TAMPA, Fla. — Chances are the Pro Football Hall of Fame will have larger Tampa Bay Buccaneers presence next summer.
Former coach Tony Dungy, former linebacker Derrick Brooks and former safety John Lynch were among the 15 modern-era finalists, 17 total, to be named Thursday night. Each will be considered for election when a 46-member selection committee meets Feb. 1 in New York City.
Brooks, 40, has the best chance to be enshrined. He’s arguably the greatest defensive player in franchise history, the most valuable member of a unit that was a large reason why the Bucs captured their lone title in Super Bowl XXXVII. During his time with the Bucs from 1995-2008, he amassed 1,715 tackles with 25 interceptions, along with 13 1/2 sacks. He was an 11-time Pro Bowl player and a nine-time All-Pro.
Dungy, 58, coached the Bucs from 1996-2001 and helped give life to a lost franchise. He led them to four playoff appearances in his last five seasons. He went 54-42 in the regular season during his time with Tampa Bay, posting a 2-4 record mark in the playoffs. In addition, he became the first African-American coach to win a Super Bowl when he guided the Indianapolis Colts to a victory in Super Bowl XLI over the Chicago Bears, coached by current Bucs leader Lovie Smith.
Lynch, 42, was known as one of his era’s most physical defenders. A nine-time Pro Bowl player and a four-time All-Pro, he had 787 tackles and 23 interceptions in his time with the Bucs from 1993-2003. He concluded his playing career with the Denver Broncos from 2004-2007.