February 05, 2017
If you are a Hall of Fame voter and you voted for longtime Buccaneers safety John Lynch over Brian Dawkins, you clearly didn't closely examine the careers of both players and shouldn't have a vote.
In an article for CBS, Clark Judge recapped the voters' thinking on the selection of the new inductees, as well as the players who did not make it. Judge noted that Lynch and Dawkins split votes because they're both safeties. In other words, Lynch and Dawkins hurt each others' candidacies.
As for the safeties, John Lynch and Brian Dawkins also ran into each other. Both made it to the Top 10, but Lynch was there a year ago and should have moved forward to the Final Five. He did not. He has one year to make another push. Otherwise, he competes with Dawkins and Ed Reed, who joins the lineup in 2019, and with Troy Polamalu one year later.
No, he absolutely should not have moved into the top five ahead of Dawkins, because he wasn't anywhere near as great of a player. But continue, please:
(Lynch) didn’t move from his Top 10 spot a year ago, and it’s hard to know where he finished. Voters never are informed of poll numbers. It’s also hard to now what that finish means for him. What we do now is that Dawkins arrival hurt him, splitting the safety votes, and one of them better move this time next year. Otherwise, they compete with Ed Reed, and good luck.
Lynch was a great player, but he couldn't hold Dawkins' jock.
On the intangible side, both players were leaders, although there has probably never been a more respected leader in Philadelphia professional sports than Dawkins. At worst, Lynch and Dawkins stalemate there.
On the tangible side, Dawkins blows Lynch out of the water:
As you can see, over their careers, Dawkins had twice as many sacks, twice as many forced fumbles (and then some), twice as many fumble recoveries, 11 more interceptions, and more tackles.
There isn't a single statistical category where Lynch was objectively a better football player than Dawkins. Even if you dig deeper into other stats, you won't find any. For example, over his career Lynch had 89 pass breakups, while Dawkins had 175.
Or how about tackles for loss? Lynch, know for being an "in the box" safety, should have the advantage there, right? Nope. He averaged 2.3 tackles for loss per season from 2001 on (when the NFL began tracking that stat). Dawkins averaged 3.2.
Lynch had zero career touchdowns. Dawkins had four. I could continue.
It seems the only arguments that can be made for Lynch are that he (A) played for a team that won a Super Bowl, and (B) retired sooner than Dawkins. Both of those arguments are moronic.
Yes, Lynch won a Super Bowl with the Bucs. And that's terrific for him and his brand. Of course, he played alongside Warren Sapp, Derrick Brooks, Simeon Rice, and Ronde Barber, but who's counting? I'll also add that it's not as if Lynch was a huge factor in that Super Bowl run. He had 10 tackles (one in the Super Bowl) in three games that postseason, with no forced fumbles, fumble recoveries, or interceptions. Meanwhile, the other safety, Dexter Jackson, took home MVP honors.
I'm quite sure that if the Bucs employed Dawkins instead of Lynch, that defense would have been even better. It certainly would not have impeded the Bucs from winning the Super Bowl.
In fact, here's Lynch's postseason career stats vs. Dawkins':
Again, Dawkins had a far bigger impact across the board.
There's this notion that Lynch should get in the Hall of Fame before Dawkins because that's the order in which they retired. That is so idiotic it's mind blowing. If two players are close, then yeah, sure, maybe the tie should go to the guy who's been waiting longer. But when it's as completely lopsided as we've spelled out above, there's really no justification whatsoever for voting for Lynch over Dawkins.
Despite all of the above, there are some writers who have been doing this for a loooong time who voted for Lynch over Dawkins. I'd love to hear their justifications for that complete and utter nonsense.
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