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News » Tampa Bay Buccaneers Inside Slant 2009-03-27


Tampa Bay Buccaneers Inside Slant 2009-03-27


Tampa Bay Buccaneers Inside Slant 2009-03-27
Bucs co-chairman Joel Glazer has heard the claims that the team's ownership doesn't have deep pockets when it comes to re-investing in their NFL franchise.


Sagging season ticket renewals, escalating salaries, an economic meltdown and suffocating debt from the purchase of the Manchester United soccer club has fueled speculation that the Glazers are too cash-strapped to be big players in free agency or may even be forced to sell their NFL team.

In his state-of-the-Bucs address at the league's annual meeting, Glazer said the team has returned to its philosophy of building through the draft, the only plan he feels leads to long-term sustainable success.

"The only thing I would say about that is we're as committed to success in Tampa as we've always been," Glazer said. "The losses still hurt today as much as they did from day one. The wins still feel as good as they did in the beginning and we're going to tirelessly work to build another championship team in Tampa.

"That hasn't changed, it won't change, we have a plan. We're going to be disciplined and we're going to be patient. We're going to stick to it and do what we think is in the best interest of long-term, sustainable success.

"I come back to the draft. You've got to succeed in the draft. Free agency is not going to solve all our problems. You have to always be in the position that once we've identified good players that we're in a position not to lose those good players, and that's the key. Winning in March in free agency, very rarely do you see those teams in the headlines in January. You have to be disciplined to resist what can lead you down a dark path."

The Bucs appeared headed to their second straight division title with a 9-3 record before one of the worst collapses in NFL history. Four straight losses led to the firing of coach Jon Gruden and general manager Bruce Allen three weeks after the season.

Because the Glazers did not feel the team needed a complete overhaul, they opted to hire from within by naming 37-year-old Mark Dominik general manager and making 32-year-old Raheem Morris the youngest coach in the league.

"Part of the thinking going into the situation was when you're hiring somebody, you never really know who you're hiring," Glazer said. "These are two people we know. Mark has worked here for 14 years. We know Mark Dominik extremely well. We know the way he approaches things, the way he thinks about things, his work ethic. Raheem we've known for seven years. While they're both young, and anybody who's young, there's going to be some new experiences along the way and learning along the way you may have a few bumps, but you're seeing the trend throughout the National Football League more to the younger guys. They're able to connect in some ways with players. But also, we were 9-7 last year. We weren't 2-14 or 4-12. And sometimes you also run the risk when you go too far outside and they come in, they don't quite look at the young players the way someone who has been around them the last few years look at them. ... So why go elsewhere when you have them right there?"

Glazer said the Bucs are not immune to the economic crisis but have tried to relieve some of the pressure from fans by not raising ticket prices this year and allowing season ticket holders to renew their seats in four installments.

"We're currently going through our renewal process, but we are definitely seeing people that are affected by this economy and having an effect on their ability to renew. And what we've done and will continue to do is kind of roll up our sleeves and figure out ways to be a little more creative to help people in these tough times. But we are seeing an effect and we'll know more as we get closer to July. But I think there are a lot of people being forced to sit on the sidelines because of the situation in the economy.

"I think it's too early to tell about (blackouts). We have great fans in Tampa, so whatever tickets aren't sold to season ticket holders, we'll work very hard to make sure the stadium is always full and the fans will be there."

So should Bucs fans not worry that the Glazers' costly investment in Manchester U might affect their NFL product?

"Absolutely. We have a lot of other businesses, but they're not as high-profile," Glazer said. "So it's not easy to make connections and draw lines and all that kind of stuff. We've brought championships to Tampa and we've had successes elsewhere. But one thing that drives us day in and day out is we have one Super Bowl ring but we've got many more fingers."



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: March 27, 2009

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