Will the Hall finally admit Bucs’ Lynch?

by Gary Shelton on January 4, 2020

in general

Saturday, 8 a.m.

Greatness isn't supposed to fade. Hope, however, does.

And so those of us who were convinced of John Lynch's excellence are here again, on the porch of the Hall of Fame, hoping someone finally answers the door for the ex-Buc safety.

You know how I feel. I think Lynch is deserving. The fact the Bucs played him so much in the box to try to help stop the running backs of his day instead of letting him roam center field and pad his stats shouldn't lessen his impact. You want to know how much Lynch meant to a decade of great defense? Ask Warren Sapp. Ask Derrick Brooks. They always thought the key to the Tampa Bay defense was having a great player at every level -- on the line, at linebacker and in the secondary.

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Sure, if you look at the Bucs as a one-year entity, it's easy to leave off Lynch. They won only one Super Bowl, and these days, the Super Bowl is the currency of the Hall of Fame. Win multiple Super Bowls, and a team gets a lot of players in. Win one, and it's harder.

So Lynch has waited. He's been a finalist for seven straight years, the longest of anyone on the list. The key reasons for the wait, one suspects, was the single Super Bowl win and the fact that Lynch didn't have a lot of interceptions (26). Again, that's not the way the Bucs played, and there was a 10-year stretch when they were the best defense in the league (look at the numbers). The Bucs' shortcoming in those days was offense.

Those who were here know that. Those who weren't will never get it. I saw a comment the other day that suggested that Lynch was the sixth-best player on that Bucs' defense. The writer, I think, has had too many concussions. It's modern fiction.

As always, the Hall of Fame finalists are an admirable bunch. I think Troy Polamalu is a shoo-in (although I heard Sapp give a passioned case for Lynch over him). Steve Hutchinson was a fine player.

Who else gets in before Lynch?

The old Rams' receivers, Isaac Bruce and Terry Holt, both deserve a spot. I think Bruce was the better of the two, slightly, but there is no way to judge if one will lessen the chances for the other.

I liked Edgerrin James, but he's missed before. I liked both of the undersized linebackers Sam Mills and Zack Thomas. I liked the other safeties: LeRoy Butler and Steve Atwater. Alan Faneca has been close before.

I think Richard Seymour will have to wait. Bryant Young may make it. Reggie Wayne as a fine receiver.

Besides Polamalu, however, I like Lynch over the rest of them.

Look, we admire the greatness that is closest to us. Someone who looks at the Alps every morning may not be that enamored of Mount Everest. And I covered Lynch. I saw his fire, the way his eyes would grow cold when someone praised the opposing offense too much. I was convinced long ago that he was a player for the ages.

In the end, does it matter? It doesn't change any of our lives if Lynch is thought of as a Hall of Famer or a very good player. His memory is secure. His place on those Bucs' teams is in place.

In my mind, he's a Hall of Famer.

I'm just waiting for the rest of the world to catch on.

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