Canton Crossroads For John Lynch

January 6th, 2017



John Lynch is standing at the Canton crossroads.

As one of 15 modern-era finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Lynch’s case will be heard in front of the Selection Committee for the fourth consecutive year.

And because the Class of 2018 is loaded with first-time eligibles like Ray Lewis, Randy Moss, Brian Urlacher and Ronde Barber, this is Lynch’s best shot to join Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks in the Hall.

Lynch has serious competition at the safety position from former Eagles standout Brian Dawkins, who has better numbers than No. 47. My argument in front of 47 other voters will be that Lynch had more impact — and I’ve got plenty of ammunition in that regard.

Of Lynch’s 26 career interceptions, 14 came in the fourth quarter. When the game was on the line, the Glazers would often turn to each other and anticipate a “John Lynch moment” that led to a Tampa Bay victory.

Once Tony Dungy arrived and turned Lynch loose in 1996, that Buc defense took off. He was the third leg of the triangle, and he had more responsibility in that historic defense than Brooks or Sapp.

It should have been labeled the Tampa 3 instead of the Tampa 2 because that scheme doesn’t work without a safety like Lynch. Let’s be honest, 14 years later, Buc fans are still looking for the next John Lynch.

“John could make plays on the ball or play in the box and hit like a linebacker,” says fellow Hall of Fame finalist Kurt Warner. “That’s what made him so special. He stood out in both areas, and you couldn’t figure out how to take advantage of him.”

Hall of Famer Brett Favre says Lynch’s football intelligence separated him from his peers.

“We always had a cat-and-mouse game going against that great Tampa defense, and Lynch was very good at it,” Favre says. “He was also a head hunter, like Ronnie Lott. He wanted guys to look over their shoulders — and that’s what happened.”

Inside The Politics

Why is this year’s vote so crucial?

While you don’t make the final 15 unless you are deemed special, this is not an overwhelming class.

LaDainian Tomlinson is widely considered a first-ballot Hall of Famer and I expect him to make the Class of 2017. Dawkins was a big-time player, but he shouldn’t vault past Lynch, who has been eligible since 2013.

Lynch took a major step a year ago when he survived the initial cut from 15 to 10. That’s the same progress Dungy showed in 2015 before entering Canton the following year.

Warner is a strong candidate, along with Terrell Owens, Terrell Davis, Joe Jacoby and first-timer Jason Taylor.

The safety position has been underappreciated by the Hall and even though senior candidate Kenny Easley should make it through this year, his best days came 30 years ago.

Free Reign, Versus Long Reign

Lynch was an intimidator during an era when safeties roamed the middle, seeking to inflict pain and separate players from the football. Barry Sanders, never known for hyperbole, said Lynch occupied a place in your mind.

Unlike Dawkins, Lynch’s candidacy is not based on individual statistics. He played a disciplined role in an iconic system while Dawkins had free reign in Philadelphia.

What cannot be disputed is Lynch’s impact on his team. From 1996-2003, the Bucs boasted a top 10 scoring defense each year with Lynch anchoring the secondary.

In Lynch’s first three years with the Broncos (2004-06), Denver ranked in the top-9 in scoring defense.

That’s 11 consecutive seasons of defensive domination — an eternity by NFL standards. This isn’t the 1985 Bears or the 2000 Ravens … this is sustained excellence.

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

It’s time for another John Lynch moment.

27 Responses to “Canton Crossroads For John Lynch”

  1. Bucsfanman Says:

    I’m a homer but John deserves it!

  2. CreamsickleBananaHammock Says:

    I’m as big a Bucs fan as any of us, and a HUGE John Lynch fan, but…..

    He doesn’t belong in the HOF. He was a very very very good player, but not HOF. Was he ever the best in the league at his position? Did he actually force offensive coordinators to gameplan around him the way that Brooks and Sapp did? The answer is no. The guy was great, and an important part of that Bucs D, but he doesn’t belong in the HOF. At least not before Steve Atwater or Brian Dawkins.

