Toss The Numbers

November 2nd, 2016



John Lynch has a big night ahead of him, surrounded by family and friends at Raymond James Stadium.

An even bigger day looms ahead in three months.

On the day before the Super Bowl in Houston, a panel of Pro Football Hall of Fame voters will meet to decide on the Class of 2017. Lynch’s 15-year career will be judged by 46 members of the media and two former players who already boast busts in Canton — Dan Fouts and James Lofton.

Yes, for the first time in its 53-year history, the Hall is allowing former players to have a say in electing a new class. That’s a good thing, because the men who played the game bring a unique perspective to the process.

At the age of 45, Lynch will see his No. 47 raised to the stadium rafters next to eight other Buc legends already inducted into the Ring of Honor. He is expecting some of his former teammates to be there during a halftime ceremony that will be shared with thousands of fans who loved watching him play.

LynchWarren Sapp, who can’t wait to welcome Lynch into the Hall of Fame, was talking about No. 47 during halftime of Sunday’s game against the Raiders.

“He’s a dinosaur, he’s T-Rex,” Sapp said, rising from the table for emphasis.

Crunch Time

Given today’s emphasis on player safety, Lynch would have had to adjust his intimidating style. In Lynch’s words, receivers who ventured over the middle during Tampa Bay’s glory days weren’t entitled to “a free pass.”

There was a severe price to pay in an era when safeties roamed the NFL earth, seeking a big hit that could force a turnover and change the momentum of a game.

The Glazers said they would often turn to each other during crunch time of a close game and say, “We need a John Lynch moment.”

Lynch was a game-changer, pure and simple, although his 26 interceptions across 15 seasons isn’t a particularly impressive total for a safety. Brian Dawkins, eligible for the Hall this year, has 37 picks, 36 forced fumbles and 26 sacks. Ex-Steeler Donnie Shell intercepted 51 passes and he’s still waiting for his bust.

But you don’t judge Lynch by the sheer numbers. Besides, how do you quantify intimidation, all those passes dropped by Buc opponents who knew Lynch was closing in fast, with bad intentions?

Three Rings

Lynch made nine Pro Bowls, including four with the Broncos after the Bucs thought he was through because of a neck injury that required surgery. He has already been inducted into Denver’s Ring of honor, but make no mistake — John Lynch considers himself a proud Buccaneer.

Tony Dungy says Lynch had more responsibilities than any member of a Tampa 2 defense that was so good for so long. It should have been called the Tampa 3 because there were three key components: 3-technique defensive tackle, weak-side linebacker and safety.

Two are in the Hall, with Lynch on the doorstep. He made progress last year, reaching the final 10 for the first time.

As Tampa Bay’s lone Hall of Fame selector, it’s my job to get Lynch through the doors of Canton. With LaDainian Tomlinson topping the list of first-time eligibles, Lynch has a good chance of joining Sapp, Brooks and Dungy in the Hall.

And don’t forget about Ronde Barber, who can be part of the Class of 2018.

You can bet Falcons executive Rich McKay will be cheering during the halftime ceremony. He didn’t draft Lynch out of Stanford in 1993, but as Bucs GM, he saw Lynch emerge into an elite player.

First step, Ring of Honor. Next step, Canton.

16 Responses to “Toss The Numbers”

  1. SB with Jameis Says:

    9 Pro Bowls. Nuff said.

  2. ElioT Says:

    Still remember when he knocked his brother-in law out cold in Chicago (John Allred?).

    I was maybe ten years old and my dad told me “that’s how you play football son, ruthless on the field.”

    Where’s our ruthlessness?

    Really pisses me off that the Broncos have a statue of Lynch and beat us to the punch!

    Odds are the Sucs “take a huge sh*t” tomorrow night in honor of Mr. Lynch.


  3. Bird Says:

    He was a beast!

  4. AtlBucFanDan Says:

    I was fortunate enough to meet him and his wife in a tiny hole-in-the-wall restaurant back around 1998. I have a nice autograph on a Buccaneer lazer license plate as proof! A very nice and humble person off the field.

  5. SB with Jameis Says:

    I will Never forget that game either ElioT. The thing I liked the most is how he just looked at him and walked away.

  6. d-roca Says:

    Those who saw him play at the old sombrero will never forget those days. Great player, huge hitter, nice guy. Get him in Ira

  7. BucTrooper Says:

    There are at least 3 signature John Lynch games I can think of. The loudest ovation I EVER heard for a player in 36 years in Tampa was the game when the Broncos came back to Tampa with Lynch.

    Ever notice how Gerald McCoy doesn’t have a signature game?

  8. BuccaneEric75 Says:

    Lynch has a great shot this year. I’m glad he didn’t stick with baseball.

  9. I know why Says:

    Oh yes, great and powerful Ira, get Lynch to the HOF since you are the reason, another media person thinking they are the reason for a players success. I’m sure your influence as a fired sports writer had a lot to do with Brooks making the Hall. Back to the real story, I hope so hard that Lynch makes it, his window is closing due to so many new players coming of age. I know one day he will make the Hall, but if not this season it may take 20 years until the senior committee puts Lynch where he belongs….Canton.

  10. SB with Jameis Says:

    Ever notice how Gerald McCoy doesn’t have a signature game?
    Name ANY Bucs defender outside of Leroy Selmon that didn’t play with John Lynch, Ronde Barber, Warren Sapp, Simeon Rice, Derrick Brooks, Booger McFarland, that has a Signature game. As I stated the other night the only DL that the Bucs have drafted since McCoy are Akeem Spence and who?
    If you want to single McCoy out as a scapegoat then you are myopic at best. Blame the people that put scout team players next to him. Dude has put up Great numbers despite being double teamed always. He can’t “win” games by himself. Neither can Jameis for all that matter. This team has too many holes to single out one.

  11. SB with Jameis Says:

    All in all though. McCoy IS declining. He is having to work harder than anyone on the line and we still can’t create pressure. I am having Culverhouse type of memories right now. Why do you draft a guy so high and not get him any help???? OH WAIT. we drafted a QB last yr and didn’t get him any help either. What could possibly go wrong.?

  12. cmurda Says:

    Sorry about the off topic but Joe Maddon with all the wrong decisions and the curse is strong as ever. Cubs blowing this thing. So glad the Yankees traded Aroldis. Not clutch.

  13. SB with Jameis Says:

    Joe Maddon is prolly pretty happy he isn’t in Tampa anymore.

  14. SB with Jameis Says:

    Curse is GONE!……………for the Cubs at least.

  15. cmurda Says:

    Wow. Cubs persevered. Happy for Maddon and the Cubs and their fans. Awesome series. Back to football now. Go Bucs tomorrow night.

  16. DrHoagy Says:

    Lynch was part of a monster defense with HOF caliber and Pro Bowl caliber players, it is easier to have a signature game with a great supporting cast, not so much as a lone wolf. The McCoy bashing is the signature of the loud mouth know nothing Bucs fan who is nothing more than a beer guzzling alchoholic and at best a schizophrenic, bi-polar, maniac, incapable of critical thought.
    Amazing how an article about John Lynch is quickly turned into another McCoy bash-a-thin. Sad, very sad.