Proud Glazers Joyous, `Numb'
Joy mixed with relief in the Bucs locker room Sunday as the men who brought Jon Gruden home to Tampa 11 months ago raved about a coach already thrust into the Super Bowl spotlight. ``Jon Gruden is from heaven,'' said Bucs owner Malcolm Glazer, who was misidentified as ``Marcus Glazer'' by Packers Hall of Fame defensive end Willie Davis during the postgame trophy presentation. ``We've loved him from Day One. We got the right man, and that's all that counts.''
Executive vice-president Joel Glazer, who led the 35-day coaching search a year ago, came out of the shadows to lead the cheers after a rousing 27-10 victory against the top- seeded Eagles. ``I'm numb,'' he said. ``What a difference a year makes. We put our franchise demons in the ground today, accomplishing something this franchise had never done. What more can you say about Jon Gruden? He comes into Tampa and in his first year, we're in the Super Bowl. He said it right in his very first news conference in Tampa - you either feel pressure or you apply pressure. Jon Gruden stomps on pressure.''
For executive vice-president Bryan Glazer, Tampa Bay's Super Bowl berth made that arduous coaching quest worthwhile. ``Jon's unbelievable,'' he said. ``To go to the Super Bowl in his first year as coach is beyond our comprehension. He did exactly what we brought him here to do, and that doesn't happen very often in any organization.''
Malcolm Glazer said he was proud of a team that remained confident despite a skeptical media, difficult playing conditions and a tough opponent. ``Everyone said it's too cold, the announcers said we're not going to do this or that, but we didn't listen,'' he said. ``They said we've had a good year but we weren't going to win today. They didn't know there's a place called Tampa and a team called the Buccaneers. This team came into this stadium with one purpose and one purpose only - to win.''
Gruden and the Glazers will be natural focal points this week as the Bucs prepare to meet the Raiders in San Diego. Gruden is facing former players, attempting to deny Raiders owner Al Davis another Vince Lombardi Trophy. ``I sat there the whole game and thought to myself, `We're thumping the Philadelphia Eagles,' '' said Joel Glazer. ``What can you say about our defense? They did what they've been doing all year. What a football team we have down in Tampa. And what a football coach.''