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Kickin' back

A Glazer's vision: 'an elite franchise'

By ROGER MILLS, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published January 26, 2003


Bucs executive vice president Bryan Glazer, son of owner Malcolm Glazer, shares his thoughts on the season, the Super Bowl, the future, the Glazer family and Michael Jackson:

* * *

RM: What were your expectations?

BG: Just improvement over last year.

RM: So, better than 9-7?

BG: I wouldn't put a number on it. But look at the defense, look at the offense. We have been very lucky so far because we've only had one major injury on the defense and Brad (Johnson) was out for a couple weeks. But I don't judge the whole team based on wins and losses.

RM: In the last moments of the game in Philadelphia, what went through your mind?

BG: I go back to the 1999 game. That year we didn't know so much because we had only been in the league a couple of years and we were looking forward to getting back. We realized after 1999 how hard it was to get back to that point, how nearly impossible it is to get to the NFC championship, let alone win the game. So to win it was great, but then all of a sudden you start thinking (this weekend) because you don't want to miss the opportunity.

RM: My guess is that it was pretty sweet to close out the Vet.

BG: Of all places in the league to have won. After all, their fans are known for being so friendly. I had friends sitting in the stands and they had been to Philadelphia for many of the games and said this was one of their easy times. They said the fans were shell-shocked. They weren't even taunting people. We dominated the game from start to finish, really.

RM: You'll always have memories of Veterans Stadium, considering your first win as owners came there on Sept. 3, 1995 (21-6).

BG: Before the game, I went over and whispered to Derrick Brooks and said, "You remember how we came into the stadium? Well, let's go out the same way!" We both came in the same year.

RM: You were part of that draft?

BG: I was part of that draft.

RM: When they tear it down, do you want a piece of it?

BG: I would love a piece of it to put in my office to represent what we did. That would be great.

RM: Is your philosophy Machiavellian? The ends justifies the means?

BG: I do agree with that. We said it when we came in. We said it to Sam Wyche, we said it to Tony Dungy. If playing Trent Dilfer means we're going to lose some games in order to win more later on, then we'll take a lesser season. We told them that. If we sign a free-agent superstar and he's not playing well, sit him on the bench. We've said that to them. Do what you need to do.

RM: But you believe in seizing the day?

BG: We're here now. There may never be second chance. I grew up a Dolphins fan, I was sure Dan Marino would be to five or six Super Bowls and that's the lesson I learned. You may never get back. You have to take advantage of the opportunity.

RM: So, who's screaming in the owner's box during the game?

BG: Most of our family will high-five each other after scores. But there's no one in the family that are yelling after every play. We're quiet. There's an inside nervousness.

RM: What about the old man?

BG: My dad doesn't say a lot. He's quiet and studious. But it doesn't mean he's not excited. He's watching the game, taking it all in. He's not a yeller, not a screamer. You know, my dad lost his father when he was young so he didn't have anyone to take him to football games, baseball games, sporting events. So he's getting life in sports in the sense of through his children. We're taking him to the games because he's been working from 16 years old.

RM: And Joel?

BG: We're all almost the same way. We're all watching, watching, watching and we'll jump up when something great happens.

RM: Do officials drive you crazy?

BG: We have never been killed, yet. Other than the Bert Emanuel thing. We've been lucky. I'll see a call that we don't get, but then I'll see something that should have been called on us. So I don't get caught up in that. I know there are a lot of people who get caught up in the ones that go against them and they don't look at the ones that they got away with during the game. Officials are human.

RM: What was the difference in the pain of the loss after the 1999 season and the loss after the 2001 season?

BG: That was a different thing. That day I was more disappointed than anything else. I don't think going into this game anyone had the confidence that we could win. But going into the (NFC Championship Game), I was extremely confident.

RM: You're on top now, things will change.

BG: You can't just get there once. And I'm not just talking about the Super Bowl, I'm talking about being an elite franchise. You want to be such a team. We look back at the Cowboys, the Steelers, the Raiders, the Dolphins, and I want us to be that type of team for the children and younger people today who are picking their favorite team.

RM: Any sibling rivalries among the Glazer kids?

BG: You'd be shocked to know that we all got along very, very well growing up. We're still extremely close today. We talk to each other constantly.

RM: There are a lot of people in Tampa who feel they don't know the Glazer family and that the Glazer family is hard to get to know.

BG: That's true. We're close. If I didn't have any brothers and sisters we would probably be out more. I have a very close group of friends in Tampa. We didn't move to Tampa when we were 14 so we didn't have a thousand friends. If I ask you how many friends you have made in the last five years what number would that be? Those people who are not about us are people who are against sports in general. Those are the people who argue that sports don't benefit a community. It's not personal to us. It would be any owner. And I would use this week as the argument. How can you say sports does not benefit a community?

RM: The training facility?

BG: We've been patient and we didn't talk about it much but we were kind of hoping what has happened would happen. We had it planned out. We have to wait and wait. We're going to be in there for 30 years, so what's another two years? And you know something, we're doing fine (at One Buc Place). It's not killing us. When we move to the new building people are going to be sad. We're going to be so spread out that people are going to miss the interaction.

RM: What else do you have planned for that land?

BG: That we don't know. It's not like we have a secret plan for there. We're looking at that now. But everything has been put aside for a few weeks.

RM: What do you have in your CD rack?

BG: I try to listen to new music and not get stuck in classics. I listen to everything from Billy Joel to Elton John to the Eagles ... Nora Jones.

RM: Which of the brothers was the bully, who got the cereal first?

BG: It may not have been the bully, but the one with the quick fingers. . . . Jeez, everyone had their moments. Everyone pulled their stunts in the family.

RM: Your favorite TV brothers?

BG: People accuse us of being the Bradys but we're not that sweet. I liked the Brady Bunch growing up and I like the Simpsons now. I think we're a mix between the Brady Bunch and the Simpsons.

RM: People would be shocked to know

BG: We're regular people. We grew up watching football games like everybody else. I didn't grow up riding limousines around town. Having a limo this weekend is the first time in my life that I have had one at my disposal. The season tickets I had for the Dolphins were in the upper deck, far corner. When it comes to everyday life we're regular folks. I go to the grocery store. I fill up my own gas.

RM: So the perception that the Glazer brothers are aloof is unfair?

BG: It's perception. They don't know. I wouldn't say it's unfair. I would just say in life everyone has views of people they don't know and they are generally not true.

RM: But you're so guarded about everyone.

BG: I think we have to be a little guarded. When we meet people, we're in such a high-profile position, you want to make sure that everything is fine.

RM: One day, the Glazers will be remembered for

BG: Bringing a Super Bowl to Tampa. Start with one.

RM: Is it true that you guys don't fly first class?

BG: I generally don't. Unless I can upgrade with my frequent flier points, but no, I fly coach. People are surprised about that but we're regular people. You have to keep your feet on the ground.

RM: Of the Glazer boys, are you the one who will throw an elbow, mix it up a little bit?

BG: I've been known to.

RM: So you're a fighter?

BG: No. No one in our family is really a fighter.

RM: Michael Jackson?

BG: I hung out for tickets all night long once to go to a Michael Jackson concert. It was in Washington, D.C., RFK Stadium, the Victory Tour.

RM: Best Jackson album?

BG: I would say Off the Wall.

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