As Buccaneers fans vote on the player, or coach, they love the most, we’ve seen Derrick Brooks defeat Mike Alstott and Warren Sapp defeat Tony Dungy. Who’s the next player to reach the final four?
In what was sure to be a difficult choice for Buccaneers fans, Warren Sapp was the luck recipient of votes, squaring off against his former coach Tony Dungy.
In game three, we see a match-up that I believe will be the closest. Who will emerge victorious when two of the greatest players, and fan favorites, in Bucs’ history go head to head?
(3) Ronde Barber vs (6) John Lynch
Barber didn’t start off looking like much of an NFL player, but emerged as arguably the best cover-2 corner in NFL history. No player had ever put up 25 sacks and 40 interceptions for a career until Ronde did. Ronde also holds the NFL record for most consecutive starts by a cornerback with 200 and most consecutive starts by a defensive back with 215, not including postseason. Barber’s 28 sacks are also an NFL record by a cornerback, to go along with his 1,231 tackles, 47 interceptions, 166 passes defensed, 14 forced fumbles, and 12 touchdowns.
Barber was named to five Pro Bowls, three times first team All-Pro, two time second team All-Pro, the NFL All-Decade Team for the 2000’s, and Super Bowl XXXVII champion. After sending the Bucs to that Super Bowl with the infamous pick-six off Eagles’ quarterback Donovan McNabb, closing down Veterans Stadium, Ronde, who was still upset over his Pro Bowl snub, looked into a FOX camera and uttered his famous quote;
"“Pro Bowl my a–! I’m goin to San Diego!”"
Barber now works as a color commentator for the NFL on FOX and has worked numerous Buccaneers games, staying in the fans’ eyes and ears. Barber will likely be enshrined in Canton, but not as a first-ballot like his teammates Derrick Brooks and Warren Sapp. The man he currently faces in our tournament knows all too well how difficult it can be to get one of those gold jackets…
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One of the hardest hitting, most punishing safeties this league has ever seen, John Lynch quickly won over the hearts of Bucs fans with his bone-crushing, decleating hits. On top of that, you knew you could count on him. With the game on the line, you knew number 47 was going to make a play. An interception, a deflected pass, a jarring hit forcing a fumble. You had confidence that the last line of defense for this team wasn’t going to let you down.
Lynch finished his career with 1,058 tackles, 13 sacks, 26 interceptions, and 16 forced fumbles. He would play in nine pro bowls, was a three time first team All-Pro, one time second team All-Pro, NFL Alumni Defensive Back of the Year winner, Bart Starr Man of the Year winner, and of course, Super Bowl XXXVII winner.
John Lynch will be enshrined in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Ring of Honor this upcoming season and is continuing to fight to get into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was once again a finalist this year, coming up just a bit short with former teammate Terrell Davis.
Yes, it’s difficult sometimes for Bucs fans to remember Lynch playing for the Broncos, even making a Pro Bowl with them, knowing he should’ve still been here, but that wasn’t his decision. He knew he could still play, so he did. We were lucky enough to get to watch him.
Lynch, like his former teammate Ronde, is now a color commentator for the NFL on FOX.
So who will it be Bucs fans? The scrappy corner from Virginia who closed down the Vet and holds numerous NFL records? Or the “pretty boy with the silver spoon” (as Sapp used to say) who could knock a guy clean out of his shoes?
A trip to the Final Four is on the line. You decide the outcome by voting in our Twitter poll! Be sure to vote and retweet so that BucsNation can be heard!