Once again, three former Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers find themselves on the shortlist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. CB Ronde Barber, DL Simeon Rice, and S John Lynch have all made the semifinals since their eligibility 5 years after retirement.
John Lynch has been on this list since 2013 and has even made it to the final round, falling just short of the 80% required to be enshrined. Let’s hope this year Lynch finally receives what he’s earned, a bronze bust and gold jacket, along with the honor of enshrinement into the H.O.F.
Ronde Barber and Simeon Rice were semifinalists last year, in their first year of eligibility, and both are equally deserving of having their busts alongside Lynch and the other greats of the gridiron enshrined in Canton.
Sadly, it is quite unlikely that all three can make it to the Hall this year if any. Lynch has been snubbed for the Hall the past 5 years, and as a result, the likelihood of him receiving the highest honor in sport is becoming dimmer by the year. I think the player with the best chance of the 3 to get in will be Barber.
Ronde Barber’s historic career and Lynch’s bone-crushing hits have embedded themselves in the very core of every Bucs fan, and even other fans around the league. You cannot help but respect these two amazing players.
Ronde Barber has always been a household name in the Tampa Bay area and with his franchise leading 45 interceptions and 28 sacks, placing him 7th all-time in franchise history. Barber was the first player in the 40-20 club in NFL history. Barber’s signature play was the interception for a touchdown he had against the Philadelphia Eagles in the last game ever played at Veterans Stadium, that iced the 2002 NFC Championship game, sending our beloved Bucs to San Diego for Super Bowl XXXVII. Editors note: Ronde Barber is second all-time in franchise history for tackles with 1,028. He sits behind Hall of Famer and legend Derrick Brooks’ with his 1297 tackles. Barber is also, 4th in franchise history with 15 forced fumbles and is number one in franchise history with 166 passes defended. Barber also reigns in at number 1 in franchise history for interception return yards with 923, and returns for touchdowns with 923 yards and 8 TDs.
John Lynch was a freak of nature. The man could hit a player so hard that it made you cringe and cheer at the same time. To this day, there are many plays in which Lynch laid the wood on someone so hard that it’s difficult to understand how that the ‘victim’ got up, much less walked away. Whether Lynch led with his forearm or his helmet, which was how football used to be played, you knew the player was in for a devastating, leg wobbling hit. Lynch did not discriminate. Everyone was a target. If you wore the opposing uniform and played on the offensive side of the ball, you knew you had to keep your third eye on #47. Although Lynch doesn’t top the franchise record books, there is no denying his greatness. Lynch is a legend regardless of stats and should be in the hall one day.
Finally, there’s Simeon Rice. Rice was a key player on one of the greatest defenses in NFL history. that legendary game. Rice finished Super Bowl XXXVII with 2 of the Buccaneers 5 sacks and should be noted for having the second most sacks in the history of the franchise, 69.5, second only to Hall of Famer, DL Warren Sapp, who finished his career with Tampa Bay has recorded 77. Since Rice retired after the 2007 season, there have been a total of zero Buccaneers players to record a double-digit sack season.
I think it goes without saying, whether all or any of the trio find their way onto the final ballot, and ultimately into Canton, they are all enshrined in our hearts as Hall of Famers.
Edit by Harmeet Kapur