Lynch Rewarded; Ronde Stiff-Armed

January 3rd, 2019

BY IRA KAUFMAN

For John Lynch, another opportunity. For Ronde Barber, another stiff arm.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame had its say Thursday and Lynch made the list of 15 finalists for the sixth consecutive year. As Tampa Bay’s lone representative on the panel, I will be making another presentation for the 9-time Pro Bowl safety when selectors meet in Atlanta on the day before the Super Bowl.

The news wasn’t nearly as cheerful for Barber, who once again failed to make it into the meeting room in his second year of eligibility.

This disrespect for an All-Decade cornerback is puzzling, especially with five defensive backs advancing into the final group.

I feel very happy for Lynch, who gets another shot to earn a bust in Canton next to former teammates Derrick Brooks and Warren Sapp. The competition is fierce, with fellow safety Ed Reed and tight end Tony Gonzalez assured of gold jackets in their first year of eligibility.

John Lynch

A maximum of five modern-day candidates can be elected in any one class. Gonzalez and Reed have two spots secured while another first-year eligible, Champ Bailey, is sure to receive serious consideration.

If all three make it to Canton, that would leave the other 12 finalists dueling for only two slots.

That’s a difficult scenario for Lynch, but he has been a finalist longer than anyone else in that meeting room, and that should work in his favor. The selectors keep bringing him back, suggesting he has solid support.

It’s my job to help him across the finish line.

Barber’s omission is tough to swallow for Buc fans and anyone who watched him define the position of slot corner.

His durability is historic for the position and Barber’s versatility is off the charts. He also turned in the biggest play in franchise history with that interception return in Philadelphia for a touchdown that clinched a Super Bowl berth.

Besides Bailey, Gonzalez and Reed, two other candidates are finalists for the first time — defensive lineman Richard Seymour and Tom Flores, who coached the Raiders to two Super Bowl victories.

Safeties have been traditionally overlooked by Hall of Fame selectors, but Brian Dawkins beat out Lynch a year ago and Reed is a slam-dunk for the Class of 2019. Lynch’s other competition at defensive back include Bailey, cornerback Ty Law and Steve Atwater, another hard-hitting safety.

“Jason, man, maybe if I wore that red jacket of yours I’d get more respect.”

Barber, who played his entire 16-year career with the Bucs, has advanced to the semi-finalist stage in each of the past two years, only to be eliminated with the cut from 25 to 15.

“Ronde did things other cornerbacks didn’t,” says Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, who coached Barber as an assistant in Tampa. “His involvement in defending the running game and the blitz game were really special and he was at the forefront of what we now call the nickel position.”

After two years of making it to the final 10, Lynch was eliminated in the initial cut from 15 to 10 in 2018. But he has retained enough support from the 48-member board to reach the finalist stage every year since 2014.

“For a guy who had everything,” Barber said, “John Lynch worked even harder for everything. He’s the guy I respected most in this league.”

7 Responses to “Lynch Rewarded; Ronde Stiff-Armed”

  1. DB55 Says:

    Atwater belongs in the hall so does Flores. I doubt Barber ever gets in and Lynch might make it only bc he’s a GM now. But congrats to Lynch he definitely belong in the hall after Atwater gets in.

  2. stpetebucsfan Says:

    Ronde might deserve this even more than Lynch although I obviously am a huge supporter of John as well as Ronde.

    But as Tomlin points out…he may not have invented it but Ronde was the one who really brought the “nickel back” to the the forefront of the NFL. And while certainly some other DB’s blitzed Ronde was outstanding.

    I just think looking back now after all the years that Ronde actually helped create some new ways of thinking about how DB’s can play the position.

    Lynch was great! Ronde though was a trend setter and game changer.

  3. Jack Burton Mercer Says:

    Ronde Barber is arguably the greatest corner who ever played. I consider him a better corner that Brooks was a linebacker. He is the second best Buccaneer ever after Lee Roy Selmon.

  4. BucsBandit Says:

    Lynch is a bit overrated, in my opinion. He had a ‘decent’ career but he was not on the same level as many of the best safeties like Reed, Lott, etc.

    Barber definitely deserves to be in the Hall. He brought something special to the position, had many career sacks, INTs, and big plays. He often made plays that changed the course of a game. Lynch, not so much.

  5. Rod Munch Says:

    BucsBandit – You’re an idiot, you should stop huffing glue as it’s clearly melted what was left of your brain.

  6. Rod Munch Says:

    If I was selling Lynch I’d sell him as being someone that really did overcome all odds to become an all-time great. This is a guy who wasn’t very good early on, he wasn’t a starter, he had marginal (at best) speed, he’s the guy who has the famous footage of him being juked out of his shoes by Sanders and there really wasn’t anyone that thought he was anything more than a depth safety a few years into his career. However he worked harder than anyone to make himself invaluable, to stick around, and once Dungy was here and he had a chance to consistently start he made himself a star by making impact plays. Anywho dummy who says Lynch didn’t make plays, or he was merely ‘decent’, is truly a stupid slob who knows as much about football as my niece who is still playing with My Little Pony. Lynch was the tone setting for that all-time great defense, if you don’t think him punishing guys, taking their heads off, wasn’t part of that defense brought to the table, again, you’re an idiot.

    But the story of Lynch should be a guy who overcame the odds, who didn’t have anything special about him other than his drive to be the best. Go back and listen to Lynch talking [email protected]# with Sapp on those films from 2002 – while Lynch was professional most of the time, watch those training camp videos of riding everyone- and talking trash – he had no issue keeping up with Sapp in that regard. He brought a huge amount of the swagger to that defense, that is THE best passing defense in the history of the NFL, period.

    For Barber it’s insane that he’s not getting more recognition, it’s just lazy sports reporters that going with the system corner BS. Regardless, even if he was just a “system” corner, he was literally the best “system” corner for the Cover 2 in the history of the game – and the cover 2/Tampa 2 is the most important defense of it’s day. When you’re the best of the best, that is literally what the HOF is all about.

  7. Fire Light Says:

    Barber doesn’t belong in the ring of honor. He’s a Jameis Bashing Babbling Bad Announcer who has tainted his non HOF Bucs legacy by being a Jameis Hater.