The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have an opportunity to add to their list of NFL Hall of Famers.
The league announced Thursday that former head coach Tony Dungy and safety John Lynch were each among the 15 finalists who will be considered for election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame when the Hall’s Selection Committee meets in San Francisco on Saturday, Feb. 6.
This is the third consecutive year that both Dungy and Lynch have been named finalists for selection to the Hall of Fame. Dungy is in his third year of eligibility, while Lynch is in his fourth.
The Bucs are two of 15 modern-era finalists, joining kicker Morton Andersen safety Steve Atwater, coach Don Coryell, running back Terrell Davis, guard Alan Faneca, quarterback Brett Favre, linebacker Kevin Greene, wide receiver Marvin Harrison, tackle Joe Jacoby, running back Edgerrin James, wide receiver Terrell Owens, tackle Orlando Pace and quarterback Kurt Warner.
Quarterback Ken Stabler and guard Dick Stanfel are senior finalists and owner Edward DeBartolo made the list as a contributor.
The Buccaneers sent out a press release announcing their nominees Thursday night at 8:10.
Dungy coached Tampa Bay for six seasons (1996-2001), helping lead the team to the playoffs in four of his six seasons. His 54 wins are the second-most in franchise history and his .563 winning percentage is the best of any coach in team history. After leaving Tampa Bay, Dungy went on to coach the Indianapolis Colts for seven seasons (2002-08), winning Super Bowl XLI and becoming the first ever African-American to win a Super Bowl as head coach. Dungy finished his tenure with the Colts as the franchise’s all-time leader in both wins (85) and winning percentage (.759)
Lynch was drafted by Tampa Bay in the third round (82nd overall) of the 1993 draft out of Stanford. He spent 11 seasons with the Buccaneers (1993-2003) and four more with the Denver Broncos (2004-07). A nine-time Pro Bowl selection and four-time All-Pro, Lynch played in 224 career games, with 191 starts, totaling 1,277 tackles, 26 interceptions, 13 sacks, 16 forced fumbles, eight fumble recoveries and 100 passes defensed. Lynch also started all 12 postseason games he played in, registering 71 tackles, two interceptions and 11 passes defensed. He was also a member of the Super Bowl XXXVII Champion Buccaneers.
The Buccaneers have had a finalist selected for Hall of Fame enshrinement in two of the past three years, with Derrick Brooks (2014) and Warren Sapp (2013) each being selected in their first season of eligibility.
Tougher road to hoe for Lynch, but Dungy is perceived as a trailblazer and will probably make it.
Faneca, Favre, Warner, and Greene look like locks. Coryell and Atwater probably get in before Dungy and Lynch, but time will tell.
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