The greatest figure in local sports writing has passed away at age 88 today. McEwen had contracted skin cancer, and the lengthy battle with the disease had weakened him severely. Tom McEwen may not be the most recognizable name in current Tampa Bay area sports writing, but he was without a doubt the most influential member of the media. He won 19 Florida Sportswriter of the Year awards and is a member of both the Tampa and Florida Sports Halls of Fame. He was the sports editor of the Tampa Tribune from 1962 to 1992 and remained a columnist until 2001. He has also written for TBO.com in recent years.
Tom McEwen wasn't just a good sportswriter, he has also made a big impact in the sports scene itself. He was the driving force behind a number of important events in Buccaneers history. Without him, the Bucs could be playing in Los Angeles right now, as he lobbied hard to keep the Bucs in Tampa when the team was sold. Without him, Lee Roy Selmon's bust may not be where it belongs: in the Hall of Fame. McEwen presented the defensive end's case before the Hall of Fame committee. Without McEwen, Tampa Stadium and Raymond James Stadium may not have hosted as many Super Bowls as they did. And most impressively: without McEwen it's possible there may never have been any Tampa Bay Buccaneers at all, as he was the driving force behind the area being granted a franchise in 1976.
"Tom McEwen was a legendary difference-maker in journalism, sports, and the Tampa Bay region,'' said the Glazer family. "Had Tom decided to dedicate his trademark smarts, gusto, and energy to something else, there would be no Buccaneers. If Tampa Bay had its own Mount Rushmore, Tom McEwen would be etched on it. Thank you and rest in peace, friend."
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