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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. Time for NFL's Roger Goodell to go

    Bucs

    Hello everybody, and welcome to … Wheel … Of … Punishment.

    Our first contestant today smoked a joint. What's the punishment? Spin that wheel.

    And it's … a four-game suspension.

    All righty, next up: a player who hit his wife. Spin that wheel. Two games!

    Uh-oh, our studio audience doesn't like that. Spin that wheel again. Indefinite suspension! Okay, that's more like it....

    FILE - In this May 20, 2014, file photo, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell speaks at a press conference at the NFL's spring meeting in Atlanta. Goodell is thinking big. Saying he wants to grow the NFL into a $25 billion business by 2027. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File) NY164
  2. Playoff system is a success, but FSU should be No. 1

    College

    You just knew this was going to happen.

    College football finally ditches the controversial BCS system and puts together a four-team playoff and now, every week, we have more bedlam than ever before.

    The fourth weekly college football playoff rankings come out tonight, and we have no idea what we'll see. It has been so wacky and unpredictable that you wonder if the committee is carefully poring over charts and statistics or merely pulling names out of a hat....

    FSU coach Jimbo Fisher
  3. Bucs' win a sneak preview of team Lovie Smith wants to be

    Bucs

    Best win

    This is how it was supposed to look all along.

    When Lovie Smith took over as head coach of the Bucs, and when he brought in veteran quarterback Josh McCown as quarterback, and when he told everyone that being a good football team in 2014 was possible, surely he had games like Sunday's in mind.

    An aggressive and dynamic offense. A swarming ball-hawking defense. Heck, even some nice special teams. Add it all up and you have, easily, the best Bucs performance of the season....

    The Bucs’ Josh McCown celebrates one of his two TD passes to Mike Evans in the second half.
  4. Florida's Muschamp was bad hire from start by Jeremy Foley

    College

    The easy thing to do, of course, is blame Will Muschamp. • The Florida football program has gone from national power to SEC roadkill and, naturally, you point the finger at the coach in charge. • So Sunday's announcement that Muschamp was out as Gators head coach surprised no one. • Muschamp had to go. • I think so. You think so. Obviously, the university thinks so. Everybody thinks so. • But don't lay all the blame on Muschamp. It's not his fault he couldn't hack it as Florida's coach. • Blame the guy who hired him. Blame athletic director Jeremy Foley. • Muschamp was a bad hire from the start. • Back when Muschamp was hired in December 2010, he was the hot-shot assistant out there and in line to be the coach of the University of Texas someday. • But, when you think about it, it's amazing Muschamp got the Florida job in the first place. He had never been a head coach at any level. Not college. Not high school. Not Pop Warner....

    Florida AD Jeremy Foley, left, hugs coach Will Muschamp after beating Florida State, but that was two years and 13 losses ago.
  5. For Mike Alstott, football and family bring new rewards

    Footballpreps

    ST. PETERSBURG

    In many households, the important conversations are saved for dinner time.

    And so, on this particular night, 11-year-old Griffin sat at the table and was about to have the big talk with Mom and Dad. Truth be told, this wasn't even his idea. His little buddy down the street was the instigator, and you know how it is with kids and peer pressure.

    "I want to play football," Griffin blurted out....

    Northside Christian head cCoach Mike Alstott , right, and his son, sophomore quarterback Griffin Alstott, chat while running drills with the offense during practice Tuesday afternoon. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]
  6. Jones: Three Tampa Bay pro teams, three different directions

    Lightning Strikes

    One team's coach is doing great. Another team's coach: not so much. And the third team is looking for a leader. Spanning the globe — well, both sides of Tampa Bay — to bring you the constant variety of sports, here's a Two Cents look at the men in charge of local teams.

    The Lightning

    Riding a six-game win streak, Jon Cooper's Lightning is tied for the best record in the NHL with 23 points. It is on pace for a franchise-record 125 points. Can it keep up that pace? Probably not. But the Lightning is racking up victories despite not having top defenseman Victor Hedman. Several other key players — Ryan Callahan, Brett Connolly, Alex Killorn — have missed time due to injury. And despite leading the team with 10 goals, Steven Stamkos hasn't been consistently dominant. Those goals have come in five games....

    Lightning head coach Jon Cooper, left, and Bucs head coach Lovie Smith, right. [DIRK SHADD | Times; BRENDAN FITTERER | Times]
  7. Forget about Bucs' passion; need to see wins

    Bucs

    Change to nothing

    Coach Lovie Smith walked into the postgame news conference frustrated and depressed. QB Josh McCown was in tears. WR Mike Evans kept repeating, "This stinks."

    Hey, love the passion. Great to see some fire in the belly and some genuine hurt over another loss. Know what else would have been nice to see? How about a victory?

    Smith can talk all he wants about having fourth-quarter leads and McCown can talk about overcoming adversity and everyone associated with the Bucs can talk about signs of improvement. But this was another bad loss. Not 56-14 bad like the last time these teams met. But it was still ugly....

    Head coach Lovie Smith leaves the field after the Bucs' 27-17 loss to the Falcons. [BRENDAN FITTERER | Times]
  8. Rays' managerial list lacks stars, but that's not necessarily bad

    The Heater

    No one jumps out at you. You don't see one name and say, "Right there. That's the guy.''

