On the same night that Packers’ great Charles Woodson was announced to have made the Hall of Fame, strong safety John Lynch was as well. Lynch is certainly well-deserving. After all, he is a nine-time Pro Bowler and two-time First Team All Pro. However, did he really deserve to be inducted before another Packers’ great, LeRoy Butler?
Comparing the Numbers: Stats in Lynch’s Favor
When comparing the careers of John Lynch and LeRoy Butler, there are only a few areas in which Lynch could be said to have been better than Butler. One of these is longevity. Lynch played 15 NFL season while Butler played 11. As a result, he recorded more tackles than Butler: 1,059-889. Lynch also forced more fumbles: 16-13. Passes defended is a stat that was not recorded until 1999, Butler’s third-to-last season in the league. Lynch played nine seasons in which this stat was recorded, so he is on record as having more: 68-15. Finally, Lynch made more Pro Bowls than Butler: 9-4.
These are, literally, the only stats in which he outperformed Butler, and he needed four more years to do it.
Comparing the Numbers: Stats in Butler’s Favor
As these stats are presented, keep in mind that Butler played four less seasons than Lynch.
Interceptions are always one of the stats that people use to judge the greatness of a defensive player. While they do not always tell the whole story, they are, indeed, important. Butler had more career interceptions than Lynch, and it was not really close: 38-26. Neither player was really known for rushing the quarterback, but sacks were accumulated by both. Butler edges out Lynch 20.5-13.0 in this category. Butler also made more First Team All Pros than Lynch: 4-2.
There is a stat called approximate value, which is used by Pro Football Focus to give a single number value to each player’s season since 1960. In an 11-year career, Butler accumulated an approximate value of 126. In 15 years, Lynch’s approximate value amounted to 122.
Using approximate value and other factors, another formula is used to generate a Hall of Fame Monitor stat. Lynch’s PFR HOF Monitor came out to 75.83. Butler’s came out to 97.75, which is ranked 20th ever among all defensive backs.
Does John Lynch belong in the Hall of Fame? He absolutely does. Does he deserve to get in before LeRoy Butler? He absolutely does not. LeRoy Butler may be gracious and positive despite being constantly snubbed by the voters; but that does not mean Packers fans will be.
Voters: get LeRoy into the Hall of Fame where he belongs. There is no statistical reason for Lynch to be in over Butler.