PHOENIX — It has been 15 years since the Bucs won their only Lombardi Trophy, which also was their last playoff victory. Co-chairman Joel Glazer said maybe the team and fans were fooled into the belief that they could do it without an elite quarterback.
"We were one of the rare exceptions," Glazer said Tuesday. "Us and the Ravens, who really did it with phenomenal defense and not necessarily elite quarterback play. And I think that experience may have clouded what it really takes to get to the Super Bowl, and it doesn't take long to realize it's the great quarterbacks who are generally there in the end.
"That's why we're so excited with Jameis (Winston)."
Two years ago, in the very same terrace of the Biltmore Resort, Glazer said the franchise was "comfortable'' with drafting Winston.
But Tuesday, comfort had clearly grown to confidence that Winston and coach Dirk Koetter will soon not only end a nine-year playoff drought but bring championships back to Tampa Bay.
"I'm more excited about this season than I've been in a long time because when I'm around the team and you're in the locker room, when you've been around championship teams and seen some character and personalities and talents, you know what it takes to win a Super Bowl," Glazer said. "And we have a team with some players that are headed in the right direction, and we're putting that together. It's a team that's ready to compete with any team in the National Football League, and we saw it last year. We're older, more experienced and added more pieces. I sense the excitement in Tampa. I'm excited. The season can't start soon enough."
For about 20 minutes Tuesday, Glazer talked about the controversial decision to hire Koetter, the smart way general manager Jason Licht has built the roster and a new indoor facility that will be completed in time for the season and embraced the possibility of the Bucs being picked for HBO's Hard Knocks.
Why did you make Koetter, your offensive coordinator for one season, the Bucs' head coach?
"I think first and foremost was his relationship with the quarterback. You hear a lot of people say the coach/quarterback relationship is the most important in all of sports. They had developed a great rapport. Worked well together. Jameis had a year in the offense. On top of that, getting to know Dirk and his leadership abilities and want to win and everything he brings to the table. We just thought he'd be natural for the next step and create some kind of continuity amidst the change we'd had. Another aspect of winning is continuity."
Koetter went 9-7, but there was still a learning curve, right?
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"We had to remind ourselves of that also, that while he had been around, he hadn't been a (NFL) head coach also. There's a lot of new things, and when you're a head coach and not a coordinator, there's a lot of new things to deal with. … There's no question, last year was his first year and he learned a lot of things."
What's your perception of Winston two years after you drafted him?
"If you're looking to put up a model of what a young player should be, I'd be pointing all young players to him. His work ethic, his involvement in the community. His leadership. Every aspect that you could ask for, he has brought to the table. And I've had I can't tell you how many people come up to me who have interacted with him and have just raved about their experience."
What's your thought about the way Licht has constructed this team?
"One of the great things about Jason is he just has a pure football background and we've seen in the drafts he's had, that coming through. He knows what a player looks like and knows how he wants to build this team. He himself has learned from experiences and brought all that forward. We've benefitted from his experience, continuity and a clear direction. Everybody feels that. You want stability. Everybody has always wanted stability. And to not feel that really was killing us internally because we know how important stability is. The franchise has turned the corner, and we're entering a nice era of stability. Everybody has the same beliefs and headed the right direction."
You're one of the teams eligible for Hard Knocks. Could your team handle it?
"I think we are one of the teams that are eligible under the rules, and I do think our team and players are at a point of maturity that they would be able to handle it. They recognize what goes along with it. But we'll always be supportive of the league. Nobody is rushing to the podium to do it necessarily. But the team would be ready for it. Dirk and Mike Smith went through it in Atlanta, so it wouldn't be new to them. In this day and age, everybody has the cameras out for everyone."
Will the indoor practice facility be ready this year?
"We're in the final stages of getting it constructed and the final details worked out, but it will be up this year. … It is draining when you're out in the heat. I think it does have an effect on the team."