It was a long time coming if you ask anyone who really watched the late 90s and early 2000s Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Tony Dungy, Derrick Brooks, and Warren Sapp were already in. Now it was time for John Lynch to get his spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Not even COVID-19 could delay it another year.
With the aid of his son Jake, the legendary quarterback turned safety unveiled the bust which will live in Canton, Ohio for generations to come. And with the six minutes he had at the podium, Lynch took the time to thank all of the people who helped him get to where he is today, dating all the way back to the seventh grade for starters.
“It takes a lot of belief to get to this stage,” Lynch said. “However, belief is not something that simply happens. It has to be nurtured. It has to be nurtured. A note, a pat on the back, a piece of advice, coaching, these are the things that foster belief in ourselves.”
Lynch’s wife Linda who he’s known since the seventh grade was the first to be recognized. The Hall of Famer told the crowd about the notes she’d leave for him before every game.
Read that again. Not most games, or a lot of games. Every. Game. Lynch says through his fifteen-year career and nine years with Fox, she didn’t miss giving him a note before each one.
Lynch gave the letters credit for helping him reach the mindset needed to do all the great things he’s accomplished.
A pat on the back...
Dennis Green is credited with helping Lynch make the transition from quarterback to safety while at Stanford.
It was another great coach, Bill Walsh, who showed Lynch he could play the position at it’s the highest level.
Lynch recounted a time when Walsh called the young defenseman and told him he was their best player on that side of the ball.
He showed him five plays according to Lynch. And then he showed Ronnie Lott making a similar type of play.
In his speech, Lynch indicated the film and belief of Walsh in his playing ability are what turned him from baseball, towards the NFL.
And we are forever grateful.
A piece of advice...coaching...
Coaching matters. We hear it all the time, and when one of these great players takes the stage for their culminating moment, we get to hear about the specific coaches who’s guidance and advice led to the greatness in each of them being realized.
Lynch credited plenty. Monty Kiffin, Jon Gruden, Mike Tomlin, and more. But there was one he singled out above the rest. Arizona State Sun Devils head coach, Herm Edwards.
“Herm had a vision for the way I should play the safety position,” Lynch said. “He encouraged me to play with the passion, the joy, physicality, and instincts that defined my game. Herm, you were also the first to tell me I could have a bust someday in Canton, but only if I believed it. We’re here Herm.”
He also told a specific story about Tony Dungy. But every Bucs fan should hear that story themselves. So make sure you do that.
John Lynch’s Hall of Fame speech was full of appreciation. On a night intended to celebrate the man and the amazing career he put on the NFL field, he turned the focus to those who helped him along the way.
Class act to the end. But it may be one of his last lines that will leave fans of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers great smiling ear to ear.
“Ronde Barber. You’re time’s coming man, you’re going to be here.” - John Lynch, Hall of Fame Speech (2021)