On the thought process:
“After any season ends, especially the way this one did, we wanted to be very careful not to make decisions based on pure emotion. We gave a lot of careful thought and consideration to the whole situation. And after looking at our franchise, where it is and where we want to do, after a lot of thought, we decided it was time for the Buccaneers to make a change.”
On why last year he was given a contract extension but this year a pink slip?
“Any time you have this situation, you have to evaluate the totality of the situation. It’s not one thing here or one thing there. Every year we say we owe it to ourselves and our fans to step back and try to be as objective as you can, to look at the franchise knowing where we want to go and what what we want to accomplish and ask ourselves are we on course or does a change help us effectuate where we want to go. And I think after a lot of careful consideration, letting emotion die down, we just felt that it was time for a change.”
On emotion at the end of the year and if it matched that of the fans
“We were extremely frustrated. The losses are as hard today as they were 14 years ago and the way the season ended obviously was terribly disappointing. But you know, it’s not just one thing. It’s four losses at the end of the season. It’s look at our franchise and see where we are and where we want to go.”
On what he doesn’t see that he wishes to see:
“Our ultimate goal every year is to win a championship. And that’s always been our goal and it will remain our goal and we’re going to go about things to attain the goals we believe in. And we have core fundamental beliefs that we’ve had since the day we got here. And we thought it was important for our core fundamental beliefs that we make a change.”
On the criticisms that have been thrown at the organization – not enough nurturing of young players, too many misses in the draft, no development of a young quarterback, and apparent unwillingness to spend as much in free agency as has happened at one point – and how much of that reflects on the Glazers and how much on the GM and head coach.
“I know this much. I know from our standpoint that we’re committed as we’ve ever been to doing what it takes to win and we stand ready, willing and able at any time if there are players out there who we think can help us win a championship to open up the checkbook and do it. And it would have to fit within a plan. We’ve also seen how teams can get in trouble just wildly spending money without a plan. We’ve got to have some young guys. Gotta build a team and add the players we think are going to push you over the top.”
On how the day unfolded as to when Gruden was brought in.
“Bruce and Jon are consummate professionals. I want to respect what was discussed between us and them. But we had discussions today and they’ve done a lot of great things for this franchise. And this is never something that’s easy. These are very difficult decisions and very difficult times because you see how hard people work”
On whether the Glazers have learned as owners, compared the last situation, which was messy – and whether they have matured as far as how to handle things.
“You always live and learn. I live and learn and many years have passed and every year I’ve learned something new. So I’m never above saying that you learn things along the way. You always hope you’re going to learn and always try to take a step back and listen to people and make sure you’re keeping your ears open and eyes open.”
On whether the replacement is already in hand
“After a lot of careful consideration – a lot of thought went into this – and in our mind there’s a plan where we want to head with this whole thing. And we’ll keep you up on that as things unfold.”
On whether the canvas is not blank as of today.
“We’ve been well thought out in our mind where we want to take this franchise.”
On whether the candidate they have perhaps in mind part of the decision – and if that candidate is not there is the decision made.
“I think you separate the whole situation. I think the totality of the situation – I keep saying where we were, where we are, where we want to go – there’s been a lot of time evaluating all of that. Don’t make a rash decision. And once you come to that decision, then you think about the future.”
On what the Glazers were hearing from fans when it came starting to sell tickets and whether people were asking for refunds, and whether they were sensing dissatisfaction.
“What I’ve been sensing is – we’ve been feeling that the passion in this community to win and there’s a disappointment when we’re not winning. And the one thing I’m pretty proud of in this community is many years ago we used to get frustrated that we didn’t feel people’s expectations were the same as our expectations: 8-8 maybe was great because of the history of this franchise and we would get a little frustrated. One thing I’m happy about is that we’re on the same page. Fans expect a championship and we expect a championship. And we’re going to do everything we can to meet their expectations.”
On what kind of time table they may be looking at and would they look for a GM first or a coach first, or is it the same person
“We have a plan in our mind and again, that will all unfold.”
On whether he has any problem with a coach who functions as a GM
“We’ve been pretty happy with the setup we’ve had here. We’ve always been very comfortable with a coach and a general manager. It’s one of our fundamental beliefs.”
On whether the trade for Gruden was worth it in retrospect
“You know, we won a Super Bowl. And that’s the ultimate prize in the National Football League. Jon has poured his heart and soul into this franchise. And we are very thankful to him for everything he’s done for this franchise. He will always have a special place in this franchise’s history. And we wish him nothing but the best in the future.”
On whether this was one decision or two decisions
“Two decisions. It was looking at the franchise as a whole, looking at two different decisions and then making a decision that was in the best interest of the franchise hopefully.”
On whether he has a feel about how soon the team can be competitive again
“I don’t want to set any immediate targets or anything like that. We want this franchise to be on a path for longevity of success, to compete year after year and have a chance for a championship year in and year out. And we don’t mind being patient to put ourselves on that plateau, whether it’s one year, the next year. There’s no exact timetable here. It’s getting it right, building it right and having a plan and a path to go forward.”
On the difference between this time and the last time they made a coaching change – last time they had made the playoffs, so is it fair to say that just making the playoffs this year might not have changed what happened today?
“Again, we look at the totality of the situation. This isn’t one game, one play. You had to win one more game. It was looking at the whole situation and making a decision.”
On the fact that it’s quite a change from last year (when Gruden received an extension) and whether they some some specific things they were unhappy with.
“You look at where your team is today and you look at a lot of the decisions that have to made in the offseason and where we want to go with things. And then you kind of think things through: Well, keep going – what happens? And building a championship team, heaven knows it’s not easy. There’s a time and a place to make certain decisions and we just felt this was one of those times.”