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The Glazers deserve credit for taking risks

On January 16 2009, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers owners fired Head Coach Jon Gruden and General Manager Bruce Allen. The Glazers replaced Jon Gruden with newly named defensive coordinator Raheem Morris, who had very little experience. The new general manager turned out to be long-time front office member Mark Dominik. The new regime then made some unpopular decisions, cutting fan favorites and franchise icons Derrick Brooks and Warrick Dunn, drafting Josh Freeman. And all of that led to a 3-13 season in which the defense looked horrible and the only bright spot was Josh Freeman's talent. 

At the time, the Glazers were widely criticized for being cheap and not caring about the product on the field. The Bucs have been near the bottom of team spending for the past years, and the hiring of probably the cheapest head coach in the league certainly gels with that. But I'm going to argue that the Glazers deserve a lot of credit for the decisions they made when they fired Jon Gruden and Bruce Allen. 

Gruden was the man who had taken the Bucs to the Super Bowl and gotten them the trophy that Tony Dungy never could. But after that wonderful season, the Bucs never again had a team that could say they really were Super Bowl contenders. The Bucs made the playoffs just twice, both times losing in ugly wild card games where Gruden's offense really let them down. Despite that the Glazers had given Gruden and Allen 4-year extensions after the promising 2007 season, but just one year later the Glazers would cut the cord. 

The Glazers didn't cut the cord because they wanted to save money. If they wanted to save money they would have kept Gruden and Allen. The Glazers are still paying for Gruden's premium head coaching salary, and will do so throughout this year. No, they fired Jon Gruden and Bruce Allen because the two had given the Bucs nothing but permanent mediocrity and they desired more than that - they wanted a team that could compete for the Super Bowl year-in, year-out, and Gruden and Allen were never going to give them that. 

And for that, the Glazers deserve credit. It's easy to be content with people like Jon Gruden and Bruce Allen leading the franchise. Two renowned and competent people who had made a name for themselves - but not the people who could rebuild a franchise and get them back to glory. It's easy to stick with that safe option, but it takes guts to not be content with mediocrity and to push for more. So far, it seems to be working, but they had no guarantee it would work when they tried it. Imagine the fan reaction had the Bucs gone 3-13 again in 2010.