Malcolm Glazer Was A Bucs Badass

August 4th, 2017

Ira Kaufman is the most beloved, revered and esteemed Buccaneers columnist in town. He has hung his hat at world headquarters since July 2016. Tampa Bay’s only Pro Football Hall of Fame voter, Ira busts out columns here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and his award winning podcasts fire Tuesdays and Thursdays.


The facts are in and the conclusion is uncommonly clear.

Malcolm Glazer was a badass.

Don’t be fooled by the red beard, the specs and a belt buckle worn unusually high. The late owner of the Buccaneers would have been very proud of this confident football team and Dirk Koetter’s aggressive approach.

Koetter wants relentless drive, attention to detail and commitment — Glazer embodied these qualities until his death in 2014 at the age of 85.

It was no surprise that most of the attention in Wednesday’s Ring of Honor news conference was focused on Jon Gruden, but it is Malcolm Glazer who reigns as the most important figure in franchise history.

Don’t take my word for it.

“He had a vision, he had the guts, he had the courage to make this purchase and change the destiny of this franchise,” Gruden recalled. “The leadership that Malcolm Glazer had, the genuine care that he had for me as a person, will never be forgotten.”

Remember the image of Glazer walking through the southwest tunnel at Raymond James Stadium on the night after the Bucs won the Super Bowl? He carried the Vince Lombardi Trophy aloft like a warrior celebrating victory at the Roman Colosseum while thousands cheered.

Glazer will be the 10th member inducted into the Ring of Honor when he is recognized Oct. 5, during halftime of Thursday Night Football against the Patriots.

When it comes to his business and his sports teams, Malcolm Glazer deserves to be considered a badass.

Ridicule To Riches

He came from nothing, a self-made millionaire who sold watches and knew it would soon be his time. He built a fortune but never undersold his wife, Linda, or the six kids.

And when the opportunity arose to purchase a forlorn NFL franchise, Glazer would not be denied. He invited ridicule by paying $192 million for the Bucs in 1995, a record price at the time, and within a year he hired a new head coach to replace Sam Wyche.

That man, Tony Dungy, now has a bust in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Soon, new uniforms and a new stadium would follow. And there was big-time success, with Malcolm always on hand to shake victorious hands in the locker room.

He lobbied hard to land Super Bowls for the Bay area and always supported Dungy’s initiatives to make the Bucs an integral part of the community.

Above all, he wanted to win.

When he reached the NFL summit on that unforgettable night in San Diego, Glazer soaked it all in and let down his suspenders.

“First, I want to thank coach Gruden for what he did,” Glazer bellowed from a makeshift platform at Qualcomm Stadium. “He came from heaven and he brought us to heaven. We’ve got the greatest players in the world. They’re the Tampa Buccaneers, and if you haven’t heard about them, you heard about them today. And we’ve got the best fans in the world. Tampa Bay, Tampa Bay, Tampa Bay … we love you.”

That was a rare show of emotion from Glazer, a private man in a public arena.

Humble Roots

Malcolm Glazer

I was waiting on a flight to Phoenix for the NFL meetings in 2003, less than two months after the Bucs routed the Raiders. Malcolm and his wife were on our plane and they sat a few rows in front of us — in coach.

He never forgot his humble roots.

“I remember going to the owners’ meetings every year and sitting with him,” Gruden said. “The only thing that he cared about was if I was happy. Where I was living, how my kids were doing – and it was genuine and it’s something you can’t replace.”

Glazer also had a special relationship with Dungy, who singled him out a year ago during his Hall of Fame acceptance speech.

“I’m especially grateful to Malcolm Glazer, who was so supportive and so loving and gave me so much practical advice,” Dungy said.

In 2005, with Dungy entrenched as coach of the Colts, Glazer attended the funeral of 18-year-old James Dungy in Tampa. Two grieving souls shared a long embrace.

“We took a lot of bus rides to the airport,” Dungy said, “and Mr. Glazer would sit on the front seat. Every time Jamie would come on, he would talk to him. He never talked to him about football. He always talked to him about being a good son, and then he’d talk to me about taking care of my boys and being a good dad — every single trip we took.”

See what I mean?


13 Responses to “Malcolm Glazer Was A Bucs Badass”

  1. Locked In Says:

    Great article Ira. Anyone who doesn’t appreciate what Mr. Glazer did for this franchise needs to remember the days of Mr. C the Great Pumpkin.

    –“Malcolm and his wife were on our plane and they sat a few rows in front of us — in coach.”
    Cue the cheap Glazers comments

  2. DB55 Says:

    Yea he was and he is sorely missed.

  3. Ben the Ga Buc Says:

    I’m guilty of not realizing Mr. Glazer’s rightful place as the most important figure in Bucs history. RIP

  4. Destinjohnny Says:

    His sons don’t have what mr glazer had.
    But then again most kids don’t when the father was a badass

  5. JTHV Says:

    Destinjohnny Says:
    August 4th, 2017 at 1:41 pm

    “His sons don’t have what mr glazer had.”

