Dungy, Lynch face tough road to HOF

TAMPA, Fla. -- There’s a lot of talk among Tampa Bay fans about how Tony Dungy and John Lynch got snubbed in the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection process over the weekend.

I think snubbed is way too strong of a term. Dungy and Lynch weren’t slam-dunk candidates like former Tampa Bay linebacker Derrick Brooks, who was selected in the first year he was eligible. Dungy and Lynch made it to the final 15 modern-era candidates and that alone is an honor.

But Dungy and Lynch each had some holes in their résumés. For Dungy, it’s the fact that he won only one Super Bowl despite having a great defense in Tampa Bay and Peyton Manning in Indianapolis. Lynch was hampered by the fact he played safety. It’s hard to get a safety into the Hall of Fame unless his interception total is astronomical.

I think those who are talking about snubs got spoiled by the first-ballot selections of Brooks this year and Warren Sapp last year. They made the process look easy, but it’s not. Brooks and Sapp had credentials that couldn’t be questioned. The same can’t be said for Dungy and Lynch.

Will Dungy and Lynch eventually get into the Hall of Fame? It’s entirely possible, but they need a year in which the class isn’t as strong as it was this year. I think cornerback Ronde Barber, who will be eligible in four years, is going to fall into a similar category. And let’s not even get into the belief that many Tampa Bay fans have that Mike Alstott should be a Hall of Famer.

Then, there’s one other factor to consider. How many guys from a team who won only one Super Bowl do you put in the Hall of Fame? It’s not like the Bucs (in their prime) were the Pittsburgh Steelers of the 1970s.

Dungy, Lynch and Barber may end up in the Hall of Fame but it’s not going to be nearly as easy as it was for Brooks and Sapp.