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Longtime writer made Tampa a Super Bowl city

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

TAMPA, Fla. -- One of the few bad things about Super Bowl week is it's so big that you don't get to see everyone you want to see.

I realized this morning that one person I haven't seen (and really want to) is the man who I think did more than anyone to make Tampa a Super Bowl city and an NFL city. That's Tom McEwen, the long-time sports editor for The Tampa Tribune.

McEwen, who is retired now and still living in Tampa, was far more than a sports editor. Quite simply, McEwen was (and still is) the unofficial sports ambassador for Tampa. When you wanted to get something done in the sports world in Tampa, you went through McEwen.

His style was old school and in direct opposition to modern journalism, where you're not supposed to be part of the story. McEwen bent some rules and I'm glad he did.

McEwen was one of the point men back when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers became an expansion team. He twisted arms in Tampa and the league offices in New York. McEwen also spearheaded the effort to bring the Super Bowl to Tampa (again, making it happen through back-room deals) and this now is the fourth time the big game has been here.

McEwen also worked very hard to keep the Bucs in Tampa and get them a new stadium back in the 1990s when it looked like the team might move. He also is the man who got Lee Roy Selmon into the Hall of Fame. I wasn't in the room, but some voters who were have told me McEwen gave the most impressive presentation ever.

I got hired by McEwen back in 1990 and have had the honor of sitting next to him at several Super Bowls. I'm not sitting next to him today. But I've heard he's coming. I hope I get a chance to spend a few minutes and will make it a point to thank him for helping make this day possible.