The Buccaneers were the league's lowest spenders in terms of player payroll over the past five seasons (2004-08), according to a recent article published on NFL.com. The Bucs spent $449 million in payroll during that time period. The biggest spender - the Dallas Cowboys - invested $566 million in player payroll.
With the exception of owning the 32nd pick in the NFL Draft, teams typically don't want to be ranked dead last in the league in any category.
But that's where the Tampa Bay Buccaneers ranked in a recent article posted on NFL.com
, which listed teams in order of the league's biggest spenders and lowest spenders in terms of player payroll from 2004-08.
While the article does not list each franchise's overall expenses over the past five years, the Bucs spent the least amount of money of any team in the NFL during from 2004-08, investing a total of $449 million in player payroll.
The next teams in line to the Buccaneers were the Kansas City Chiefs ($451 million), Green Bay Packers ($457 million) and Tennessee Titans ($465 million).
A total of 18 teams (more than half the league) spent over $500 million in player payroll from 2004-08. Dallas was the biggest spender, investing $566 million in player payroll.
NFL.com's report comes at a time of economic crisis for the United States of America, where even a business as successful as the NFL has not been immune to the nation's financial challenges.
The Bucs, who once had a season ticket waiting list of over 100,000, no longer are sold out of season tickets, and the team's owners, the Glazers, even acknowledged earlier this offseason that local television blackouts were possible in 2009.
The Glazers have also reworked season ticket packages in an effort to help fans afford to attend Bucs home games at Raymond James Stadium.
Some believe the Glazer's majority ownership in the world's biggest sports franchise, Manchester United, has hindered ownership's ability to invest in the Buccaneers.
Fueling that speculation has been a series of layoffs at One Buccaneer Place, ranging from people in the ticket sales department to the public relations staff.
The Glazers also decided to move training camp to One Buc Place in Tampa after seven years at Disney's Wilde World of Sports complex and Celebration Hotel in the Orlando area.
Some other factors played a role in Tampa Bay spending the least amount of any other team on payroll. The Bucs endured salary cap issues from 2004-05 and built One Buccaneer Place, a $30-plus million training facility.
The Bucs didn't necessarily get what they paid for in 2004-08. One could argue that the team got more. While Tampa Bay did suffer through 5-11 and 4-12 seasons in 2004 and 2006, respectively, the Bucs also won two NFC South division titles and posted winning records in three of those five seasons.
Tampa Bay's overall regular season record from 2004-08 was 38-42. Some wonder if the Bucs could have had more success had the team been able - and willing - to invest more in player salaries.
When asked about their financial commitment to the Buccaneers, who entered free agency earlier this offseason with more than $60 million in salary cap room, Bucs co-chairman Joel Glazer suggested ownership was just as dedicated today as it was when it purchased the team in 1995.
"We are just as committed today as we were, I think 14 years ago when we signed a contract to buy this team," said Glazer. "I'm as miserable today after a loss as I was 10 years ago. We are as committed today as we have ever been to this franchise, and we will always, have been, and will be always committed to doing what it takes to build a winner. If the right players are there, the money is going to be there, but you have to go about things wisely. Sometimes you can throw money at a situation and it can get you in trouble. We are big believers in building a sustainable franchise that is going to be in competition for many years for the ultimate prize. When you can add something that is going to make a difference, we are all for it. Let's add it."
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