The busts of Tampa Bay Buccaneers that reside in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio are limited, with just the sculptures of Lee Roy Selmon, Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks prominently displayed.
But that number could be growing soon, as two former Bucs made the cutdown to 25.
On Tuesday night, the Hall announced next year’s semifinalists, and former head coach Tony Dungy, and hard hitting safety and fan favorite John Lynch, are among those that will be debated for election.
Dungy was hired in 1996 after former Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson and former Gators head coach Steve Spurrier turned down the job offered to them by the Bucs new owner Malcolm Glazer. Dungy coached the Bucs from 1996 to 2001 and led them to four playoff appearances. Dungy, who was fired by the team following the 2001 season, was then hired by the Colts where he went on to became the first African-American head coach to win a Super Bowl. Ironically the win came against the Chicago Bears, who was coached by current Tampa Bay head coach Lovie Smith in the game.
Lynch was known for his ferocious style of play and hard hits on the field, but a gentle personality once the game was over. Lynch played 11 seasons for the Bucs, then four more for the Denver Broncos. The former Stanford star finished his Tampa Bay career with 973 tackles, which ranks him fifth all-time in team history.
The 2016 class will be announced on January 31 but both Lynch and Dungy face some tough competition, as former Packers QB Brett Favre is almost certainly a first ballot Hall of Famer. Others who the Bucs duo will have to compete against include Terrell Owens, Steve Atwater, Roger Craig and Jimmy Johnson, just to name a few.
Buccaneers.com Senior Writer Scott Smith recently published an excellent case for Lynch on the teams website and you can read it here.
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, the beach and family time.Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org