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Tom Jones, Times Sports Columnist

Tom Jones

Tom Jones writes columns and television/radio commentary for the Tampa Bay Times' Sports section. He has covered everything from high schools to colleges to professional sports since starting with the St. Petersburg Evening Independent in 1986. After the Independent, Tom worked at the Times (1987-91), the Tampa Tribune (1991-96), the Times again (1996-2000), the Minneapolis Star-Tribune (2000-03) and returned for his third stint at the Times in 2003. Though he has covered all sports, Tom is a hockey writer at heart. He covered the Tampa Bay Lightning from its first game in 1992 until moving to Minnesota to cover the Wild for three years. He returned to the Times again to cover the Lightning until taking over as writer and editor for Page Two in 2006. He lists Herb Brooks, Lou Piniella and Wayne Gretzky as the most interesting personalities he has covered and the 2002 Winter Olympics as the best event he has covered. Tom co-hosts a sports talk show weekday mornings from 6-9 on WDAE 620-AM, 95.3-FM. He previously hosted a weekly sports roundtable show on Bright House Sports Network.

Phone: (727) 893-8544


Radio talk show (620-AM, 95.3-FM): Listen live

  1. Jones: Why Bucs coach Dirk Koetter won't survive this


    TAMPA — Dirk Koetter isn't going to return as coach of the Bucs next season.

    That's not official. No announcement has been made. No press conference is scheduled. It's not an absolute fact. Not yet.

    And this isn't a call for his job.

    It's a prediction. A prediction based on what we're witnessing. A prediction based on history. We've all seen this movie before and we know exactly how it ends....

  2. Winners and losers on college football's coaching carousel


    The music has just about stopped. Just about every college football program in the country has a coach now.

    But it was the craziest coaching musical chairs ever. Think of all the major programs that will have new coaches next season, including Florida, FSU, Oregon, Nebraska, Texas A&M, Tennessee and UCLA.

    So since we're just about done with all the changes, here's a quick look at the winners and losers of the coaching offseason....

  3. How 0-26 still sticks to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers



    It's what they're known for. It's their identity. It's who they are.

    0-26 is the Bucs.

    Just check NFL Films.

    The legendary film makers who chronicle every step of the National Football League have given us the iconic moments of each NFL franchise.

    The Dallas Cowboys? There's that shot of dignified coach Tom Landry in a silhouette, wearing his fedora, giving the Cowboys a classy, stately, noble reputation....

  4. Jones: You can't help but feel sorry for the Bucs


    GREEN BAY, Wisc. - On a day like this, the instinct is to pull out the verbal knives and carve the Bucs to pieces.

    Same old Bucs. Bunch of good-for-nothings. Here we are again. Another lousy season to throw on the pile.

    On a day like today, everyone wants to fire the coach, bench the quarterback and tear up their season tickets....

    Bucs' Mike Evans catches a pass over Green Bay Packers' Davon House during the first half. [AP photo]
  5. Bucs-Packers report card: Grading Tampa Bay's 26-20 overtime loss


    GREEN BAY, Wisc. — Welcome to the Frozen Tundra of Lambeau Field. Well, except it wasn't frozen. The Bucs caught a break Sunday. It wasn't one of those classic sub-zero or snowy December games in Green Bay. In fact, it was downright comfortable with temperatures in the 40s for the whole game. But it still turned out to be a field of horrors for the Bucs. ...

    The Green Bay Packers' Damarious Randall breaks up a pass intended for Bucs tight end Cameron Brate during the first half. [AP photo]
  6. Bucs-Packers: Imagining the Aaron Rodgers Effect


    It's called the butterfly effect. It means that small causes can have large effects. A butterfly flaps its wings once and causes an ever so slight wind shift, which then goes on to affect the weather all over the world.

    In Tampa Bay, we have something similar: the Rodgers effect. It stems from the time the Bucs almost drafted quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

    Next up for the Bucs: Green Bay today. And on the sideline, Rodgers will be nursing an injured shoulder, hoping to return soon in a last-ditch effort to get the Packers into the playoffs. ...

     In this Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017, file photo, Green Bay Packers injured quarterback Aaron Rodgers watches warm ups before an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Pittsburgh. Rodgers is expected to return to practice on Saturday. The two-time MVP was placed on injured reserve six weeks ago after breaking his right collarbone in an Oct. 15 game against Minnesota. The (AP Photo/Don Wright, File)
  7. Is Willie Taggart really ready for Florida State


    Goodbye, Jimbo.

    Hello, Willie?

    Say it ain't so. I'm talking about both.

    It's still hard to believe that Jimbo Fisher will pack up his whistle, playbook and resume with a national championship and Heisman Trophy winner and head off to Texas A&M. We always thought Jimbo would be at Florida State forever, just like Coach Bowden. If Jimbo ever did leave, it would be for LSU or Alabama. Maybe the NFL. Not Texas A&M....

     Florida State Seminoles head coach Jimbo Fisher during the Camping World Kickoff against the Mississippi Rebels on Monday September 5, 2016 at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida. Final Score FSU 45, Ole Miss 34.
  8. Tom Jones' Two Cents: Turmoil in Tally; panic on Rocky Top


    Times columnist Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents on the crazy carousel of coaching changes in college football.