    IMO the only other Buc that deserves to be in the HOF is Ronde Barber. He was the best nickel corner to ever play the game, and whenever you’re “the best ever” at something you deserve to be in…best Kicker, best Punter, hell, in my opinion the best punt cover gunner or long snapper deserves to be in the HOF

  3. KC WickCityPictures Says:

    Ira Kaufman, may the spirit of Johnnie Cochran possess you when you make that case. If Lynch makes it in, it will be a phenomenally proud moment for fans of the Bucs, for fans of smart defensive football, and for those who deeply admire a hard-working good guy like 47.

  4. Pickgrin Says:

    “Lynch had more impact” – Literally!

    Get-R-Done Ira. You can convince these guys that Lynch deserves to be honored as one of the best to ever play his position.

    A suggestion:
    Include snippets of the video from Super Bowl 37 where Lynch was miked up and obviously having a blast – like a little kid out there playing in the biggest game of his life – and bringing home the hardware.

  5. Bucsfanman Says:

    It’s hard to argue CBH!
    I actually agree that Barber is a better HOF candidate than Lynch. I’m a homer though. Go #47!

  6. Stpetebucsfan Says:

    BTW there was something at the beginning of Lynch’s career I would like to bring up. Lynch was discovered by Sam Wyche not Tony Dungy.

    In TD’ first year we thought Lynch was the starting safety but Tony apparently wasn’t that impressed with Lynch because he brought in his own guy from KC to start. Fortunately for the Bucs and TD that guy got injured early and TD had to go to Lynch and the rest is history.

    I’m a TD admirer but he made many many mistakes of evaluation of players and coaches. Does anybody believe he would have drafted Sapp after the weed story broke?

    That’s why when people say Gruden won with Dungy’s players…uh not really…many of the corps came from Wyche.

    I hear Creamsickle and certainly respect that point of view. But IRA kind of won me over on the podcast….the difference between Dawkins and Lynch.

    Lynch was part of an iconic NFL D for all times. And not just a one year wonder like the Bears great D or the Ravens Super Bowl D’s….in their Super Bowl years I certainly believe those two teams could argue the greatest defense but for long term performance it’s the Buc’s D that was iconic. Lynch helped anchor that incredible defense.

  7. Bucsfanman Says:

    @Stpete- That argument right there gets my blood boiling. I don’t know why we can’t honor Tony’s accomplishments while giving Gruden credit for his SMH!

  8. The Buc Realist Says:

    Bucsfanman is right!!!!!! Rhonde Barber might be the greatest Buc ever to put pads on!!!!!!

    Go Bucs!!!!!!!!!

  9. DB55 Says:

    Does Dawkins have a SuperBowl ring? Nuff’ said

  10. CreamsickleBananaHammock Says:


    I haven’t listened to the podcast yet, but I’ll give it a listen with an open mind

  11. Pickgrin Says:

    That’s a very good point about the longevity SPBF.

    The Buccaneers decade long run of playing dominating defense year in and year out is unmatched in the modern era of football. (and may never occur again).

    Only the Steel Curtain from the 70s approached that length of dominance. (but of course they won 4 SBs during their reign. The Bucs should have won at least another 1 or 2 during our period of greatness – and Bucsfanman – that’s exactly why Dungy was shown the door despite all he had done to get us to the precipice).

    Lynch was one of a trio of centerpiece players who were the heart and soul of that dominating Championship level defense. Sapp and Brooks (1st ballot HOFers) were 2/3’s of that trio and #47 deserves to take his place alongside 99 and 55 in recognition of the greatness that they – together as a core group – achieved.

    An entire defensive scheme (“Tampa 2”) does not get named after a group of players that only play well together for a couple of years….
    (Ira – Feel free to use that last sentence or some paraphrase of it in your presentation)

  12. Stpetebucsfan Says:


    It’s not an argument I would make. I think Wyche got his record with HIS players…TD with HIS…and Gruden with his.

