John Lynch, Matt Millen & Doug Martin

January 30th, 2017


Tampa Bay’s only Hall of Fame voter pens columns for Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and he churns out his popular podcasts here Tuesdays and Thursdays. You can also listen to the podcasts on iTunes or Podbean


So I’m sitting at home Sunday evening, thumbing through the Bucs media guide, when word came down about John Lynch’s new gig.

Surprise, surprise.

What a kick in the head as I was in the process of finalizing my upcoming speech for Lynch’s candidacy to the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2017. Minutes after word leaked out that Lynch will be the next GM of the forlorn San Francisco 49ers, I sent him a text:

“You’re not supposed to scoop your presenter, John. Congrats, Ira.”

He said we’ll talk later in the week … and there’s a lot to talk about.

I’ve already reached out to a few selectors who assure me that these latest developments likely will have no bearing on Lynch’s Hall of Fame chances. That’s what I wanted to hear … because I don’t need any help.

Lynch’s Hall of Fame resumé speaks for itself, and it speaks rather loudly. I’m not even going to mention his new job during my presentation because 48 selectors are gathering in Houston to judge Lynch’s merits as a player.

In reading all the stories about how Lynch came to be hired by 49ers CEO Jed York, one important name has gone missing. My instincts tell me Lynch had a very important voice supporting his bid to succeed Trent Baalke and lead a 2-14 club out of the NFL wilderness.

That man’s name is Ed DeBartolo.

Not The Next Matt Millen

Just because DeBartolo is living in Tampa and no longer runs the 49ers, don’t think the Hall of Fame owner lacks input with his nephew, Mr. Jed York.

It’s a fact that DeBartolo loves everything about John Lynch, and he surely expressed those feelings to York last week when No. 47 interviewed for the job in Northern California.

It’s impossible to know in advance whether Sunday’s news will affect the way Hall of Fame voters view Lynch as a Hall of Fame finalist. But as I told Tony Dungy, “we’re in unchartered waters” heading to Houston.

Since I became the Tampa Bay representative in 2005, I can’t recall another example of big news breaking about a finalist in the week before the Hall of Fame meeting.

Lynch will be working with new coach Kyle Shanahan, who also has ties to the Buccaneers, having served on Jon Gruden’s staff.

Shanahan coordinated the league’s best offense this season in Atlanta, guided by Matt Ryan, and he might be the right guy to bring out the best in 29-year-old Colin Kaepernick, who quietly threw 16 TD passes and 4 interceptions in 2016.

If Shanahan doesn’t believe Kaepernick’s career can be salvaged, the 49ers could select a quarterback with the No. 2 pick in the draft.

Some media members are already comparing the hiring of Lynch to the example set by Matt Millen, who also lacked front-office experience when the Lions named him to oversee football operations in 2001.

Like Lynch, Millen was on the No. 2 Fox broadcast team when he was tabbed to run a struggling organization. It didn’t work out as Detroit went 31-84 before Millen was fired three games into the 2008 season.

Lynch is smart enough to know what he doesn’t know. He was well paid and well thought of at Fox and he wouldn’t have taken the San Francisco job unless he was convinced he could succeed.

Squaring Up With Doug Martin

I’m not betting against him, and I’m not betting against his chances of joining Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks in the Hall the day before the Falcons meet the Patriots.

In entering the Ring of Honor at Raymond James Stadium last November, Lynch said he will always consider himself a Buccaneer. To reinforce that statement, his first order of business as 49ers GM should be to trade stud defensive tackle DeForest Buckner to Tampa Bay even up for Doug Martin.

Hey, what are friends for?

Seriously, Buc fans are wishing Lynch instant success in San Francisco, preceded by success Saturday, when the Hall of Fame Class of 2017 will be announced.

This could be a heck of a week for the man Monte Kiffin once dubbed “The Closer.”

16 Responses to “John Lynch, Matt Millen & Doug Martin”

  1. JimBuc2 Says:

    First Buc player to exec. position. A wise decision, no ex-Buc I can think, excepting of course DB, has shown better poise and distinction than our our HOF John Lynch. Proud to be a Buc fan.

  2. Joeypoppems Says:

    Lol Buckner for Martin… I like the idea of Lynch being a double agent lmao.

  3. Dusthty Rhothdes Says:

    Again absolutely great person I just dont think he is a HOF, I dont think dungy definitely is either…so if lynch gets in, barber definitely getting in so you have 4 HOF players off that defense and maybe rice deserves a shot…so maybe 45% of the super bowl team defense is worthy of inclusion or mention as hall of fame, yet dungy couldn’t get to not one single super bowl? bucs should have had multiple super bowl appearances during that run…

  4. Max Says:

    “First Buc player to exec. position.” Wrong.

