John Lynch “Hurt” By Teammates’ Hall Snubs

January 2nd, 2020

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Shafted. Again.

While John Lynch returns as a Hall of Fame finalist for the seventh consecutive year, Rondé Barber was shut out of consideration once again. Barber and Simeon Rice didn’t garner enough support when the 48-member panel returned their ballots and cut from 25 semi-finalists to the final 15 candidates.

Lynch, who has done masterful work as GM of the 49ers, will be back again in the meeting room for discussion at Miami Beach on Feb. 1, the day before the Super Bowl. As Tampa Bay’s representative for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, I will be preparing a seventh speech in an effort to have Lynch fitted for a gold jacket.

“I hurt for my teammates, Rondé and Simeon, because both are Hall of Famers in my mind,” Lynch told me by phone from San Jose. “I believe in due time, it will happen for them because they are deserving. As for me, maybe the seventh time will be the charm.”

Lynch has been in the discussion room more often than any of the other modern-era finalists for the Class of 2020. Guard Alan Faneca is back for the fifth time while Tony Boselli, Isaac Bruce and Edgerrin James have been named as finalists four times apiece.

John Lynch says he is “hurt” for teammates after they were denied again by the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Once Tony Dungy arrived and turned Lynch loose in 1996, the iconic Buc defense took off. He was the third leg of the triangle, and he had more responsibility in that historic defense than Derrick Brooks or Warren Sapp, who have already been enshrined in Canton.

Of Lynch’s 26 interceptions, 14 came in the fourth quarter and he made the Ring of Honor in both Tampa Bay and Denver, where he spent his final four seasons. He was named to nine Pro Bowls as an intimidating strong safety and acknowledged leader.

“When you were preparing for Tampa, you had to prepare to take care of John Lynch,” says Bucs consultant Tom Moore, who has coached in the NFL since 1977. “He could turn a game around and he was a dominant force as a football player. Statistics are often misleading. I judge a player by how much trouble he gives a defense or an offense. That’s a sign of greatness … and that’s what John Lynch did.”

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.”

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.

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.

“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.”

Barber is one of the most unique defensive backs in the league’s 100-year history, but he hasn’t advanced to the finalist stage in his first three years of eligibility. He was an All-Decade corner of the 2000s and became the prototype for the slot corner position so prominent in today’s game.

“Rondé was the best tackling nickel back I ever faced,” said former wide receiver and current NFL Network analyst Nate Burleson. “For his size, he was so physical and imposing. Along with that toughness was a very high football IQ.

Not this year for Simeon Rice, or Ronde Barber

“Calling him a ‘system’ corner doesn’t make sense because he’s a guy flourishing in a system at multiple positions. That ain’t about a system. That’s about a dog inside a man. Ronde’s a Hall of Famer.”

Rice arrived from Arizona as a free agent in 2001 and combined with Sapp to power a relentless pass rush. He posted double-digit sacks in each of his first five seasons with the Bucs before suffering a shoulder injury in 2006 that effectively ended his career at the age of 32.

Rice’s 122 career sacks rank 20th on the NFL’s all-time list and he registered seven sacks and four forced fumbles in five postseason games with the Bucs.

“He was the missing piece for our defense because he was a guy that could take the game over,” says Rod Marinelli, who coached Tampa Bay’s defensive line from 1996-2005. Some of the biggest games he had were against the very best players. He helped drive us to our Super Bowl championship. To me, that is what the Hall of Fame is all about. It’s not just the numbers. It’s about the guys that can get you to a world championship — and that’s what Simeon did.”

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Ira Kaufman launched his professional NFL beat coverage in 1979, back when Earl Campbell was the toast of the league and Lee Roy Selmon was defensive player of the year. After a lifetime at The Tampa Tribune, “The Sage of Tampa Bay Sports” joined in July of 2016. His twice-weekly podcast and three columns per week appear here year-round and are presented by Bill Currie Ford. Tampa Bay’s only Hall of Fame voter is a regular on SiriusXM Mad Dog Radio and a part of the FOX-13 Tailgate Sunday show, in addition to his other appearances. 

