Last updated : 08 January 2006 By Ed

The Observer - (written before they crashed out)

Yesterday morning Malcolm Glazer would have woken up in Palm Beach on Florida's east coast, taken a private jet to Tampa airport on Florida's west coast and made his way to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Raymond James stadium, writes John Duncan. Twelve months ago no one would have believed it would be the Bucs rather than Manchester United that would be giving Glazer something to cheer about.

This may have been a tough year for United, but the Bucs came top of their division after the biggest turnaround in franchise history, from a record of five wins and 11 losses in 2004 to 11 wins and five losses this season. That gave them a place in the play-offs that ultimately lead to the Super Bowl. The Bucs in the play-offs means bucks in the bank for the Glazers at a time when their investment in Man U is putting a strain on resources. Meanwhile, Tampa's rebirth has come on the back of a player, Carnell 'Cadillac' Williams, they were able to sign for free (apart from a $30m contract) in the NFL draft because their record last year was so poor they got fifth choice of the best college players in the country. Viva the NFL.