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Hugh Culverhouse and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

How a Skinflint Genius with a Losing Team Made the Modern NFL

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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.

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