Tonight, a committee will elect up to seven outstanding NFL alumni to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. This years selection is of particular interest to Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans. Included in the finalists are Buccaneers’ linebacker Derrick Brooks (1995-2008), head coach Tony Dungy (1996-2001), wide receiver Tim Brown (2004) and safety John Lynch (1993-2003). Each had a exemplary career and left their marks on the NFL and the Buccaneers.
Probably the most well-known name from this group is Tony Dungy. In addition to leading the Buccaneers he also served as head coach of the Indianapolis Colts (2002-2008) and is now an analyst on NBC’s Football Night in America. He’s one of the most respected and beloved coaches in recent history. Dungy is often named as the best coach the Buccaneers have ever had. He was at the helm when they were at their best and was thought to have shaped the squad that won the Super Bowl in 2002 they year after he left the team. He is also responsible for developing the now iconic and widely used “Tampa 2” defense.
John Lynch was drafted a Buccaneer and played in Tampa for 11 seasons. He was a key part of the Super Bowl winning Buccaneers team and a leader amongst countless outstanding players. He was a nine-time Pro Bowler and was twice elected to the first team All Pro roster. He was a semi-finalist in last year’s Hall of Fame voting and is a favorite to be inducted this year.
Tim Brown spent the least amount of time with the Buccaneers. He played 16 seasons as a Los Angeles, then Oakland Raider. He’s essentially one of the best and most overlooked receivers in the NFL’s history. He was an impact player on both teams and was a nine-time Pro Bowler. He’s been in the running for the Hall of Fame five times before. This might be his year, but it may also be another year he just misses being inducted. No matter the outcome of this year’s vote, chances are he’ll wind up there eventually.
Finally, we have Derrick Brooks. Derrick Brooks is a super star. He was voted to the Pro-Bowl 11 times in his 14 seasons in the NFL and named to the All-Pro team nine times. He has more honors than you can count and he was one of the leaders on the Buccaneers’ 2002 Super Bowl Champion team. He is also a recipient of the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award and for the time he was in Tampa he was one of the faces of the organizations. It was a point of controversy when Raheem Morris (head coach starting in 2009) released Brooks and several other veteran players to shape a newer, younger Buccaneers squad. Brooks and Dungy are probably the two former Buccaneers that the fans most want to see honored. The inductees will be announced tonight during the NFL Honors broadcast, which will air on Fox at 8PM.