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Glazers play "fantasy football with real people" are "Jerry Jones light"

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Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Once upon a time, the Glazers had a near-impeccable relationship around the league as responsible owners of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They weren't afraid to give their general manager the money needed to do business, and it got them a championship. At the time, they were demanding and involved, firing Tony Dungy after a playoff berth, but not to the extent of the likes of Jerry Jones and Dan Snyder.

That seems to have changed. In an article evaluating the attractiveness of each head coaching job (the Bucs come in third), ESPN's Mike Sando gives an agent some room to berate the Glazers in no uncertain terms.

When the Buccaneers' job was open two years ago, I quoted an agent who described the Glazers as owners who played "fantasy football with real people" to the point that "Jerry Jones Light" was an apt description. Jones also serves as the Dallas Cowboys' GM, at least. The Buccaneers' owners operate in the shadows. "

"It is very well known in the industry," this agent said in late 2014. "They can insist certain people play and certain things be done. It's a place that they got over the hump, they started winning, they won a Super Bowl, but even with all that, they still haven't quite established a winning culture that can transcend the coach."

Sando also quotes "an exec" saying that "the owners scare [him]. A veteran coach told Sando about the Lovie Smith firing that "they fire a guy who is bedrock in the industry and they don't even go to the press conference."

In fact, the Glazers weren't even in Tampa at the time. They had intended to fire Lovie Smith in a meeting after flying in that morning, but Lovie Smith told them to just fire him over the phone the night before if that's what they were going to do. So they did.

In the NFL, owners always have final say. The smart owners by and large let their employees do their jobs -- that's why they hired them, after all -- but every owner is going to want a say when deciding whether to draft Jameis Winston with the number one pick, whether to trade for Darrelle Revis, whether to make any high-profile move. Even when that's not a productive way to run a team: they may be football owners, but they are not football people. They are not spending the time on the job that their employees are.

If the Glazers weren't the owners here, the Bucs would easily have the best job opening in the business. The roster has plenty of young talent, including an apparent franchise quarterback in place and they've spent big money on free agents in the past. But firing four coaches in eight years, with the latest one under justifiable but still doubtful circumstances, comes with a price: the Bucs are now starting to be seen as the Cleveland Browns of the NFC. It's that bad.

There's one upside here: the Glazers weren't at Jason Licht's press conference, and that's a good thing. It appears that they're not directing this head coaching search, perhaps having learned from their previous three hires. For once, they're allowing the football people to do football things.