Hugh Culverhouse and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
How a Skinflint Genius with a Losing Team Made the Modern NFL
From 1976 until 1994, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost far more games than they won. The Bucs’ status as a sporting punch line belied the fact that they were led by arguably the most important owner of that era. Known as the "Vice-Commissioner," Hugh F. Culverhouse, Sr., wielded his financial acumen as a weapon, keeping other NFL owners in line through the economic downturn of the 1980s, two work stoppages, and a multimillion dollar lawsuit from a rival league.
Culverhouse’s near-Dickensian frugality also led, directly and indirectly, to the Steve Young-Joe Montana quarterback controversy; Doug Williams’ triumph in Super Bowl XXII; and the largest fourth-quarter collapse in NFL history. Over two dozen interviews with Culverhouse’s allies and adversaries inform this thorough and balanced chronicle of Hugh Culverhouse and his team.
The BUCPOWER.COM review
This is a book I have been waiting to see in actual print for nearly 18 months having been involved in its development from the outset through many e-mails and phone calls with Denis. Even if my afterword chapter did not make the final version!
For anyone who is a fan of the Buccaneers, this is an essential book to tell you so much about the history of the franchise and its original owner. Hugh Culverhouse is now looked on particularly unfavourably by fans and pundits alike and there is enough detailed material in this publication to allow you to make up your own mind about the man.
From the Doug Williams and Bo Jackson sagas, to Culverhouse's massive involvement in the re-organisation of the NFL under Pete Rozelle in the late 1970s and 1980s. Culverhouse was a major player in the two NFLPA strikes and won few friends on the playing field with his legendary frugal ways.
But his role in the history of the Buccaneers and the NFL is an important one and Denis has truly excelled himself in terms of his research and interviews conducted for the book. Hugh's son spoke at length as did many former players and front office officials. Even Bill Parcells conducted an in-depth piece about his turning down of the coaching job in Tampa in 1992.
In short, buy it. Buy it because you are a Buccaneer fan. Buy it because you are an NFL fan. Or simply buy it because it is a truly excellent book.
About the Author
Denis M. Crawford is a freelance writer and corporate trainer in Boardman, Ohio. He is assistant editor for The Coffin Corner, a publication of the Professional Football Researchers Association and an historian for the website BUCPOWER.COM.