The latest viral Tom Brady tweet featured the seven-time Super Bowl champion brandishing a tattoo of Bucs coach Bruce Arians on his outer left knee.
It was a PhotoShop job, of course. But his universally heralded work ethic, according to Joel Glazer, is no mirage.
To the contrary, the Bucs owner/co-chairman on Wednesday credited Brady with almost single-handedly changing the franchise’s culture.
“You heard stories and watched him from afar for many years,” Glazer told reporters during a Zoom session. “You heard things about him, but you never really realize something until you’re around somebody or with somebody, and everything I heard was absolutely accurate. ... He works harder than anybody I’ve ever seen. His leadership is unbelievable, and his relationship with everybody and just the person he is — the whole package.”
Naturally, the subject of Brady emerged as a prominent one during Glazer’s de facto state-of-the-franchise session, which coincided with the NFL virtual league meetings.
He also called the 2020 season — successfully staged amid a global pandemic and culminating with the Bucs becoming the first franchise to win a Super Bowl in its home stadium — a “magical” experience.
“With the backdrop of everything that was going on, and to be able to provide that type of excitement and joy to the community at a time when things were so difficult, words cannot express how special it made everything, and how it made us feel,” Glazer said.
“And to culminate at home and a boat parade, it was all magical, and at the right time.”
But he saved some of his greatest gushing for the eventual Hall of Fame quarterback who enjoyed one of the most prosperous seasons of his 21-year career at age 43.
“You hear it, you kind of wonder can someone really change the culture that much? Absolutely,” Glazer said. “Again, people lead by example. And when you see somebody who has been in the league that long, had that much success and is still working as hard as anybody, that rubs off.”
Glazer indicated that he’s counting on a much greater portion of his fan base observing Brady in person in 2021. A day after NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said he expects the league to have full stadiums this fall, the Bucs owner virtually echoed that forecast.
He added the possibility of fans being allowed to observe a portion of training camp is in the discussion phase, with respect to what’s transpiring with the coronavirus.
“We’re preparing for normality, and that’s our expectation,” he said. “It may be a walk-before-you-can-run process, but as we prepare for next season, we’re preparing for normality and all the excitement that comes along with it.”
Glazer also downplayed any suggestion the Bucs have mortgaged their future by re-signing nearly every prominent free agent, which has resulted in Tampa Bay becoming the first Super Bowl champion since the 1976 Raiders to return every starter.
In a mild diversion from the past, the team has restructured some deals (such as converting salaries to signing bonuses, creating “voidable” contract years) that potentially could create dead money down the road. But Glazer noted the salary cap (reduced to $182.5 in 2021 in the wake of a season afflicted by the pandemic) should increase significantly in future years.
“When we look out to the future and where the cap will continue to grow, and the team we have and the players we extended, yes, maybe some of the structure has changed, but we do have an eye to the future,” he said.
“At the same token, we do feel that there is a window now. It’s all about winning championships, so we want to give it our best shot. But we definitely have an eye to the future. We do not believe that we’re causing terrible problems in the future.”
Contact Joey Knight at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @TBTimes_Bulls.
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