    Say it ain't so

    In the craziest season of coaching changes in the history of college football, could FSU do the craziest thing of all and let Jimbo Fisher get away to Texas A&M? If I had an opening right now and could pick any coach in the country, Fisher would be no lower than fourth on my list. And I've got news for you. The top three on that list — Alabama's Nick Saban, Ohio State's Urban Meyer and Clemson's Dabo Swinney — aren't leaving their current posts for the FSU job. Jimbo is about as good as Florida State can do....

    Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher during the second half of the game against the Florida Gators at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. (Monica Herndon, Times)
  9. Jones: This is no fluke. The Bucs are 4-7 bad


    ATLANTA — One by one, Bucs players made their way down the tunnel to the locker room, limping — figuratively and literally —- after a 34-20 loss to the Falcons on Sunday.

    Eyes down. Some heads shaking. All mouths closed.

    "Another road loss. Another division loss. Another loss period," defensive tackle Gerald McCoy said. "It isn't what we really expected."...

    Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter is seen during the first half. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  10. Bucs-Falcons report card: Why did Bucs pass three times in four-down territory?


    ATLANTA — This might be the nicest stadium in the NFL. The Mercedes-Benz Stadium — not to be confused with the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans — is as swanky as it gets. The coolest feature is the circular scoreboard that seems to hang from the sky.

    But as pretty as this stadium is, it was a house of horrors for the Bucs on Sunday, especially the defense. That fancy scoreboard showed replay after replay of Falcons receiver Julio Jones torching the Bucs. That was the worst part of a day that didn't go well for Tampa Bay. With that in mind, Times columnist Tom Jones hands out his grades from the Falcons' 34-20 victory....

    Bucs quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) looks to pass during the first half. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  11. Lightning Strikes podcast: Quarterly report

    Lightning Strikes

    Times beat writer Joe Smith and columnist Tom Jones break down the team at the quarter pole of its season. Who is the Lightning MVP? Biggest surprise? Does it need to add another piece? Smith also answers your questions on if Tampa Bay will re-sign Vladislav Namestnikov, consider trading Tyler Johnson, look for upgrades on 'D' and more. Listen below:


    Tampa Bay Lightning center Vladislav Namestnikov (90) works to catch up to the puck against the Washington Capitals during first period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Monday evening (10/09/17). (Dirk Shadd, Times)
  12. Jones: Thriller doesn't diminish what might have been for USF


    ORLANDO — It has been a heck of a season. It really has.

    And Friday was a heck of a game. It really was. It was as good as any game in the nation this season.

    USF has lots to be proud of. A 9-2 regular season. A knock-down, drag-out, dogfight against undefeated UCF on Friday in Orlando in a nationally-televised, day-after-Thanksgiving, better-than-the-hype classic that people will be talking about forever....

    USF safety Devin Abraham (20), left, is comforted by backup quarterback Chris Oladokun at the conclusion of Friday's (11/24/17) in-state rival NCAA football game between UCF Knights and the USF Bulls at Spectrum Stadium at the University of Central Florida (UCF). (Douglas R. Clifford, Times)
  13. Presenting the 2017 Sports Turkey of the Year


    Happy Turkey Day!

    Today is a day of tradition.

    The Macy's parade. Turkey and stuffing. The Lions and Cowboys.

    And our annual "Turkey of the Year.''

    It's a tradition started by my former colleague at the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the brilliant columnist Patrick Reusse.

    And now we celebrate the 10th anniversary of doing it here.

    The premise is simple. Are you a louse? A clown? Did you behave like a knucklehead this year? Did you do something dumb? Did you do something to embarrass yourself or someone else? Did you step in a pile of cow patties?...

    Tampa Bay Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg signs an autograph for a fan on Opening Day at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, April 2, 2017.
  14. Jones: Maybe the Florida job isn't as good as we thought


    These are strange, unsettling times for the University of Florida.

    The Gators need themselves a football coach.

    They offer a terrific job. Maybe one of the best jobs in the country.


    Uh, right? (nervous laugh)

    Well, we'll soon find out. Maybe this isn't such the give-my-right-arm-for job we all think it is. Maybe the brand has been scuffed up and dented so badly by previous coaches Will Muschamp and Jim McElwain that the Gators simply can't have their pick of the litter anymore....

    In this file photo, Oregon head coach Chip Kelly arrives before the Rose Bowl NCAA college football game with Wisconsin, Monday, Jan. 2, 2012, in Pasadena, Calif. Kelly is reportedly considering offers to become the head football coach at the University of Florida and UCLA. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles)
  15. Jones: Even in victory, dread hangs over the Bucs


    MIAMI GARDENS — A dark cloud is hanging over this football team.

    It's a heaviness. A dread. A dread for what might have happened in the past and what might happen in the future.

    And that makes it hard for fans to truly enjoy what happened Sunday.

    The Bucs won a football game. They beat the Dolphins, 30-20. That's two victories in a row. That's kind of a big deal....

    Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston greets Miami Dolphins players following Tampa Bay's win. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]