Of the three new members of the Denver Broncos Ring of Fame, John Lynch was the one that received the most debate among fans. He played just four seasons with the team and even though they were four fairly great seasons he is still thought of as a Tampa Bay Buccaneer by many.
Eric Goodman, Les Shapiro and Tyler Polumbus of The Afternoon Drive caught up with Lynch on Thursday to discuss his election into the Broncos Ring of Fame. Lynch has always been a strong presence in the Denver area and still has great ties to the Broncos organization.
Broncos President and CEO, Joe Ellis, was unfazed by that. The committee looked at Lynch purely from his standpoint with the Broncos organization and unanimously voted him in.
"The final member is John Lynch, who played for us for only four years, but made four Pro Bowls, was a great leader and had a terrific season in 2005," Ellis said. "One of the leaders on defense. One win short of the Super Bowl that year. Four years, four Pro Bowls as I said, and a great ambassador for the team. All of us felt unanimously—in every case—that John and the other two all deserved very much so to be in the Ring of Fame."
Lynch was especially honored having already received news that he was also elected into the Buccaneers Ring of Honor this year.
"[President & CEO Joe Ellis] just said right away, ‘Hey, congratulations, you were just elected to the Broncos Ring of Fame.’ So, pretty nice surprise and even more special considering I had found out earlier this year that I’m going in the Buccaneer Ring of Honor, [that’s] they call it there, so it’s going be a special year."
To be one of 31 Broncos players in the Ring of Fame is an incredible honor for Lynch and to get the nod after just four seasons was a bit of a surprise.
"I didn’t even know they were voting," said Lynch. "I think I was surprised because I had no idea this was even going on. So that was the biggest surprise. Once I heard it, I suppose so, but you know, I think a lot of people say this, and I certainly feel it: It feels like I was in Denver and a member of the Broncos longer than four years. They were four impactful and meaningful years, not only for me on the field kind of coming back in the second stage of my career after neck surgery and proving to myself and everyone that I still had some left in me, and also for our family. It became our home for a long, long time and a very big part of our lives"
On the possibility of one day being enshrined in the Broncos Ring of Fame, Lynch thought about it, but was uncertain how many good years he would have left in him having come to Denver after eleven seasons in Tampa.
"I think during my career, during games, I’d be looking up there," Lynch said. "I didn’t get here until my 11th year in the league, so I knew my career was going to be short-lived. I didn’t know how long. I think four years was on the high end of what I thought I had left in me. So I didn’t know how realistic it was, so I just said go play hard, try to win a championship and then we’ll see if that happens. And so, then I never really thought about it again until I think the Buccaneers called and said I’d been elected to their Ring of Honor. I started to think, ‘Wow, I wonder if that will ever happen in Denver.’ And sure enough, I got the call today and it’s a reality, so very, very special."
Being in Denver and part of that organization was very special for Lynch. Of the people in the organization that were most special to him, Lynch mentioned Pat Bowlen first. If you ask me, that's the kind of guy a fan should find worthy of being honored in the Ring of Fame.
"I think first and foremost you’ve got to talk about Pat Bowlen. You asked about players and coaches, but it all started with Pat Bowlen and I used to run into him skiing in the offseason up in Beaver Creek and I shared with some of you the story: I skied and no one really knew I did it in Tampa, and I used to run into Mr. Bowlen and his family up there. So I knew him, which helped but I also knew how much the guy loved winning just from talking to him and being around him, so that was a huge draw for me. I wasn’t too happy with him when I signed with the Broncos and the next day he told me that the skiing stuff was over. That wasn’t too cool, but Pat was a huge part of it, Mike [Shanahan] was a big part of it recruiting me to come to Denver, Champ, Al Wilson was a player that was really fun to play with—I think a really underrated player in the league. Just had natural leadership instincts. Jake Plummer was about as good a teammate—just a fun guy to play with. Rod Smith, I say he’s right up there in the running with the likes of Derrick Brooks [and] Ronde Barber as the best teammates I’ve ever played with. They’re selfless, they put everybody else in front of them and still were great players. Those are just a few to mention, I could go on and on, but those are some that stand out."