    Huh? They have 2 of the world’s most valuable sports franchises and a football team that’s on the cusp of playing for many NFC Titles. I’d say they’ve built just as much excitement amongst Bucs fans as Mr. Glazer did for the 1996 season.

  6. Dabadass Lee Says:

    Listen, I love Mr. Glazer like every Bucs fan. He was the owner who brought this town a Super Bowl win. I just feel if your going to write an article about Mr. Glazer everyone forgets how he put an ultimatum on this town for a new stadium. The billionaire owner said “build me a new stadium or I am moving the Bucs”. So like idiots the residents of Hillsborough County passed a 1cent tax for Mr. Glazer. Sorry Ira, that does not sound like a badass, just someone who is cheap.

  7. D-Rome Says:

    Great article Ira. You deserve a raise for this one.

  8. unbelievable Says:

    RIP MG

  9. DR FEELGOOD Says:

    When I was 9 years old, I went with my Dad to every game of the inaugural season, sitting on the East side with the sun in our eyes watching every miserable defeat. Yet feeling joy that we had a team. Under Culverhouse, the culture went something like this. I saw Coach Perkins at Tampa Palms golf course at the bar one afternoon. Standing two feet away, I said, “Hey Coach!! Lifelong Bucs fan! Great to see you!!” As I smiled and extended my hand, he glared at me, said nothing, and looked away!!! I saw Mr. Glazer in Chicago at the entrance to a restaurant before a Bucs/Bears game years later. I said, “Mr. Glazer! Lifelong Bucs fan!! Thank you for all that you’ve done!” I reached out my hand. Not only did he shake it, but he put his arm around me and said “thank you, son, for all of your support!”” Brings tears to my eyes when I recall how different he make me feel that day. What a man! Godspeed sir!! And thank you for everything!!!

  10. Pickgrin Says:

    Nice piece Ira. Thanks for the reminders.

    It took real guts for Malcolm to fire Tony Dungy – as close as they were – as much as Malcolm thought of Tony as a man – and as much as Tony had done building the team into a perennial contender after 13 straight years of losing.

    But it was what needed to happen if the Bucs were to win a Championship. Malcolm did what he had to do for the good of the franchise in firing Tony and hiring Gruden. And was proven a genius in that specific regard as he hoisted the Lombardy trophy within that same year.

    Looking back – the $192M that Malcolm paid for the Buccaneer franchise seemed an insane amount at the time. But just 22 years later – with hundreds of Millions in profits already banked – on top of the franchise itself now being worth an estimated $1.8 Billion – it’s now obvious that Malcolm Glazer made the shrewdest and most profitable business venture that the west coast of Florida has ever seen by purchasing the Tampa Bay Bucs in 1995.

  11. BucTrooper Says:

    Nothing polishes a halo like an obituary.

    Dabadass Lee is right. People forget MG leveraged Baltimore against TB to get a new stadium and essentially extorted the city.

  12. stpetebucsfan Says:


    Bingo. Thanks for giving some credit where credit is due. I think the Glazer boys are a chip off the old block and another feather in Malcom’s memory cap.

    Nothing ventured nothing gained. They took a huge gamble on ManU and the worldwide recession hit creating some genuine financial pressure on the family.
    They survived and now ManU’s success has freed the boys to return to their beloved Bucs. They are putting money back once again and they have shown the ability to move on from mistakes and ultimately put together a great front office and coaching staff.

    Again I place the Glazers in the top ten or higher of NFL owners. Can’t get past the Packers who are owned by their fans….Kraft and the Rooneys are legendary…and then….any nominations?

  13. FortMyersDave Says:

    I have to agree that the CIT which was generally put forward to fund RJS is something that never would have passed IF Malcolm G did not basically threaten to move the team to B’more BUT one also has to realize that he nonetheless was a much better owner than that cheapskate Hugh “The Screw” C. Anyone remember when Hughie tried to move 4 of the home games to the Citrus bowl back in ’89 citing that he did not like seeing 30K a game watching a putrid creamsicle squad go 5-11 or 6-10 and battle equally inept Green Bay and Detroit squads for control of the NFC Norris basement? The same year the Gators had a sellout at the Sombrero for a game against Miss State. I still remember the “Screw Hugh” billboards that the “Power Pig” 99FM put up along I75 back then. Yeah Glazer was not perfect especially when one looks at the CIT referendum or the acquisition of Man United but he lets face it, he was the best owner the Bucs ever had and the team really bottomed out after he had the stroke and is only now gaining respectability again. And Joe, Malcolm G definitely did ride that belt buckle pretty high but at least he did not sport an obnoxious polyester tangerine blazer like Hugh C did; that fashion statement was right up there with the wardrobes of Jesper Parnevik, Don Cherry and the late Craig Sager…. RIP Mr Glazer!