The Tampa Bay Buccaneers like their Pro Football Hall of Fame players, and they like to boost them too. Last year, they really tried to get John Lynch in after years of him getting close but not in.
This year, they decided to focus on Simeon Rice, the pass-rusher we keep forgetting about. And Scott Smith makes a pretty convincing case. Read this:
Simeon Rice checks all the boxes for enshrinement. Taken as a whole, his career produced the type of numbers that have led to nearly every player at his position getting a bronze bust. He also was the best player in the NFL at his job for a sustained period, and his absolute peak years coincided with great success for his team as a whole. It is mystifying that he has received virtually no support for his candidacy in the five years he has been eligible.
Despite that really convincing argument, including the notion that almost every player with more sacks than Simeon Rice is in the Hall of Fame, I don’t think he’ll get in. It’s sad but true.
That’s not because Rice wasn’t good enough. It’s because he was a fairly one-dimensional player: he was an outstanding pass-rusher, but not a good run-stuffer. Which is fine, he wasn’t asked to be that guy, and it certainly didn’t hurt the Bucs’ defense—but it will hurt his Hall of Fame chances.
The other thing that’ll hurt him: the Bucs already have Derrick Brooks and Warren Sapp in the Hall of Fame. John Lynch has gotten close but not made it, and Ronde Barber might make it in soon, too. That’s a lot of players who all played on a single Super Bowl-winning defense. That defense was outstanding, but journalists (and they’re the ones making the Hall of Fame decisions) don’t like enshrining that many people from one team that only won one Super Bowl.
Which is why Rice probably won’t make it, even if he has the pass-rush production to warrant a spot in the Hall.