    Forgetting about Doug Williams and Shelton Quarles.

  5. Pickgrin Says:

    Thanks for the great insight Ira.

    I think Lynch getting this job seemingly out of nowhere can only be viewed as a positive by the HOF voters. It will likely not be considered in most voters thought processes – and I agree there is no need to even bring it up within your presentation unless you want to just casually mention it within the process of describing how “smart” he was (and is). This surprise news is not like a last second DUI or prostitution bust you have to deal with and probably address – if anything its a positive.

    I think Kyle Shanahan leaving Atlanta can only be a good thing for the Bucs. What’s next for them offensively – Raheem as OC??? LOL

  6. Pittbucfan Says:

    Congrats John Lynch!!!

  7. Leighroy Says:

    Easy on ol’ Raheem as OC for Falcons. Though he does have direction and knows exactly what he needs to do….

  8. pick6 Says:

    “Lol Buckner for Martin… I like the idea of Lynch being a double agent lmao.”

    it seems like a funny joke until you remember that one of Greg Schiano’s main goals in joining the bucs seemed to be to make some of our notable players available to Bill Belichick at a healthy discount

  9. David WC Says:

    One more instance of the NFL’s “good old boy network” rearing its ugly head. In what other field do you fall upward from Broadcaster to GM, with 0 front office experience? Like there aren’t qualified GM candidates who have FO experience and have been working toward this?

    Hmm, how do you think this went down?

    Mike Shanahan: “Hello, Jed.”
    Jed York: “Hey Buddy.”
    MS: “I need a FO job.”
    JY: “Yeah?”
    MS: “And my son (Kyle) needs a nice inexperienced non-meddling GM so we, I mean he, can build this team to my, I mean his specs.”
    JY: “I’m listening!”

  10. Rod Munch Says:

    If Lynch comes in and cuts Kaepernick he’ll instantly be the most popular GM in NFL history.

    As for Lynch, wow, I’d have taken him over Licht. Just keep the scouting department running, which has mostly done a pretty good job since 2008. Heck you could even have Dom do his player contracts and manage the cap, which sounds like something Dominick might end up doing with the 49ers. I don’t really have an issue with Licht but he doesn’t seem like anything special – I think Lynch will approach being GM the same way he did as a player and I think he’s going to mighty overachieve. But seriously, cut Kap, call him a POS, say all the other kneeling kucks can join Kap in the unemployment line, and tah dah, not only the most popular GM in football history, he’ll be the most popular person in the country! It won’t happen, but I like to think in John’s day, if he was playing Kap he’d have knocked his head off – which was legal then.

  11. Rod Munch Says:

    Oh I meant to say great article – as always. Love reading your stuff Ira, glad you’re still around and I can’t believe the terrible cut-rate Bucs coverage we get from the Times, but they’re going to go out of business any day now so you can’t blame for hiring 5th rate reporters. You can’t say that, but I can and it’s just my opinion. You and Roy are both top notch guys, keep doing what you’re doing!

  12. SB Says:

    Lol at all the cats claiming “good ole boy” stuff just because Lynch has 0 experience. Billion dollar organizations don’t become that way based on that premise. Was it a reach? Yes. Is it a risk that could set the franchise back Even further? Yes. Is there a reward quotient in this scenario? YES. Businesses are built on risk/ reward models. IMO the 9ers made this move because they believe that JL is Smart enough to use all of the Incredible contacts he has made over the year to Surround himself with the best possible staff to make his job easier. Dude is charismatic and connected, and Smart. Laugh now if you want but this move may not be dumb.

  13. gotbbucs Says:

    If Lynch comes in and one of his first moves is to trade Buckner for Martin, then he will be right on trajectory to be the next Matt Millen. What an awful trade that would be for the 9ers.

  14. Buccfan37 Says:

    Agree with Pickgrin, this move to GM should help Lynch in HOF consideration. I think he has about a 45% shot to get in.

  15. SB Says:

    Funny stuff for the regulars here. I had to buy Nos Bos a Noah Spence Jersey when Florida lost to FSU as many of you know. Well I paid up and a funny thing happened. Last yr a Saints fan that I met online lost a bet and owed me a ME13 Jersey. He never paid up. Until Today!!!!! I got my Jersey in the mail today.

  16. Artemis Rand Says:

    Martin Mayhew was the first Buc executive to my knowledge.