The Hall of Fame will reduce its list of semifinalists to a list of 15 finalists in January, and a maximum of five of these players and contributors will eventually be admitted to the Hall of Fame in August.
Warren Sapp and John Lynch are the first players of the famed Tampa 2 defense and the Bucs' golden era to be considered as semifinalists for Hall of Fame induction, and each player is in their first year of eligibility. Sapp has the best chance of being inducted, as the big man is arguably the best three-technique defensive tackle this league has known. With seven Pro Bowls, four first-team All-Pros, a Defensive Player of the Year award and being named to both the 1990s and 2000s All-Decade teams, Sapp's credentials are beyond reproach. His best season came in 2000, when he threatened the all-time sack record, recording 16.5 sacks and winning Defensive Player of the Year.
Crowning his career with a Super Bowl at the end of the 2002 seasons certainly won't hurt, but there's a remote chance the grumpy and colorful defensive tackle will be forced to wait because of his treatment of the media over the years. Still, he should be a first-ballot Hall of Famer and I would be shocked if he isn't giving a speech in Canton next season.
John Lynch has less of a chance, sadly, although his list of honors is impressive. Nine Pro Bowls, four All-Pro selections and a perennial spot on highlights of the league's hardest hitters, Lynch was impressive throughout his career, both with the Bucs and the Denver Broncos.
The two Buccaneers will be going up against some heavy competition, including Larry Allen, Jonathan Ogden, Michael Strahan, Cris Carter, Roger Craig, Terrell Davis, Kevin Greene, Aeneas Williams and Bill Parcells.
In addition, wide receiver/kick returner Tim Brown is among the nominees. Brown played for the Buccaneers for one season. The Bucs also have one more shoe-in Hall of Famer coming up next season, when Derrick Brooks will be eligible for induction for the first time.