The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced today that late owner Malcolm Glazer and Super Bowl-winning head coach Jon Gruden will be inducted into the club's Ring of Honor this upcoming season. Glazer will be honored during the team's nationally-televised Thursday Night Football home game against the New England Patriots on Oct. 5. Gruden will be inducted on December 18 during halftime of the team's Monday Night Football contest against the NFC South rival Atlanta Falcons. A formal press conference will be conducted at the team's headquarters at One Buccaneer Place on Wednesday, August 2, at 1:00 p.m.
Glazer will become the 10th member to be inducted into the Ring of Honor, while Gruden will be the second head coach to receive the honor. The pair will join Hall of Fame defensive end Lee Roy Selmon, Head Coach John McKay, Pro Bowl tight end Jimmie Giles, All-Pro tackle Paul Gruber, Hall of Fame defensive tackle Warren Sapp, Hall of Fame linebacker Derrick Brooks, All-Pro fullback Mike Alstott, quarterback Doug Williamsand nine-time Pro Bowler John Lynch.
"As we approach the 15th anniversary of our Super Bowl victory, it seemed a fitting time to acknowledge our father and Jon Gruden for the immense impact they had on our fans and the entire Tampa Bay community," said Buccaneers Co-Chairman Ed Glazer. "Our father was passionate about transforming the Buccaneers into a model NFL franchise. His deep commitment to the Tampa Bay area is at the core of our organizational identity to this day."
Glazer, who passed away on May 28, 2014, at the age of 85, purchased the team in 1995 for a then-record $192 million and immediately began one of the most impressive organizational transformations in professional sports. Two years after Glazer's purchase, the Buccaneers broke a 16-year postseason drought in 1997 and would go on to make the playoffs three of the next four seasons.
Determined to turn his team into a Super Bowl champion, Glazer made a bold move that changed the course of the franchise prior to the 2002 season. In a transaction that sent shockwaves throughout the NFL, he hired Jon Gruden away from the Oakland Raiders in exchange for two first-round draft picks, two second-round draft picks and $8 million in cash. Less than 12 months later, in January 2003, he delivered the fans of Tampa Bay their first major professional world championship with a resounding victory over the Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII. During his tenure as owner and president from 1995-2013, the Buccaneers earned seven playoff berths, played in two NFC Championship Games and won their first Super Bowl.
In addition to turning around the team's on-field fortunes, Glazer left an equally deep and lasting impact as an advocate for the Tampa Bay community. In 1999, he established the Glazer Family Foundation, which has donated millions and reached out to countless thousands in need. He also was a driving force in the negotiations that secured Super Bowls XXXV and XLIII for Tampa. In 2010, Glazer added to his community-driven legacy with the opening of the Glazer Children's Museum in downtown Tampa.
Gruden, who served as the team's head coach from 2002-08, guided the Buccaneers to a 12-4 record in his first season, including a first-place finish in the NFC South en route to delivering a Super Bowl victory. After taking over the Buccaneers, Gruden turned over more than half the roster with new players. Twenty-seven members of the Super Bowl XXXVII team, including five starters on offense, were not on the roster for the team's final game of the previous season. Tampa Bay's 12 regular season wins during that 2002 campaign stand as the most in a single season in franchise history. During his seven years in Tampa Bay, Gruden amassed 57 wins – the most in franchise history -- while his teams made it to the postseason three times (2002, 2005 and 2007). In 2007, he led the Buccaneers to their third NFC South title in six years, becoming the only coach in team history with three division titles.
"I want to extend my sincere appreciation to the Buccaneer organization, and the Glazer family in particular, for the tremendous honor of entering the Ring of Honor along with Mr. Glazer," said Gruden. "Malcolm Glazer set the expectations for the entire organization by creating a family atmosphere that really helped bring everyone together. He was everything a coach or a player could ask for in an owner and I am very grateful that we got to experience that Super Bowl victory together."
At the time of his Super Bowl XXXVII victory over his former team, Gruden was the youngest head coach in NFL history to win a Super Bowl. He was also the first non-rookie head coach to lead his team to a Super Bowl win in his first season with that team.
"Jon always poured his heart and soul into coaching our team and he delivered on his promise to make the Buccaneers champions," said Ed Glazer. "Jon's trademark work ethic and high energy approach were the keys to winning that first Super Bowl and he set the tone for our organization in many ways."
After his career with the Buccaneers, Gruden moved into the broadcast booth in 2009 as ESPN's game analyst on Monday Night Football where he has served for the past eight seasons. He and his wife, Cindy, continue living in Tampa and remain involved in a variety of Tampa-based charitable causes.