“Last year, it was an honor to be on hand to see Derrick Brooks and Aeneas Williams enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and it would be truly special to make a second consecutive trip to Canton this year to celebrate Tony and John getting in,” said Buccaneers Head Coach Lovie Smith. “Tony has played a large role not only in my career, but in my life, as one of my early mentors and I can’t think of a more deserving candidate for this ultimate career achievement. John was one of the cornerstones to all the success that we enjoyed here in Tampa, and his work ethic and passion for the game are things that made him one of the truly elite players to ever play the safety position. I wish them both the best of luck getting in this time around.”
This is the second consecutive year that both Dungy and Lynch have been named finalists for selection to the Hall of Fame. Dungy is in his second year of eligibility, while Lynch is in his third.
Dungy coached Tampa Bay for six seasons (1996-2001), helping lead the team to the playoffs in four of his six seasons. His 54 wins are the second-most in franchise history and his .563 winning percentage is the best of any coach in team history. After leaving Tampa Bay, Dungy went on to coach the Indianapolis Colts for seven seasons (2002-08), winning Super Bowl XLI and becoming the first ever African-American to win a Super Bowl as head coach. Dungy finished his tenure with the Colts as the franchise’s all-time leader in both wins (85) and winning percentage (.759)
Lynch was drafted by Tampa Bay in the third round (82nd overall) of the 1993 draft out of Stanford. He spent 11 seasons with the Buccaneers (1993-2003) and four more with the Denver Broncos (2004-07). A nine-time Pro Bowl selection and four-time All-Pro, Lynch played in 224 career games, with 191 starts, totaling 1,277 tackles, 26 interceptions, 13 sacks, 16 forced fumbles, eight fumble recoveries and 100 passes defensed. Lynch also started all 12 postseason games he played in, registering 71 tackles, two interceptions and 11 passes defensed. He was also a member of the Super Bowl XXXVII Champion Buccaneers.
The Buccaneers have had a finalist selected for Hall of Fame enshrinement in each of the past two years, with Derrick Brooks (2014) and Warren Sapp (2013) each being selected in their first season of eligibility.
- ### -