    A team is build over years and at the end of the day it’s scoreboard. Chucky won
    TD did not. So I’m not one to diminish any actual achievement…Gruden certainly has the actual achievement of an SB.

    Let’s hope Dirk gets the next one.

  13. 813bucboi Says:

    tony has a ring

    chucky has a ring

    END OF STORY!!!!!!!…..GO BUCS!!!!

  14. Chris Says:

    Simeon Rice deserves the Hall more than Lynch. I love Lynch, but he was not as dominate, and other than being miced up for the Super Bowl, made no significant plays on the biggest stage, Rice however, along with Greg Spires and Sapp, made Gannons life a living hell for the first three quarters. It’s why he was chucking it up blindly for Dexter to get an MVP.

  15. Chris Says:

    But of course, he didn’t pander to the media and isn’t as TV popular as as Strahan or Lynch, so he never, ever gets t h e mention he deserves

  16. Chris Says:

    The Tampa two didn’t become historic until Rice came on board

  17. SB with Jameis Says:

    That’s 11 consecutive seasons of defensive domination — an eternity by NFL standards. This isn’t the 1985 Bears or the 2000 Ravens … this is sustained excellence
    T-Totally the reason he deserves in.

  18. Negative Jeff Says:

    Not sure Lynch would succeed in today’s NFL. Knock out hits are illegal and Lynch’s lack of speed and coverage skills would cause him a lot of problems. Imagine him trying to cover Kelsey from KC. No way Jose!

  19. Miko Says:

    Wow. How did that team not win multiple Super Bowls…have to shake my head thinking about that defense….I’m too lazy to look up the game books but I know for a fact there was a season in particular, be it 99, 02 or another playoff season that every week, in November-December he made a big play to end the game like a baseball closer….

  20. Miko Says:

    @negative Jeff…haha…baloney, you didn’t watch too many games did ya?..he could and did play free safety(center field)…no problem in coverage…

  21. duthsty rhothdes Says:

    lynch isnt a hall of famer and neither is dungy… totally think ronde should be, game changer and epitome of the cover 2 corner

  22. yrbndr Says:

    Miko is right! Lynch accomplished what he did in that context… In todays game he would have adjusted and been equally as dominant! No doubt! Are you kidding me? On a side bar the Bucs should have won 1-2 other Super bowls with our defense if it weren’t for TD’s offensive myopics… I think TD is great btw but he had blinders on when it came to bringing an offense to the table.

  23. BringBucsBack Says:

    Let Barry Sanders make the presentation.

  24. Stpetebucsfan Says:


    Wow. How did that team not win multiple Super Bowls

    Can you say Q.B.!

    Yes defense wins championships but you have to have a QB and an offensive minded HC who doesn’t played scared trying to protect his D. Gruden v TD

    This team had some of the worst OC’s I have ever seen. Or perhaps I should say inexperienced OC’s. Clyde Christiansen? Mike Shula…both doing OK now but wow did they get their knowledge by making mistakes with the Bucs!

  25. Buc1987 Says:

    StPete…I’ll also add, because our team relied on the D to win games for them week in and week out. With a mediocre O those teams win multiple SB’s. Sadly it was never mediocre. Until Gruden raised it to an average O. Average did it.

    Least that’s how I remember things. Yes could have been more SB’s. Lynch surely gets in then. I think he will, but it may take up to 10 years. Saying he belongs in the HOF right now, might be a little homerish I think. I just think he needs to marinate a little bit more. So I’ll stick by the 10 years.

  26. Buc1987 Says:

    Love em though…oh I do love John Lynch like family.

  27. Big Irish Section 318 Says:

    Bravo Ira! Outstanding tribute!
    I raise a shot of Jameson Whiskey to one of the greatest defenses in NFL history…….THE LYNCH MOB!!!