John Lynch Tampa Bay Buccaneers & Denver Broncos
"You can talk about the talent this team has all you want but I think it's the mental toughness and the work ethic that sets us apart."
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected John Lynch
out of Stanford in the third round, 82nd choice overall, of the 1993 NFL Draft. A hard-hitting and smart playmaking safety, Lynch was a vital addition to the Buccaneers defense that soon dominated the NFL.
He worked hard to earn a permanent starting role in 1996, his fourth pro season. Lynch made the most of his opportunity as he racked up more than 100 tackles and tied his career-high with three interceptions. From that point forward, he was the anchor of Tampa Bay’s secondary on a defense that perennially ranked among the NFL’s best.
Lynch was voted to the Pro Bowl for the first time following the 1997 season. It was the first of nine Pro Bowls to which he was elected. He earned first-team All-Pro recognition three straight years from 1999 to 2001.
In 2002, he was an integral part of the Buccaneers’ championship season that was capped with the franchise’s first Super Bowl title. Lynch contributed 96 tackles (50 solo), three interceptions, and 12 passes defensed as Tampa Bay finished 12-4. His strong play continued through the postseason when he added five tackles in the divisional playoff, six more tackles in the championship game and registered one tackle and pass defensed in the Buccaneers’ Super Bowl XXXVII victory.
Lynch signed as a free agent with the Denver Broncos in 2004 where he played the final four seasons of his 15-year career. He helped lead the Broncos to a conference championship game appearance in his second season in Denver. That year he recorded a career-high four sacks, intercepted two passes, forced four fumbles, and racked up 69 tackles. He added three solo tackles, one assist and one pass defensed in the 1995 AFC Championship Game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
In all, Lynch played in 224 regular season games, recorded 26 interceptions returned for 204 yards, added 13 sacks, and registered more than 1,000 tackles. He was credited with 90 or more tackles in a season nine times during his career.