Josh Freeman

The St. Pete Times Hates The Glazers

July 01, 2009 at 12:01pm by Scott   •  6 Comments »

Does no one remember the Culverhouse years?
A report that’s getting a lot of attention during the news vacuum is this piece that Jason La Canfora put out on which lists the total dollars spent (not salary cap used) per team for the 2004-2008 seasons. The Bucs are dead last, having spent $449-million in salaries and bonuses during that period. That’s $53.6-million, or about $10.7-million per year, less than the average. That’s a good chunk less, but not so crazy that you’d want to write some kind of sensationalistic piece deriding the Glazers and accusing them of dooming the franchise. Oh hey, guess what the Times published!

Two Times writers, in fact, jumped on the Glazers after hearing this news. The first one, Greg Auman, also references a follow-up piece by La Canfora that takes those dollars spent and divides them over the number of wins a team has. Not surprisingly, the conclusion is that money does not equal wins, and the Bucs came out #14 in dollars spent per win. And somehow this is bad news to Auman.

It’s disappointing news for Bucs fans, and La Canfora posted a follow-up story, looking at how much NFL teams have spent per win over the past five seasons. The Bucs have spent the least in the NFL according to the numbers, but they’re hardly the most efficient when it comes to cost per win — with 38 wins in those five seasons, the Bucs spent an average of $11.81 million per victory, and 13 NFL teams spent less per win than the Bucs.

So Auman takes a virtue like doing more with less and tries to twist into a negative. How does that work? In fact, the Bucs were among the best in terms of spending less but still cranking out some wins. La Canfora addresses this statistic himself.

It’s hard not to look at the list and throw some love at the front offices in San Diego and Jacksonville, hanging with the big boys despite their low spending.

San Diego and Jacksonville, the teams La Canfora singles out, are #1 and #3 respectively in the ranking disparity between dollars and overall efficiency. The Bucs are #5. That is a testimony to good scouting, good drafting, and shrewd contract negotiation. But please, let’s all take the easy way out and proclaim that the cure to the Bucs’ problems is just spending more money.

The other cockgobbler who weighs in on these reports is noted Buc hater John Romano. His piece is longer so as to stretch out the lack of logic, but don’t worry, it’s there.

For one reason or another, the Glazers are not spending money the way they once did. And, perhaps not coincidentally, the team is not winning as much, either.

Now, before we get too far, it is important to point out that a fat payroll does not necessarily guarantee more victories.

But that’s the whole point of your article! It takes a special kind of arrogance to set up the premise that everything you’re about to say is untrue, and then go ahead and say it anyway. I’d also like to contest the first sentence of that excerpt. He says he used the USA Today NFL Salary Database to come up with his 2000-2004 figures, but you tell me if this looks like they’re spending less than before:

2008: $104,329,311
2007: $98,105,565
2006: $78,779,519
2005: $73,770,494
2004: $81,989,547
2003: $88,084,700
2002: $64,486,295
2001: $76,976,459
2000: $58,054,900

Now this number is called “Total Payroll” which may or may not be the same number La Canfora is using, but the point is still the same. As you can see, payroll rose steadily until the period between 2004-2006 when Bruce Allen was trying to dig the Bucs out of the salary cap swamp that Rich McKay left him. And since then it has continued to rise.

From 2000-2004, the team spent $369.6-million, and from 2004-2008 (2004 has to overlap in order for the periods to be comparable), they spent $447-million. How is that “not spending money the way they once did”? The implication of that sentence is that they’re spending less, but that’s clearly not the case. YOU CAN’T JUST SAY UNTRUE SHIT, JOHN! Okay, anyway, let’s keep going.

Still, there is something larger than figures in a ledger at play here. These numbers could say something about a team’s financial condition. They could say something about ownership’s commitment to winning. They could say something troublesome about the future.

Wow, the numbers could say a lot of shit, eh? Well, I’m sure you back up all this speculation with facts.

The problem is we have bits and pieces of evidence, yet we never get explanations from the notoriously secretive Glazer family. And in the absence of candor, we are invited to jump to conclusions.

Now that’s some solid reporting! Oh thank god I have John Romano to jump to baseless conclusions for me because my imagination is so stunted from reading the Times all day. He’s not going to get all bogged down in hard-hitting “investigation” or “research” — that shit is for chumps. Better to just lower himself to the level of Joe Asshole and start spouting unfounded hate.

For instance, the time period covered includes the Glazers’ $1.47 billion purchase of the Manchester United soccer team. In a previous column based on USA Today salary figures, I pointed out the Bucs were in the top half of the NFL in player salaries every season from 2000 to ’04. And, ever since buying Man U, they have been in the bottom half.

That part is true, but let’s adjust for the fact MANY teams jacked up their payroll to outlandish amounts during that time, too. For example, in 2005 there was one team that spent more than $100-million (according to USA Today) and that was Seattle with $100.6-million. The very next year, 16 teams crossed the $100-million mark with Indianapolis breaking the bank at $131.1-million. Tampa Bay couldn’t join in the party because they were still getting their salary cap house in order. They were falling down the spending ranks, but not really because they were spending so much less than before.

In effect, the numbers say no team has been cheaper than the Bucs when it comes to acquiring and securing talent for half a decade.

And still the Bucs are the only team to win the NFC South multiple times during that period.

In the face of those figures, how can you not wonder if the family’s mountainous debt from the Manchester United purchase hasn’t tempered their desire to spend whatever necessary to reach the Super Bowl?

But didn’t he say that payroll doesn’t necessarily guarantee more victories?

The Bucs were a very good team in 1999 — a touchdown away from the Super Bowl — but that wasn’t enough for the Glazers. They spent millions to get Keyshawn Johnson. They spent millions more to get Brad Johnson and Simeon Rice.

And spent millions more to get Jeff Faine and Kellen Winslow and Antonio Bryant. Oh wait, that was just recently.

All of that spending led to a Lombardi Trophy in the 2002 season…

Except not necessarily.

…but it also put the team in salary cap trouble.

And that could, at least partially, explain why the Bucs have not spent as much in the seasons that followed.

Welcome to the party, John. Anyone who knows their shit has been saying that for the last four years. You spent that time hating Jon Gruden and Bruce Allen and blaming them for losing.

Former general manager Bruce Allen dramatically cut payroll costs for a couple of seasons to get Tampa Bay back comfortably under the salary cap.

So, yes, that is a legitimate explanation.

But it is not enough.

Bookmark this entry, people. John Romano gave Bruce Allen credit for something.

Other teams have had salary cap woes and still managed to spend more than Tampa Bay.

Yes, the Raiders, the Lions, the 49ers. Model franchises, those.

And no team has had more room under the cap the past two off-seasons, yet the Bucs continue to operate as if they were a corner store with mom and pop counting pennies.

And all they have to show for it is two 9-7 seasons. Not where we’d like them to be, but certainly not as dismal as Romano makes it out. The rest of the article goes on to guess why the Glazers are spending less despite the factual evidence that they aren’t. They just aren’t spending as much as other teams these days.

It’s so easy to blow someone else’s money, isn’t it? I don’t know why the Glazers aren’t keeping up with the rest of the NFL. But I do know that they didn’t get super rich by being bad at managing their money. They know that football fans are generally fickle and will stop spending their paychecks on their teams if they don’t win, so the Glazers will do something to get the team back up to speed. And as this article has said and ignored repeatedly, that may not mean spending more money. They just changed everything about the team. Coaches, players, schemes… it’s all been overhauled. Maybe Romano should wait a year or two and see if that plan works out for the Bucs before accusing the Glazers of neglect.

6 Comments to “The St. Pete Times Hates The Glazers”


Louie (July 01, 2009 at 12:47pm:

I knew that article was going to generate some dribble from the local hacks. Too bad they can’t write anything objectively.

Granted, the Glazers are spending less and the economy has to be effecting them, but are they really just spending smart? If they can win with a small payroll, then more power to them.

1) They fired Gruden/Allen. That move cost them money and they lost a big-name coach who drew fans to the stadium. That’s a risky move in order to make the Bucs a consistant winner. If money was the #1 priority, they wouldn’t have done that.

2) They haven’t lost any big-names to free-agency like Culverhouse did with Doug Williams. They’ve consistantly resigned their core players and have been building through the draft. Everybody (except the local media) agrees that’s the right approach.

3) They aren’t spending wildly on free agents. However, they are still spending on select free agents. Most of the high-dollar free agents the Bucs signed in the past just didn’t work out in the long term and left the team in salary cap hell. It’s one thing to add a player or two in order to win a Superbowl, but you can’t win that way in the long term.

Great analysis, Scott!

Mark S

Mark S (July 01, 2009 at 04:07pm:

What the spending discrepancy boils down to is that we have not had a franchise QB. One franchise QB would easily eat up the $10M per year, maybe more.

Slow Joe

Slow Joe (July 02, 2009 at 12:37am:

Great post, Scott.

Slow Joe

Slow Joe (July 02, 2009 at 12:39am:

I’d also like to add that I did NOT make fun of your mother here.

So let me know if you’d like me to pass a message on to her tonight.


Scott (July 02, 2009 at 09:38am:

@Mark: That’s a great point. I wish I’d thought of it.

@Joe: You fucker. I let a great mother joke opportunity slip by the other day because I thought we were done. That’s okay, though. Another one will come by soon enough. Your mom is an easy target.

Slow Joe

Slow Joe (July 02, 2009 at 11:17am:

LOL. Look forward to it.

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