    The Rays put out a list Thursday of eight candidates to be their next manager. It's just the first list. More names could be added later.

    But for now, you see the initial list, you notice a couple of familiar names, you see a couple of outside-the-box surprises. But there is not a name that stands out as being the next can't-miss skipper of the Rays....

    There is one name on the Rays' list that is a little more intriguing than all the others, Tom Jones writes, and that's Raul Ibanez. [AP photo]

  9. Bucs put Mike Glennon in bad place

    Bucs

    TAMPA

    I'm not sure which is worse: the news that the Bucs are changing quarterbacks or how the news got out.

    One was bungled, and the other is a mistake.

    So here's the change: Mike Glennon is out as starter. Josh McCown is in.

    Who announced the change? Glennon. On the radio.

    That simply cannot happen.

    Coach Lovie Smith told the quarterbacks Tuesday that he was making a change. Glennon's brother sent out an angry tweet that suggested a change was coming. When Glennon was asked about it on 620-AM on Tuesday night, he broke the news like he was an ESPN Insider. He said McCown was starting....

    Mike Glennon, right, with receiver Vincent Jackson, hasn’t played especially well but at least he has a chance to improve.
  10. Maddon's departure from Rays to Cubs feels shady

    The Heater

    This whole thing stinks to high heaven.

    It smells rotten and it looks shady and it feels dirty.

    No matter how you slice it, it all just feels wrong.

    Joe Maddon is gone. It's official now. The Cubs introduced him as their manager Monday.

    He put on their hat. He put on their jersey. And that's when it truly sunk in.

    He isn't coming back to Tampa Bay next season. It's over. He belongs to someone else now....

    Joe Maddon, center, makes a statement as Chicago Cubs President Theo Epstein, right, and general manager Jed Hoyer look on after a press conference at Wrigley Field. [Getty Images]
  11. Bucs QB Mike Glennon continues to regress

    Bucs

    Worst position

    The Bucs lose again and, as always, it wasn't just one thing. You could point at players, coaches and, if you want to be whiny, an official or two. But let's face facts: This is a quarterback league and, right now, the Bucs just aren't good enough at quarterback.

    In a league where you have to score three TDs to give yourself a chance, the Bucs haven't scored more than 17 points in six of their eight games. And though they aren't loaded with playmakers, QB Mike Glennon is regressing....

    Mike Glennon is not giving much indication of being a QB that you build around. [AP photo]
  12. Florida's Muschamp gets a respite, for a day

    College

    JACKSONVILLE — Wasn't it just a minute ago when Gator Nation was about to feed head football coach Will Muschamp to real live gators?

    Wasn't it just the other day when Gator fans wanted to throw the entire offense into a real live swamp with anvils tied to their legs?

    Wasn't it just moments ago when this depressing era of Gators football seemed to be going to the Dogs … and Tigers … and Crimson Tide … and pretty much every other team in the SEC?...

    Freshman quarterback Treon Harris embraces Florida coach Will Muschamp, who beats Georgia for the first time.
  13. Greatest World Series pitching performances

    Ml

    As soon as Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval caught the final out of the World Series against the Royals on Wednesday night, some baseball fans thought about how the Giants had just won their third World Series in five years. But most baseball followers immediately turned their thoughts to the amazing pitching performance turned in by the Giants' Madison Bumgarner. Though it's easy to get caught up in the hype of something that just happened and go overboard with hyperbole, Bumgarner was so good that it is not outlandish to compare what he did to some of the greatest World Series performances. Bumgarner won Game 1, giving up only one run in seven innings. In Game 5, he threw a four-hit shutout. Then, on two days rest, Bumgarner came out of the bullpen in Game 7 to throw five shutout innings to close out the Series. He was named the Series MVP. He also was the National League Championship Series MVP, and he won the Giants' one-game wild-card playoff game against the Pirates with a complete-game shutout. So where does Bumgarner rank among the all-time World Series performances? Here's a look at some of the best single-season World Series pitching performances and where Bumgarner might rank....

    New York Giants pitcher Christy Mathewson, in a photo circa 1910, had three complete-game shutouts in the 1905 Series.
  14. Tom Jones: Bucs' loss their worst in a bad year

    Bucs

    Worst loss

    The Bucs have had a couple of embarrassing blowouts, but Sunday's overtime loss goes down as the worst of the year.

    They were coming off the bye week. They were playing a team that had lost three straight and had won twice this season. They were facing a rookie quarterback who looks every bit a rookie.

    And you still can't win? Even given extra time? The fact that the loss came in OT on a turnover makes it more painful but shouldn't erase the fact that the Bucs absolutely deserved it....

    Bucs players wander around the end zone after the Vikings scored in overtime to win on Sunday. [JIM DAMASKE | Times]
  15. Your Two Cents 2014-15 NBA preview

    Nba

    tom jones' two cents

    Time to tip off. The NBA season opens Tuesday night. LeBron James has gone back home to Cleveland. Los Angeles is ready for another NBA championship, though this time it's not the Lakers contending. It's the Clippers with a new owner. But the team to beat is the team that couldn't be beat last season: the Spurs, who are making a case to be one of the greatest franchises in NBA history. Here's our Two Cents preview of the season....

    Tim Duncan