15 Responses to “John Lynch “Hurt” By Teammates’ Hall Snubs”

  1. Tbbucs3 Says:

    For whatever reason Simeon Rice is just not a household name on a national level.

  2. R.O. Says:

    I’m not sure what the threshold is for being a HOF’r is… Has been diluted for years. Edgerin James.. Zach Thomas this year. Seriously!!??

  3. tmaxcon Says:

    Lynch is hurt by the fact he played on a crap team coached by a 1 dimensional fool who could not field a complete team. Dungy the clown did far more harm than good. He wasted sapp and others because of his unquestioned offensive ignorance….lynch’s best years were in denver there is a reason he is working with a Shanahan and not a dungy the clown failure now.

  4. Jonathan Limpchimpi Says:

    “Pressure makes diamonds…or busts pipes.” Ira is more gemologist than plumber ( admittedly I haven’t seen him in slacks though 😉 ). This year Ira will likely get his 3rd ( or 4th…not sure if he was involved with Selmon or not ) player in. The two first ballot jobs were masterful and no slam dunks. Sapp was fortunate to get in before his “misbehavior”. Lynch’s “brand” is sky high given the 49er turn around ( not supposed to count but does ). Makes one wonder what a Shanahan/Lynch combo vs Koeter/Licht would look like in Tampa…

  5. Lynch is overrated Says:

    Maybe the traitor will make it as a GM with the niners Doubt it though he will move on to another team by then. The hall doesn’t want dirty players and he was a dirty player.

  6. FortMyersDave Says:

    If Rice and Barber played for big market teams they would both be enshrined already. Rice was amazing in Tampa and the desert and Barber getting snubbed is IMHO insulting.

  7. Alaskan Abdominal Snowman Says:

    You could say anyone is a system player. Every QB plays in a system, every player is in a system. Shouldn’t it be how well that player played in their system?
    There are many hall of famers who were on great teams but their numbers just don’t stack up. Lynn Swann is the first that comes to mind. John Riggins and Terrell Davis are more good players on a great teams.
    Fact of the matter is the Bucs are an afterthought and it’s turning into a popularity contest.

  8. Buc1987 Says:


    It’s going to take more time.

    To me Sapp and Brooks just got in a lil while ago….

    Give it time Ira.

    FortMyersDave is right we’re small market.

    Come see us at your favorite local Italian joint, we miss ya!

  9. LargoBuc Says:

    Lynch and Barber both deserve to get in. But the fact that Rice can’t even crack the final 15 just blows my mind. He was at the very least as good as Taylor and Strahan. One of the premier pass rushers of the late 90’s early 00’s.

  10. Rodney Munch Says:

    Even if Barber was a “system corner”… why exactly is that a bad thing? He was the prototype all-around Tampa 2 corner – and the Tampa 2 was the most important defense of its era. When you’re the top player at a position, some who defines the position in the most important defense of its time, how is that a bad thing?

  11. unbelievable Says:

    Barber changed the fkn game at that position.

    He’s got a ring, multiple pro-bowls and all-pros, and defensive stats that no one else in NFL history has achieved, STILL.

    Just shows you what a joke the HOF is that he can’t even get to the finalists.

  12. Buczilla Says:

    The process is biased by the “old guard” morons in the Northeast like Peter King. Our guys will get in once they pass on to the next life.

  13. Jean Lafitte Says:

    I’m certain they’ll all get in eventually. At least they’re all relatively young still.

    Get John in Uncle Ira.

  14. FireJasonLicht Says:

    2020 and we STILL have to endure TMaxipads diarrhea of the mouth?!?!

  15. NOLES Says:

    Lynch is overated—-

    That was the dumbest thing I may have read on this web site. I don’t ever recall John Lynch referred to as a dirty player. He would hit you and make snot bubbles come out but it was all within the rules.. typing crap like that shows me you are not a real Bucs fan, just someone looking to stir the pot. Please Lynch was a DOMINANT Safety.: