It's finally happened: the first Tampa Bay Bay Buccaneers of the golden age, the ones truly a part of the success from the mid 1990s through the Super Bowl win of 2002/2003 have been nominated for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. John Lynch and Warren Sapp are both on the list of Pro Football Hall of Fame nominees. Although that list is 120 players strong, both Lynch and Sapp are in their first year of eligibility and stand a chance of making the final cut. While Lynch will have a tough time convincing voters he's deserving over other nominees, Sapp should be a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
Warren Sapp made it to 7 Pro Bowls, was named a First-Team All-Pro four times and a Second-Team All-Pro twice, while adding a spot on the 1990s and 2000s All-Decade Teams and, most impressively, earning Defensive Player of the Year honors after an amazing 16.5-sack season in 1999. Sapp was a key player for the imposing Buc defenses of the late '90s and early '00s, truly the cog that made thate defense go. He left the Bucs in free agency after the 2003 season to finish his career with the Oakland Raiders, but he'll be most remembered for his time with the Buccaneers.
John Lynch has an imposing resume, but he wasn't a game-changing player the way Sapp was. Still, Lynch was an important part of the very same Buccaneer defenses, especially as a run-defender and a hard hitter over the middle in the passing game. With nine Pro Bowls and four total All-Pro selections he's no slouch in the accolades department, and with 26 interceptions and 13 sacks in his career he's certainly made a mark on opponents. It's doubtful that his resume is strong enough to make it in this year, though he has a shot in the long run.
In addition to those two players, seven other former Buccaneers were nominated. WR/KR Tim Brown (2004), WR Keyshawn Johnson (2002-03), WR Keenan McCardell (2002-03), T Lomas Brown (2002), DE Dexter Manley (1991), S Joey Browner (1992) and P Sean Landeta (1997) made it on to the list. Of these players, only Tim Brown stands a realistic chance of making it into the Hall of Fame this year.
Linebacker Derrick Brooks will be eligible next season, and he should be elected in his first year of eligibility. Fullback Mike Alstott was eligible this year, but the fan-favorite was not among 120 nominees.