Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Glazer's Successor In Place, and A Trip Down Memory Lane.

Here at Pewter Pirates, we honor the great Malcom Glazer, the owner of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Mr. Glazer bought the Bucs for a then-record $192 million from the Hugh Culverhouse estate in 1995. Since 1995's purchase our beloved Tampa Bay Buccaneers have gone from worst to first. We have had great players, great coaches, and our first ever Super Bowl under Mr. Glazer.

Mr. Glazer is a 77-year-old Palm Beach billionaire who also owns the Manchester United soccer club. On April 16, 2006 Mr. Glazer was admitted to the Cleveland Clinic, where he suffered from a stroke that impaired his speech and mobility in his right arm and leg. Mr. Glazer was readmitted April 30, following a second stroke. He remains in the Cleveland Clinic, where he is surrounded by family, including sons Joel and Bryan, who are both Bucs executive vice presidents.
"Doctors expect my father to return home in the next few weeks," Joel Glazer
said in a statement released Friday.
"As a result of this stroke, his
rehabilitation period will be longer and more challenging. Our family
appreciates all the support and warm wishes that we have received."

Born in Rochester, N.Y., Glazer is president and chief executive officer of First Allied Corporation, a holding company for his array of businesses. The latest edition of the Forbes 400 lists Glazer in 258th place, with a net worth of approximately $1.3 billion.

Buccaneers owner Malcolm Glazer has a succession plan in place to keep the Tampa Bay Buccaneers NFL team in the family. Under his plan, the sons of Glazer who run the team's daily operations would continue controlling the NFL team. Three of Glazer's five sons - Joel, Bryan and Edward - run the team's business operations as executive vice presidents.

This is good news for us Bucs fans, because it keeps continuity with the team, not to mention Mr. Glazers wallet. I wish and pray for Mr. Glazer to have a speedy recovery, but the truth is he might never be the same and his Buccaneer involvement will probably now be limited. We as fans must never forget what he has brought to the Bucs. I remember as a kid getting out of church and going home to watch the Bucs. The Bucs were always so close to winning a game, but could not find away to finish. They were so bad, at times they were not even on television. During those days you could always see the Miami Dolphins but not the Bucs.

Back then it was the old Florida Orange and white, with Buccaneer Bruce (which like Joey Galloway, it still is dear to my heart, and I wish on Thanksgiving day they would were the throw backs uniforms.

We truly were the laughing stock of the NFL. When I wore my Bucs colors to school, I was laughed at.

However, I never, ever became a bandwagon fan as so many have today. I was there in the begins and I am here today.

Mr. Glazer has changed the image of the Bucs and it started in 1995.

First he hired Coach Dungy, which changed the players way of thinking and they believed and they started to win.
Next came the Uniform change in 1997, when the Glazers worked with the NFL to develop a more marketable and intimidating look.
The Bucs changed their team colors to dark red, black, and pewter with white and orange striping. "Bucco Bruce" was replaced by a red flag displaying a white pirate skull and crossed sabres.

I have some great memories at Houlihan's Stadium, specially when I was in the Army, and I would return home from leave. My parents would pick me up at Tampa International and we would head over to Houlihan Stadium buy tickets right there and go watch the Bucs get beat.

Raymond James Stadium was built primarily to replace the aging Houlihan's Stadium, formerly located adjacent to the property. The Raymond James Stadium officially opened September 20, 1998, when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Chicago Bears, 27-15. I am now a season ticket holder for the Bucs, but it took 5 years of waiting to get my tickets. Boy how times have changed and how the Bucs market has grown. Back then I had only a couple of old Buccaneer T-shirts, but they were hard to find, NFL merchandise in Florida belonged to the Miami Dolphins. That has changed as well, South Florida is still pretty much Dolphins fans, Central Florida belongs to the Bucs and North Florida is divided between Dolphins, Bucs and Jaguars. Yes, the Jacksonville Jaguars are the North Florida team, but they have not capitalized on the North Florida dollar. There is even some talk that the Jaguars Owner wants to relocate to Los Angeles.

I have probably over 50 Buccaneer T-shirts today and 10 Jerseys. You can find Buccaneer merchandise anywhere. I should know, my 4th bedroom in my house is a Buccaneer room, right down to the red and black walls. (Some say Dungy was fired for giving this Jersey to a crazy man, just a little republican humor).

At the end of 2001, we thought Mr. Glazer had lost his mind by firing Coach Dungy, but little did we know that the Man would be coming to town, and I don't mean the FAT TUNA (Bill Parcells). Yes, the Bucs hired Coach Jon Gruden, who during his first season in 2002, would take the Bucs to their first ever Super Bowl and win.

My point is before Mr. Glazer and his sons, Tampa Bay Buccaneers were the laughing stock of the NFL, only a real fan would go to the games and talk Buc football. Today Bucs fans are everywhere. Most of them are bandwagon fans, but that is ok, because we as Americans seem compelled to like things that are successful. Today the stands at Raymond James Stadium are filled, Season tickets are sold out and there is a waiting list, there are fan web sites, and blogs about the Bucs. However, have a conversation with these guys and they know nothing about yesterdays Bucs. Mr. Glazer I have been there through think and thin. I know what you built and I am thankful. I am also thankful that the Glazer sons will be the future of the Buccaneers. May you have a speedy recover Mr. Glazer and thanks from a life long fan. So it may seem that Mr. Glazers days as the actual owner might be coming to an end, but his influence will always remain, and as long as a Glazer owns this team, then our ship will sail straight for many years to come. Now lets bring home another championship for the old man.

No comments: