Freeman Fighting Fan Opinion, HistoryAugust 18th, 2013
“Our fans are our stockholders. They’re what we play for — the people in our stadium and the ones that watch on TV. That’s what it’s all about: winning and how they feel about the team. If they don’t feel good about the team, then there’s something wrong. . . I think you all know the sense that’s out there. It was time for a change.” — Bucs owner Bryan Glazer following the firing of Chucky in 2009.
Remember when Team Glazer fired Chucky?
After consecutive 9-7 seasons (with less talent than the 2013 Buccaneers), Jon Gruden was ousted and Team Glazer publicly stated they made the change, in large part, because they knew fans wanted a different direction.
Team Glazer said they took the pulse of the fans, heard their desires for regime change and took them to heart.
So with that knowledge, Joe will assert that Josh Freeman has no shot of scoring another long term contract with the Bucs without having a majority of fans in his corner. Why would Team Glazer make Freeman the face of the franchise for about $20 million per season (what it surely will cost) if fans don’t approve?
Of course, if the Bucs make the playoffs this season, then Freeman’s future likely is a very easy call for Team Glazer. But history tells Joe that could be Freeman’s only chance.
What quarterbacks in NFL history have gotten a sixth consecutive season as a starter from a team without making the playoffs?
It’s a question Joe’s been studying for a while. Vinny Testeverde may be the only one in the modern era. The bumbling Bucs of the Hugh Culverhouse era gave Testeverde a six-year, $8.2 million rookie contract after he was drafted in 1986. And Vinny played out the deal in Tampa.
(Joe would love to hear if any readers can identify another QB that got a sixth season as a starter with one team without making the playoffs.)
Testaverde did not play in the win-now NFL. Freeman does. In Testaverde’s era, coaches took over teams to execute four- and five-year rebuilding plans. Nowadays, coaches are on the proverbial hot seat in their second season. Quarterbacks don’t get sixth seasons without winning.
Yes, every team situation is different. But as it becomes clearer that Freeman is the most polarizing figure on the Bucs (and as the Mike Glennon Mob grows), Joe feels it’s worth noting the off-the-field factors in Freeman’s way. To ignore them in the debate would be irresponsible.