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


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  1. Bucs have a right to celebrate after breakthrough win


    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]
  2. Mike Glennon should be Bucs' starter from now on


    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]
  3. Jeff Tedford's absence puts Bucs in a bad position



    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
  4. Start makes it clear that Bucs are in rebuilding mode


    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....

    Over the final 13 games of the season, the Bucs will need to discover if some of their youngsters — notably rookie wide receiver Mike Evans — can be building blocks.
  5. 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....

    ABC shows suspended quarterback Jameis Winston, celebrating Florida State’s win, 48 times during the game.
  6. Lovie Smith needs to loosen up with Bucs offense


    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....

    Head coach Lovie Smith of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looks on against the Atlanta Falcons during a game at the Georgia Dome Thursday in Atlanta. [Getty Images]
  7. Let's cheer a class act in Derek Jeter's last games at Trop



    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
  8. Bucs season already in doubt after two games


    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).
  9. 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.


    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....

    Quarterback Steven Bench walks off the field after an “unwatchable” loss.
  11. USF Bulls sink to new depths



    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.
  12. CBS makes right moves on Ray Rice matter … mostly


    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.
  13. Beware, Josh McCown, Rams in a big rush to get to you



    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 rookie QB Mike Glennon spent a lot of time facedown against the Rams last season.
  14. Next step for NFL: Ban Ray Rice, oust Roger Goodell


    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.
  15. Depressing facts about ugly Bucs loss


    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....