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January 20, 2011 @ 2:25 pm
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2010 Season Wrap-Up Issue

The Glazers’ Approach Was Right After All

WRITTEN_BY Scott Reynolds Scott Reynolds
Scott Reynolds

Scott
Reynolds

Publisher
Some Tampa Bay fans may not want to accept it, but the younger, cheaper path that the Glazers have the Buccaneers on turned out to be the right one this season - and probably in years to come.
Buccaneers fans had to be disappointed when NFL.com’s Jason La Canfora wrote a column called Moneyball, NFL style, which detailed the spending of committed cash for each franchise from 2004-08. With Tampa Bay fans already upset with the Glazers for their perceived “cheating” on the Buccaneers by acquiring the Manchester United soccer club with a debt at one point of 1.1 billion pounds instead of pouring all of their resources into the football team, seeing ownership spend the least amount of money during that time span angered fans even more.

The result was the lowest attendance in Raymond James Stadium history for a Buccaneers season with all of the home games blacked out in Tampa Bay for the first time in nearly two decades. Fan angst over the Glazers coupled with a ticket price – also propelled by ownership – in 2008 that drove fans away led to apathy towards the Buccaneers, especially after the least active offseason in recent memory with linebacker Jon Alston and safety Sean Jones being the only free agent signings and wide receiver Reggie Brown being the only player acquired via trade.

Yes, there was still interest in the team, evidenced by a record year of web traffic on PewterReport.com in 2010. But fans would rather read about the team and watch the games on pirated Internet feeds than pay hundreds of dollars in ticket prices, parking fees and high concession prices to actually go to the games – despite the fact that the Bucs had a winning record all season long after beating Cleveland in Week 1.

Yet through it all, the Glazers’ approach for this team, which was to dismantle an aging roster and rebuild through the draft while eschewing free agency for the most part – was right, even though it likely pushed some fans away. Bucs fans equated not spending in the offseason with not caring, even though spending money on a mostly underwhelming free agency was not part of the plan.

Fans may not want to believe this but the Glazers got tired of wasting millions in free agency on players like Todd Steussie, Derrick Deese, Charlie Garner, Angelo Crowell, Mike Nugent and Derrick Ward – none of whom helped the Bucs get to the playoffs. The Glazers’ approach, which was agreed to by general manager Mark Dominik and head coach Raheem Morris back in 2009, was to purge the team of overpaid older players with little to no upside and focus on the draft.

Through the years the Glazers had no problem building through the draft and then re-signing those star players, such as safety John Lynch, linebacker Derrick Brooks, defensive tackle Warren Sapp, cornerbacks Brian Kelly and Ronde Barber, and fullback Mike Alstott among others to lucrative extensions once they proved themselves. Once the Bucs became a consistent playoff-caliber team, the Glazers invested in some top-shelf free agents like quarterback Brad Johnson, defensive end Simeon Rice and wide receiver Keenan McCardell and okayed a trade that made wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson one of the highest-paid wide receivers in football.

With a core group of players like quarterback Josh Freeman, cornerback Aqib Talib, wide receivers Mike Williams and Arrelious Benn, tight end Kellen Winslow, running back LeGarrette Blount, left tackle Donald Penn, defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and others, the Bucs have their foundation for future success. In a year or two I have no doubt that the Glazers will sprinkle in some top-tier free agents if they don’t add one or more this year in an effort to get up to the salary cap floor that will undoubtedly be mandated by a new collective bargaining agreement.

“We’ve owned the team for 16 years and our stated philosophy was to build a team that was going to be good for the long haul – not a team that was one year good and one year bad,” said Buccaneers co-chair Bryan Glazer. “We sat down with Tony Dungy. It was his first year and our second year [as owners]. I remember the conversation. We were playing a young quarterback at the time in Trent Dilfer. We said, ‘Tony, we’re going to lose some games in order to win for the long term. You do what you need to do. He did that and built a team that was a winner for a long time. A couple of years after that we lost our way, and I take responsibility for that. But when we brought [Morris and Dominik] in, they understood the plan and what we want to do. We’re not going to put band-aids on and win one year and then go back to losing. We are starting to rebuild a team for the long term that will be a successful, Super Bowl winning team. It’s painful at times, but the ride is fun. That’s what we’re doing right now, and we’re going to do it together. I promise you.”

That’s what Glazer said at a Tampa Chamber of Commerce function this summer before the 10-6 finish this year. Turns out he and his family and the Bucs’ brass were right all along.

“We are excited about building a lasting contender for our fan base,” Glazer said. “We’ve done it before and we’re going to do it again. We have a commitment to you and we’re going to get there. I have nine more fingers that need rings. We’re going to get there one at a time.”

