CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 22: L-R Former NFL players Brett Favre and Derrick Brooks at the EA SPORTS Madden NFL 13 Pigskin Pro-Am on June 22 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images for EA Sports)
The Pro Football Hall of Fame is coming for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of old. So far, the Bucs have one representative in the Hall: the late, great Lee Roy Selmon. But many, many more players could join the defensive lineman over the next few years as the Hall starts to open up. Let's quickly go through the realistic candidates for the Hall, and then you can let us know who you think will enter the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Warren Sapp, eligible in 2013
#99 was one of the most dominant interior linemen to ever play the game. He racked up a massive 96.5 sacks over his career, earned Defensive Player of the Year honors in 1999, was elected to 7 straight Pro Bowls, was named a first-team All-Pro four times and was named to both the 1990s and 2000s All-Decade Team. He's eligible next year and should be a slam dunk first-ballot Hall of Famer.
Derrick Brooks, eligible in 2014
The prototype at his position and the consummate professional, Derrick Brooks is the man who best personified the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the late 1990s and early 2000s. The linebacker was named to 11 Pro Bowls, is a nine-time All-Pro, won Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2002 and was named to the 2000s All-Decade Team. Eligible in 2014, he too should be an easy selection as a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
John Lynch, eligible in 2013
John Lynch was the hard-hitting safety who made the Bucs' defense go with his outstanding skills in run defense. Receivers feared going across the middle because of his punishing hits, and he was a key cog of the Bucs' defensive machine. He was named to 9 Pro Bowls and was named an All-Pro four times. Unlike Sapp and Brooks, he's not certain to be a Hall of Famer, but he has a good shot.
Tony Dungy, eligible in 2014
The coach who resurrected the Buccaneers, he created the defense and culture that ultimately won the Bucs a Super Bowl. He moved on to Indianapolis where he continued to win year in, year out - and won one Super Bowl himself. The lack of multiple Super Bowl victories could keep him out of the Hall, though.
Ronde Barber, still active
Ronde Barber is one of the most durable Tampa Bay Buccaneers to ever play the game, and a terrific cornerback who was a perfect fit for the Bucs' Tampa 2 defense. Recently he's shown a lot more versatility, and is now being moved to safety. He's been selected to five Pro Bowls, was named a first-team All-Pro three times and was named to the 2000s All-Decade team. He was the first cornerback with at least 20 interception and 20 sacks in a career, holds the record for the most consecutive starts by a cornerback and is the current leader for the most consecutive starts among all active players. He, too, more or less pioneered a position: that of slot cornerback, the role that got Charles Woodson a lot of recognition over the years, but has been Ronde's for his entire career.
Mike Alstott, eligible in 2013
Mike Alstott was a unique fullback, a decent blocker with the skills of a tailback and a very valuable player, especially in the passing game. He was named to 6 Pro Bowls and was named an All-Pro four times. He may also be one of the most popular Buccaneers of all time due to his punishing running style. Unfortunately, I don't think he was nearly a productive enough runner or good enough blocker to really ever make a realistic push for the Hall of Fame.
How many Bucs will go into the Hall of Fame over the next few years?
0 (7 votes)
1-2 (203 votes)
3-4 (352 votes)
5+ (58 votes)
620 total votes