Many fans will chide the owners of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, for being cheap. Some have even affectionately given them there very own nickname, as you can find fans commonly referring to the Glazer’s, as the Glazerhouses, a reference to the late, former Bucs owner Hugh Culverhouse, who was best known for his penny pinching ways.
Whether it’s a warranted nickname or not, many fans refuse to look at the bigger picture, sure the team doesn’t lavishly throw money at free agents, but there are plenty of teams in the same boat. When was the last time you’ve seen or heard that the Pittsburgh Steelers, Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots or Baltimore Ravens have gone outside of there respective organizations to lure a prospective free agent by backing up a brinks truck?
Those five teams have been built largely through the draft. With the exception of the Patriots, who commonly send late round draft picks for malcontents from other teams, who are in the twilight of there careers.
Just like in the X’s and O’s of football, everything is copied, reproduced and refined – building a franchise is no different. There are plenty of blueprints available for all to see. Some have worked to perfection; others have resulted in absolute failure. Think the Washington Redskins who annually are the free agent winner’s year in and year out with nothing to show, except for a bunch of under producing, over priced players.
“I think a lot of clubs sat on the sidelines more than we did,” Dominik told the Tampa Tribune. “But our goal has always been to reward and keep our players together, and that’s what we’ve done. “When you step back and look at the free-agency class, and we all talk about it after the fact, it’s hard to buy a championship in the NFL. It really is. So our belief is to try to keep as many of our guys here as we can.”
The architect of the current Tampa Bay Bucs, Mark Dominik is an NFL History buff. He has extensively studied the different dynamics involved in building teams that have had prolonged success and judging by the teams record over the past two seasons he’s on the right track after imploding a team of players well past there primes, for a much needed youth movement. Not a popular decision at the time, but something drastic had to be done.
“And I know right off the bat that it wasn’t popular. We all know that. And we’re not there yet – we still have not made the playoffs. But we stayed the course, we’re going to stay the course, and I feel out there from the fans that they’re excited about these young guys. They can’t wait to see a game and see what they do. And I’m the same way.”
One can’t argue with the results: Going from 3-13 in 2009, to 10-6 in 2010 with the youngest roster in the league should be enough evidence that he has a plan and is working it to the fullest.
“I like to think of where we are from two years ago,” Dominik told the Tampa Tribune, referencing the moment when he took over as GM and Raheem Morris took over as head coach. “I’m excited about what we’ve changed already in two years, and what we can hopefully do in 2011 and beyond. There’s no way to forecast that, but the bottom line is, I look at our team in our own eggshell, in our own box, and say ‘How do we look,” and I feel a lot better than I did two years ago. This was our plan from Day 1 and we haven’t veered from it.
The proof will always be in the pudding sort-of-speak. So who can argue with the talent that’s been assembled under the watchful eye of Dominik and the turn around from 2009 to 2010? More important though is that the Bucs have commonalities with the other teams that are built through the draft in that rarely are there precipitous changes once the plan is in motion. They have an in-house theory to which is subscribed and adhered to. That starts with the drafting of players that have talents that match the schemes that are being taught. However, the key component is continuity and unity amongst the coaching staff.
Dominik’s ideal goal is to never have to go outside the building to acquire free agents for fear of the impact it could potentially have on team chemistry. Keeping a core nucleus of players is the key, but having the understanding an ability to identify those players is paramount for long term sustainable success.