With the league’s top spending teams in 2010 – Washington and Dallas – failing to make the playoffs, expect more NFL teams to rely on good scouting and a more fiscally conservative approach to building teams. This approach was detailed in a recent article the Tampa Tribune’s Ira Kaufman, who received some great reaction to the Bucs' turnaround from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and other NFL owners.

It’s interesting to note that both Tampa Bay and Kansas City – the league’s least spenders last year – finished with 10-6 records and the Chiefs won the AFC West and hosted a playoff game.

Fans may note how cheap the Glazers appear to be by going with a team full rookies because they cost much less than seasoned veterans – with the exception of the contracts of Freeman and McCoy. But the current Buccaneers roster is laden with a lot of cheap talented players – and talent is the most important word to remember in this approach. And there is nothing wrong with that.

Looks like the Glazers’ approach wound up being right.
Last modified on Saturday, 22 January 2011 08:51

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Scott Reynolds

Scott Reynolds

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COMMENTS

  • avatar

    First off all the bust free agents named happened during 2004-2008 except the kicker more on that later.. We are cheap in that we do not go after the "big name" free agents this is what hurts us the most. Alll the crap free agents named were reaches... Todd Steussie was an injury gamble when we siged him, Derrick Deese had a great career we got him when he was like 72, Charlie Garner was great with the eagles but I do not think anyone outside of Gruden and Allen thought he would be an AP type back, we signed him when we failed to keep Dunn.. Angelo Crowell was injured his whole career in Buffallo, Mike Nugent a kicker really? I am not going to dignify that with a response and Derrick Ward who this sight claimed to be the biggest name back in FA that year cashed in on running behind a great line and being the number 2 behind a younger healthy Jacobs. Now lets look at some of the free agents we have not even looked at. Asante Samuel wanted to come here his agent was pushing us to sign him we deemed him to expensive. Julius Peppers if any team should have know what type of player he is we should have. Does anyone think Kevin Carter was a bad pick up? Randal McDaniel? McCardel? Simeon Rice? All I am saying is if you try and bargain basement players at the end of their career because they are cheeper then the top tier FA's then this is what you get. Go after people who make an impact and do not try and reach on garbage.
  • avatar


    dillja, I so agree with what you have stated. Nice spin Glazer's. Lets say it a this way? Glazer's you were lucky! Dominick/Morris made it happen. Glazer's where did you help them? Oh yeah by being cheap in their contract extentions too.
  • avatar


    Well my viewpoint is this after being on this earth for over 65years. As I was growing up in the tampa area I remember watching the University of Tampa with Big John M, who later played for Oakland Raider and a running back Leon McQuaid running all along the place and a coach name Fran C. Who develope a powerhouse the shorttime at Tampa. Then Tampa built a stadium and the NFL teams came running to play the pre-seasons games at Tampa. Then the city of Tampa got the a New Team with winking pirate with Orange, White and Red colors and how about the 0-26 with thw late great Coach McKay guide its team through all the laughtable years, with the SELMON'S, RICKY BELL, and QB that came in like STEVE SPURRIER AND STEVE DEBERG , AND ALSO HOW CAN YOU NOT MENTION THE GREAT COACH IN TONY DUNGY. as far as I can say-HE LEFT TO SOON WITH UNFINISH BUSINESS. HE COULD HAVE HAD BACK TO BACK SUPERBOWLS. But now Tampa has a chance to get back being with the BIG BOYS AFTER Afew years. That is why now that the Tampa Fans needs to come back to support this team at a time of need. To show the owners as well as the players they care for the bucs. I do, even if Iam1700miles away.Go Bucs
  • avatar

    Agree 110% and sad that most people in this area refuse to acknowledge or even consider that the Glazers are doing things in the BEST interest of the fans of Tampa Bay but NO all they look at is Free Agents. Sad really. We got something big brewing in Tampa Bay.
  • avatar

    Who built the training complex? What was it a couple a hundred million? Sure it took them a while but the Glazers got it done! I get tired of the whiners crying about being cheap. Like they said they lost their way because they allowed Gruden and Allen indiscriminate powers to sign any player they wanted to what ever contract they wanted to. People lose sight that this is a business and they are in it to make money. 6 years after the SB win they allowed those two to mess this team up! Do I wish they had signed Peppers? Hell yeah because he surely would have made more of an impact than Haynesworth or Jones ever could this season. We probably would've won 2 more games and be in the playoffs just because of him. Funny thing a lot of people say put a winning product on the field then they would show up. Ask the Rays did that help them? Sure it picked up some but not like talkinn bout. The Bucs never had a losing record this whole season and still the people couldn't see fit to sell out the final home game??? Thats piss poor! Its a good thing they didn't make the playoffs 1st or 2nd seed because the losers in the Bay area would have made it the 1st home playoff game to be blacked out! You say your economy is bad but I bet alcohol and tobacco sales are still thru the roof!!!!!!
  • avatar

