his home in Connecticut. He was 84.

    Gifford was a Hall of Fame football star with the Giants in the 1950s and '60s, but most remember him best for being a groundbreaking broadcaster. What made him special? He was one of the rare former athletes who spent much of his broadcasting career as a play-by-play announcer instead of a color commentator....

    Tom Brady