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Q&A with Tampa Bay Buccaneers co-chairman Joel Glazer

Joel Glazer said he thinks new coach Lovie Smith and GM Jason Licht “have a good plan and we’re excited to watch it unfold.”

Times files (2012)

Joel Glazer said he thinks new coach Lovie Smith and GM Jason Licht “have a good plan and we’re excited to watch it unfold.”

ORLANDO — The Bucs have had four head coaches and three general managers in seven years, not a single playoff appearance, a 37-59 record (from 2008-13) and an entire draft class that disappeared.

It's "unacceptable," co-chairman Joel Glazer said Tuesday from the NFL owners meetings.

The only constant for the Bucs has been change and this year might bring the most dramatic transformation in club history, from new uniforms to coach Lovie Smith, general manager Jason Licht and 11 free agents (and counting). So what as been the reason for such failure for the Glazer family, which owns the Bucs and won the Lombardi Trophy in the 2002 season?

"As I sit here, I don't think you can point to one thing or another," Glazer said. "At this point we're very focused on the future going forward and trying to correct the problems of the past. But, clearly it hasn't worked and that's why changes had to be made this year because we were 4-12 this year and just to sit around and keep going a direction thinking something is going to change and taking those big chances, we're not above saying, "Hey, this isn't working.'

On Tuesday, Glazer met with reporters in a group and later with the Times.

Your family's sports holdings now include the Manchester United soccer club and the family is spread across the map. Has the divided interests contributed to the losing product for the Bucs?

"No. Our passion to win, our passion for the Buccaneers, that has not changed at all. If I was down on the sideline coaching or I was drafting or whatever, I would say that's accurate. But no, there's a lot of people with a lot of different business, but one of ours happens to be very high profile, so I can see why people might think that. But our dedication, our focus, the passion, the losses hurt just as much as they always have, but our support is there for Lovie, for Jason, give them everything they need."

Has this been as much change as you've ever experienced with the team?

"There's been a lot of change. But it's been refreshing, it's been exciting. We've got a lot of positive feedback from our fans. They're excited. You can feel they're re-energized. With Lovie and Jason, they have a good plan and we're excited to watch it unfold."

You were aggressive in hiring Lovie Smith. Why?

"I think first and foremost was his success over the years and we just happened to also know him. So when you add that combination, it's logical. One thing I have learned over the years, when you're trying to pursue a coach and there is a coach out there that you think is the right fit, you can't wait around. You have to act, you have to act quick because there are a lot of people looking for good coaches."

What role does your ownership play in big player personnel decisions? Did you make the decision to release Darrelle Revis?

"Ultimately, we like to let the coach and general manager make decisions. But they obviously will keep us up to date on what's going on. Before they're about to do something, check with us just to make sure we're in the know of what's going on. But ultimately, we're there to be supportive of what they want to do and provide the support. That's always been our No. 1 role."

How concerned are you about the Bucs' dwindling fan base? Speculation is that the season ticket base was 26,000 last year.

"Our fans have been great. They've been very supportive of the team. We saw a definite increase in attendance last year and we have great fans. Our job is to put a winning team on the field so they're there. They want to support a winning team. It's our job to give them that winning team."

Last year you guaranteed there would be no TV blackouts and every game would air locally. Are you willing to do that again?

"Like last year, we were happy we were able to get all the games on TV. And that's our hope again this year. Ticket sales have been positive again this year. It's not something we want to get ahead of ourselves on. We know that's what's best for our fans, to have all the games on TV. But right now, we're focused on getting tickets sold because there's nothing better than having fans in the seats. Then we'll make the decision from there."

The Bucs won a Super Bowl not long after you took over as owners. How much does losing bother you?

"Here's what I know. When you've been around a team that has been in the hunt for a Super Bowl and you've been in a locker room that's held up the Vince Lombardi Trophy and you've had that experience, you've had that feeling, nothing comes close.

"And when you've had the results we've had the last few years, it's not only unacceptable, it's gut wrenching."

Q&A with Tampa Bay Buccaneers co-chairman Joel Glazer 03/25/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 25, 2014 10:37pm]
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