    I love all the fans who have all of a sudden become expert NFL financial wizards. A decade ago, the average fan didn't know what the hell a salary cap was - they just knew they wanted their team to win and cheered them on to do so. The Bucs ARE winning. Isn't that all that matters? Do you care how much the restaurant down the street pays its cooks? No - you just want the damn food to taste good. Well, the dish the Bucs are serving right now is delicious. Take a bite so you can get that disgruntled aftertaste out of your mouth.
  • avatar


    Think its a bit early to say it worked. So far we have gone from 9-7 no playoffs, 9-7 no playoffs to 3-13 no playoffs and 10-6 no playoffs. Lets declare the plan a success after next year if it gets us into the playoffs and better yet gets a playoff win.
  • avatar

    Let's not get ahead of ourselves here. I'm with jcarruth, compared to the disaster of 2009, 2010 was great. Had 2009 not be so horribly bad (mostly due to monumental screw-ups by Dominik and Morris), this past year wouldn't look nearly as good. They still missed the playoffs. Have Dom & Morris earned more time to continue the process, YES. However, it's way too early to label this approach a resounding success.
  • avatar


    I agree, it's way too early to call it a success. As far as I enjoy having Coach Morris and Dominick, the jury is still out about the Glazers ... They wanted to cut it and save money for different reasons (lock out, Man U ...). They are lucky they found in Dominick the perfect general manager who was able to put a competitive team on the field by finding players in the draft, trade and off waivers. Dominick is really big ! Morris get his team fired up all year long and wasn't afraid to make big moves to correct his first mistakes. Kuddo for him. But I think we will find out where the Glazers want to go in this next off season. We were less than competitive last off season, no need to make big aquisition in free agency. this is a different story this year. We are 3, may be 4 players to be contender for the superbowl. Finding a stud DE, a bigger MLB and may be a Safety will put us in the hunt. We definitely need to play in the free agency system. Like in the end of the 90'. If the Glazers doesn't spend some good money this year, I think it will be obvious, they won't do it anymore ... By the way, it sucks for the Bucs there is a lock out looming ... Big, big setback for us ... GO BUCS
  • avatar

    Stay the course, Glazers. Don't listen to people lusting for free agents. You are doing it right. Everyone in football, except the Tampa fans thinks you're going about things the right way. And if you keep winning, it will get through even their thick, star-addled skulls. Build through the draft. Set your team. Don't garnish with cherries until you're finished cooking. Ignore the win-now at all cost mentality. You're doing it right. Rah, Dom, keep it up. Good job, all.
  • avatar


    Seconds everything that Lcarruth, Charles and Buccanova just said. We've gone from last in the division to third in the division, behind two teams that have liberally brought in free agents, and we did that with the fifth easiest schedule in the league. This cheapness started before Allen started blowing drafts, so don't pin this on a "Regime" thing and a sudden "change in philosophy." If we're winning, it's great, but we have literally two wins over good teams these last two years, and in neither case did that team, the Saints, have anything to play for except pride. Let's see how we do against the NFC North and AFC South, as well as a Saints team that was actually allowed to bring in free agents, before we claim this to be a rousing success and not just a money-saving routine that had some positive aspects.
  • avatar


    Absolutely agree FilmBuc, some of these fans are just really... sad. Who the hell cares how much the Glazers spend. Why should they blow a wad of money on a big name when most of these so called "fans" wont even fork out money to buy a ticket. Winning is all that matters and the bucs are winning. AND they are setting themselves up for the future very nicely. Not sure what else you could ask of them.
  • avatar


    Just because a free agent is out there doesn't mean you can sign him. Peppers wanted to be a Bear, he wanted out of the NFC south. I don't remember the circumstances, but wasn't a trade involved? Regardless,it's not always the owners to blame, sometimes it's about where the players want to play. I have faith that when the timing is right, the Glazers will sign the right free agents.
  • avatar


    Last year's free agency class was terrible. Beyond Robinson, Kampmann, and Peppers, there wasn't anybody. All 3 of those players were overpaid. The rest of the class was mediocre. Remember all the people screaming about us not resigning Antonio Bryant? Where are they now. There are far more busts than successes in free agency. This year, when and if there is labor peace, there will probably be a lot more free agents out there. I hope we take a few shots this year, and we will probably need to take a few shots next year, and the year after. But can we please look remember that alot of these guys are free agents for a reason and that there may be a reason we pass on Dallas' second string QB or Houston's third string long snapper.
  • avatar


