Winning isn't everything; it's the only thing
- Henry Russell Sanders
This phrase is well-known throughout the football world. Everybody knows it, and what it means, and plenty teams preach it. But few teams actually live it. It's easy to lose focus of this simple philosophy, even as a fan: profitability, attendance issues, likability - we all want our teams to do well in those areas, but the main thing - the only thing - is winning, at the end of the day.
Winning fixes everything. Your attendance is bad? Start winning games consistently, and people will come back. No one likes your team? You start winning games, and people will flock to your team. Your team isn't profitable? Well, that can be harder to fix - but if you win games, attendance and sales will soar and that certainly helps.
That's why, with every move a team makes, we should ask "does this help the team win games"? Whether that's in the short term or the long term, every move a team makes should be evaluated through that question. I know a lot of fans want to cut Kellen Winslow and Jeff Faine - but does that help this team win games, or is this just removing a little bit of talent with few adequate replacements in place?
That's why I can't agree with any argument involving the question "does this move put butts in seats?" Winning puts butts in seats more than any other move does - and losing, especially in an ugly fashion, gets them out of those seats faster than anything else. I'd much prefer full seats to empty seats - but I don't watch football because I want to see a full stadium, and I'm not a Bucs fan to see a full Raymond James Stadium. I'm a fan of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan - and that means that above everything else, I want to see this team win.
In reality, teams care about more than just winning. Owners like to make as much money as they can from teams, for obvious reasons. I mean, who doesn't like more money, right? But we, as fans, shouldn't let that get in the way of our observations. A move may make financial sense, but that doesn't mean we have to like it. And while a contract may look bad (ahem, Quincy Black), if it doesn't stand in the way of a team winning games - does it really matter?
Winning is the only thing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers should be focused on right now. Let's hope they can actually do it.