Low attendance has been an issue for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in recent years, but co-chairman Joel Glazer said there are no plans to relocate the team.
“That's not even an issue,’’ Glazer told The Tampa Tribune’s Ira Kaufman at the NFL owners meeting in Arizona on Tuesday. “We have worked as hard as anybody to get tickets sold. It's tough circumstances in Florida. The economy's not great and it's a changing world. We have to adapt to that changing world. I think we saw progress last year and fans are enthusiastic about the upcoming season.’’
The Bucs have had only four home games where the local television blackout was lifted in the last three seasons. Glazer expressed some optimism about avoiding blackouts in the future.
“It's early, but things have been positive,’’ Glazer said. “We're always optimistic about avoiding blackouts, but we've got some work to do. Blackouts are never ideal. You want to keep your fans engaged every week. That's why we're doing everything we can to avoid blackouts. Some hard times have hit, and we understand that. I don't think you reach a point where you've done everything you can. We need to do it on the field and I have great confidence in this team.’’
The Bucs haven’t won a playoff game since winning the Super Bowl more than 10 years ago.
“To me, one year without a playoff win is too long,’’ Glazer said. “Ten years is extremely disappointing. I have great confidence the people we have in place will reverse that trend. After Dan Marino was in his first Super Bowl, I don't think he ever dreamed he wouldn't be back. It's tough to win in this league, but it's within everyone's control to change the course of where they're headed.’’
Glazer said ownership deserves blame for the team’s lack of success in recent years.
“Ultimately, it falls on our shoulders,’’ Glazer said. “We're not going to hide from our responsibility. All we're going to do is commit to work our tails off to make sure it doesn't continue. Overall, I'm very excited about the direction we're headed. I sit today with great optimism about our future.’’
The Bucs should be optimistic. Guys like Doug Martin, Vincent Jackson, Lavonte David and Gerald McCoy had big seasons last year. The Bucs still have plenty of salary-cap room to add free agents and pursue the much-talked-about trade for cornerback Darrelle Revis.
Sure, the economy and other factors have played roles in the attendance situation. But I still say Raymond James Stadium will be packed if the Bucs put a consistent winner on the field.