    Scott could have written a very similar article after the 2005 season which yielded a 11-5 record and such a young exciting offense led by Chris Simms, ROY Cadillac Williams, OG Dan Buenning and TE Alex Smith. Scott could have noted how the decision to go young made sense and would benefit the Bucs for years to come; that such a decision was the 'Right Approach.' Scott could have, and did, proclaim to the masses how Michael Clayton was the 'Right (Pick)' and that again, it was clear the work done by Bruce Allen and Co. yielded a great player that the Bucs would build on. But now Scott takes no note of history, does the irresponsible thing and waves his 'Mission Accomplished' banner as the ink dries on the 2010 season. A season where the Bucs beat one team over .500 and feasted on the NFC West which should be known as the weakest division in modern NFL history. Since when do you declare victory after a season with no postseason? Some rookies will succeed, some will fail and be footnotes to history, none of us know who exactly they will be. But one thing we do know is that the Glazers, who decided to embark on this journey of restrained spending (7 years ago but who notices), decide they want to build through the draft. Great. But if you build through the draft, then wouldn't you hand pick a guy with credentials in...drafting players? Not Mark Dominik who's background is actually in Pro Personnel. Wouldn't you boot the Director of College Scouting Dennis Hickey who did nothing to merit confidence during the Bruce Allen err(or) and hire from outside? Wouldn't your GM compulsively try to accumulate draft picks from day 1 and not trade a 2nd and a 5th for a veteran (Winslow) on his first draft? It doesn't seem so neatly pieced-together as Scott would like you to believe does it? Give credit where credit is due. Raheem Morris was a big advocate for Josh Freeman, but unless you are telling me that the Glazers purposely promoted Raheem because he had inside info on a QB from K-State who might become the next big thing, I'm not sure how much I can buy this 'master plan' argument. And neither should the fans.
  • avatar


    Georgehicks. It was Leon "X-Ray" McQuay and the coach was Fran Curcie. As a UT alumnus from the days football was king, I still remember all of those great games as the mighty Spartans took on the big boys.I am so over you people calling the Glazers cheap simply because they came to the conclusion that throwing money at worn out free agents is just not the way to go to build a team. It can be the way to supplement an already sound roster to put it over the top and they did that. You have to realize that ALL of the other NFL owners have business interests besides their little play toy. It's just that the most profitable sports team in the world is more recognizable. No matter what the subject or what the team does some of you just want to dig up your same argument. Would you all feel better if they had signed T.O, Antonio Bryant and fat Albert to big $ contracts? You would have for only the day the "headline" was in the paper but not after the "headache" hit the field. Lucky for you, it wouldn't have been your money swirling down the drain.
  • avatar

    There's a reason teams don't resign players and allow them to become Free Agents. They aren't worth investing in most of the time and their careers are on the decline. The Glazers are smart business people and obviously they are making some wise decisions.
  • avatar

    OF course some of it had to do with money, but they did state building from the draft a lasting foundation was their intentions. Some of you will never believe it though. You will forever believe they simply got lucky and it was a ll just to dump salary. Even if that was the case, the point is : SO WHAT? Where did all that old, overpayed talent end up? Would it have mattered the last 2 years if some of these guys were on the team? Not one bit.
  • avatar

    I have to agree with this article. We have spent so much money on Free Agents over the yrs and gotten with the exception of a few, squat. It takes patience to build through the draft, and usually the early returns are negligable, but in the long run you build a sustainable quality team assuming you put together good drafts. Fast Forward to current regime. We have had two successful drafts in back to back yrs and have built a nucleus on Offense that is going to pay dividends for yrs. If we can do the same on Defense, in the next two yrs, this will be a great team for a decade or more. THey may have been cheap, but the strategy worked, and now we simply need to follow through and continue with that strategy on Defense.
  • avatar

    What could have worked is spending a few bucks on some key agents and who knows that could be us holding up the Lombardi trophy .
  • avatar

    Well, the only reason it worked before was because Rich McKay was making the right decisions. John Lynch, linebacker Derrick Brooks, defensive tackle Warren Sapp, cornerbacks Brian Kelly and Ronde Barber, and fullback Mike Alstott are the players McKay signed to be long term players. Quincy Black, Davin Joseph, Jeremy Trueblood, Michael Clayton...these are players who Dominik has re-signed who should not have been. If we don't figure out WHO to sign, we are not going to repeat our earlier success. It's not the "right way" unless you actually get it right.
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