No reason Buccaneers legend shouldn’t get into Hall of Fame this year

Ronde Barber, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Ronde Barber, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images) /

A Tampa Bay Buccaneers legend is once again a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. There is no reason this icon of the Buccaneers should be snubbed.

Perhaps the greatest moment in the history of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers came when  Ronde Barber picked off a Donovan McNabb pass and took it to the house in the 2002 NFC Championship. The play shut down Veteran’s Stadium, slayed the dragon that was the Philadelphia Eagles, and sent the Buccaneers to their first Super Bowl, resulting in their first championship.

Bucs fans have been screaming until they’ve been blue (or pewter) in the face trying to get Barber in the Hall of Fame, and he more than deserves to be the fourth member of that legendary defense of the late 1990s-early 2000s to be enshrined. Unfortunately, both Barber and Bucs fans have been repeatedly snubbed.

The way he was snubbed last year was just mean too. The NFL had various Hall of Fame players introduce the new indictees, which included Derrick Brooks as a presenter. Who did he present? Well, not his former teammate Ronde Barber, but former Raiders wide receiver Cliff Branch (whose own enshrinement was long overdue). That was the reddest of herrings in the worst way.

Barber’s resume speaks for itself. He was

a five-time Pro Bowler and was named All-Pro on three occasions. In terms of stats relative to other Hall of Famers, his 47 career interceptions are only one less than Herb Adderley and Willie Wood, the same as Jimmy Johnson, and one more than Jack Christiansen and Mike Haynes.

Barber also showed longevity and versatility. At corner, he was teammates with Hardy Nickerson, and by the time he moved to safety as an old man, was sharing the field with Lavonte David. When put into that perspective it’s pretty amazing.

The list of finalists is strong, but in looking at it, it’s hard to believe that Barber would miss out over a lot of his contemporaries. The defensive back competition is also stout with Albert Lewis, Darrell’s Revis, and Darren Woodson, but the Hall of Fame has elected multiple players from the same position group before.

Ronde Barber should and will eventually get inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It’s really more of a matter of “if” and not “when”. All things considered though, 2023 should finally be the year, if for nothing else than to make up for the Derrick Brooks-Cliff Branch swerve from a year ago.