Make us your home page

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: Besties, Ball and bloopers -- it's TV tidbits time

    TV and Radio

    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.

    Best comeback

    Excuse Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp for getting so carried away that he dropped the queen bee of curse words on live television Sunday. His team beat Manchester City 4-3, handing Man City its first loss in 23 Premier League games this season....

  2. Jones: March Madness is weeks away. What's up with college basketball?


    We've been a little busy lately.

    What with Dirk Koetter staying and Evan Longoria going. We've been distracted by UCF and amazed by Alabama. There has been Jon Gruden news and what is shaping up to be a very special season for the Lightning.

    With all that going on, we've lost track of college basketball. Believe it or not, we're only a couple of weeks away from March Madness.

    So now seems like a good time to catch up with what is going on in college hoops....

  3. Jones: Hedman injury another Lightning reminder that winning Cup doesn't come easy

    Lightning Strikes

    Nothing comes easy. Not when you're trying to win a Stanley Cup.

    The Lightning is finding that out.

    For nearly four months, things have gone about as smoothly as they could for the Lightning.

    Best record in hockey. Top scorers in the league. Best goalie in the business. Scoring goals at a crazy clip. Beating teams any which way you want.

    We're barely more than halfway through the season and the Lightning has all but locked down a playoff spot....

  4. Jones: The secret to Alabama's success


    Nick Saban is the greatest college football coach of all-time.

    The current Alabama run — five titles in nine seasons — belongs at the top of any dynasty in the history of the sport. To do what Bama has done in this day and age of parity is remarkable

    So, naturally, the question becomes: How do they do it?

    Yes, they have talent. Start there. They have tons and tons of talent, more than the other guy in most cases....

  5. Hey, man, it was a good run for Jon Gruden on 'Monday Night Football'

    TV and Radio

    Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports:

    Best move

    The big coaching news in the NFL, of course, is Jon Gruden joining the Raiders for a ridiculous $100 million. But overlooked in the news is that Gruden will no longer be in our living rooms every Monday night as analyst on Monday Night Football....

  6. Sean Payton offers the Bucs just what they need


    There are a lot of things the Bucs don't have.

    A rich tradition. A pass rush. A running game.

    Did I mention they don't have a pass rush?

    You know what else they don't have? A rival.

    Think about it. The Bucs don't have a true rival. They don't have one of those teams that makes your blood boil at just the sight of their colors. They don't have a I-hate-your-guts team that you circle on your pocket schedule....

  7. Think UCF deserves national title consideration? Think again


    A million games down. Just one more to go.

    After a long regular season, a slate full of bowl games and two semifinals, including an epic instant classic in the Rose Bowl, we are down to next week's All-SEC national championship between Alabama and Georgia.

    Over the next week, we'll hear plenty about the SEC, the Tide and the Bulldogs. But let's give a quick glance back at what we've seen so far. Here's my Two Cents on college football:...

  8. Jones: Bucs don't need a massive overhaul to fix problems of 2017


    TAMPA — Finally, it's over.

    That's the best thing you can say about the Bucs' 2017 season. It's over.

    You don't have to watch anymore.

    No more Jameis Winston bone-headed turnovers. No more special-team blunders. No more games where the other team's quarterback can stand back there all day deciding which of the three open receivers he wants to throw the ball to.

    No more wasted Sunday afternoons. No more avoiding SportsCenter on Sunday nights....

  9. Jones: 2017 was an unusually crazy year in Tampa Bay sports


    Last year was a crazy year in sports in Tampa Bay. More so than usual.

    We had really good, so good that some are dreaming of a Stanley Cup.

    We had really bad, so bad that people lost jobs.

    And really ugly, so ugly that more people might lose jobs.

    We're welcoming new faces (Dan Mullen) and familiar ones (Willie Taggart), and saying goodbye to a Tampa Bay legend.

    Yep, it was crazy....

  10. Jones: Bucs make right move keeping coach Dirk Koetter


    Dirk Koetter is returning as head coach of the Bucs next season. That's one way to put it.

    Here's another way, the more accurate way: Dirk Koetter isn't getting fired.

    The news came down Friday afternoon.

    Surprising? Yeah, you bet. One more stinker on Sunday and the Bucs will finish the season with six consecutive losses and a 4-12 record. Those are the kind of dreadful numbers that get people fired in this business, especially when expectations were as high as they were this season for the Bucs....

  11. Jones: Give Jonathan Drouin a hand Thursday. If you notice him.

    Lightning Strikes

    Jonathan Drouin returns to Tampa Bay on Thursday for the first time since last summer's trade.

    How will Lightning fans treat him?

    Boos and jeers for a player who was as enigmatic as he was talented during his brief time in Tampa Bay?

    Or whistles and cheers for a player who gave fans plenty of thrills and chills during those three seasons?

    "It's going to be mixed, like a lot of trades,'' Drouin told Tampa Bay Times Lightning writer Joe Smith. "Some people obviously still like me, and some people didn't like what I did. That's just normal and part of what happened in Tampa. No matter what happens, I'll have a lot of respect for the city and the fans and the team.''...

  12. Jones: An answer to anyone who says the Bucs played hard


    CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Here's one way to look at the Bucs' 22-19 loss to playoff-bound Carolina on Sunday:

    They played hard. They played well. They probably deserved to win and would have had it not been for a handful of bad plays and bad luck and maybe a couple of bad calls. Overall, however, they played better than their opponent.

    That's a nice sentiment and might give you enough of the warm fuzzies to forget that Tampa Bay has lost five in a row and is 4-11....

  13. Bucs-Panthers: Grading Tampa Bay's 22-19 loss


    CHARLOTTE, N.C. — 'Twas the night before Christmas, and all was not quiet in the Bucs house. Bad penalties, bad special teams, bad calls and bad breaks. Add it all up and it was a giant lump of coal in the Bucs' stocking. A loss, that is. Another loss. That's five in a row for a team that's now 4-11. I've made a list and checked it twice to find out who was naughty and what wasn't nice from the Bucs' 22-19 loss to the Panthers....

  14. Time to end our long sports nightmare and kill replay


    Upon further review, replay stinks.

    All replay. All sports. Especially football.

    Let's get rid of it and get rid of it right now. Seriously. It's ruining games. It's ruining seasons.

    This isn't about one play, but let's talk about one play.

    Last week: Steelers versus Patriots.

    In the final minute, Steelers tight end Jesse James caught a pass at the 1-yard line, turned around with the ball and stretched it over the goal line. When he landed on the ground, the ball rattled in his hands and appeared to have barely scraped the ground....

  15. The best thing about the Evan Longoria trade

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Evan Longoria is gone.

    Long gone.

    And that's a good thing.

    Not the gone part. That still stinks as much now as it did when we all learned the Rays were trading away the face (and heart and soul) of the franchise. It's the "long'' part that's the good news.

    The Rays shipped Longoria about as far away as they could.

    Out of their division. Out of their league. And way, way out of their time zone....