The NFL Hall of Fame voting committee released it’s list of 15 finalists for this year’s Hall of Fame class. Among those candidates is former Buccaneers defensive tackle Warren Sapp.
Sapp is in his first year of eligibility for the Hall of Fame, and many analysts believe that the former Bucs superstar will indeed be making it in on his first try. Former head coach Jon Gruden, who coached Sapp to a Super Bowl in 2002, may be biased but he says that if Sapp doesn’t get in, voters need to get their heads checked.
“If Warren Sapp doesn’t go into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot, you’d better check the IQ of the voters,” said Gruden. “No disrepect to anyone, but he’s the favorite guy I’ve ever coached.”
One guy who Gruden coached that didn’t make the cut, was strong safety John Lynch. While he made the initial list of 27 semi-finalists, Lynch failed to secure enough votes to move on to the finalist round.
Lynch isn’t alone in being left off the list of finalists. Joining Lynch in being left off the list of finalists is former Falcons kicker Morten Andersen, former Broncos running back Terrell Davis and former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue, among others.
As for Sapp, he’s not officially in the Hall of Fame yet, but he took a gigantic leap forward on Friday and is now closer than any other Buccaneers player in history to Canton aside from the already enshrined Lee Roy Selmon.
“It’s an honor to be in the conversation, let alone making it to this round,” said Sapp, now an analyst for NFL Network. “So many great players have played in this league. It would be a dream come true.”
The list of 15 finalists will be whittled down to no more than five official inductees, a list that will be announced in the days leading up to the Super Bowl in February.
Follow @ThePewterPlank for the latest Buccaneers news.