This has been a long-overdue honor. Finally, John Lynch, one of the best safeties to ever play the game and one of the key defensive players of the Buccaneer Super Bowl-winning team of 2002, is in the Hall of Fame.
The Buccaneer’s defense of the late ’90s into the early 2000s was one of the best defenses ever to take the field. The knock-on that group, they had yet to win a championship. Well, they accomplished that in 2002.
As Tom Petty sang, “The waiting is the hardest part.” Lynch has been a finalist for the last eight years.
Lynch talked about the moment that he got the knock on his door from Howard Baker of The Hall of Fame to let Lynch know he would be an inductee.
“It was just pure joy. It was kind of disbelief, well, not disbelief because I felt like the time was coming. But I just had no idea it was about to happen because it was a COVID year.”
His defensive teammates Warren Sapp, Derrick Brooks, and coach Tony Dungy have already been inducted into the Pro Football Hall Of Fame.
There was not a more fierce hitter in the game than John Lynch.
Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders said that Lynch delivered the hardest hit in his NFL career.
Lynch began his career with the Buccaneers in 1993 and ended his playing days with the Denver Broncos in 2007. Lynch is a member of the Ring of Honor both in Tampa and in Denver. The only player to be a member of the Ring Of Honor with different teams.
Lynch finished his Buccaneer career with 788 tackles, 19 tackles for loss, 23 interceptions, seven forced fumbles, six sacks, eight fumble recoveries, and 42 passes defended.
He played in nine Pro Bowls and was a two-time All-Pro.
Lynch was presented for induction by his son Jake.
During his enshrinement speech, Lynch talked about the people who have impacted him and instilled in him the belief that he could become an NFL Pro-bowl caliber player.
Lynch was on his way to a baseball career with the Florida Marlins. Then he got a call from the great Bill Walsh that would change his life.
Walsh told Lynch that he had watched him play safety and that he could become a Pro Bowl-caliber safety. Lynch was dumbfounded after having played in about half of Stanford’s games the previous season.
Walsh played the tape for Lynch, and the rest is history. Lynch, a third-round pick of the Buccaneers in 1993, would become one of the best safeties ever to play the game.
Lynch left us with the message of trying to instill belief in people. The belief is that people can become great in whatever they choose to pursue.
Lynch is now the General Manager of the San Francisco 49ers. He has built a competitive 49er that made it to Super Bowl LIV but fell short against the Kansas City Chiefs.
All Buccaneer fans wish nothing but the best for Lynch in his role as GM. Except for when that may interfere with the success of the Buccaneers.