Jason Licht, renowned Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ General Manager (a position he’s held since 2014), is, foremost, a dad and husband. With wife Blair, he navigates the peaks, valleys and predominantly uncertain terrain of parenting. They met during his tenure with the Philadelphia Eagles, when she lived in Manhattan working in finance.
Over six years, they moved cross-country four times and had three children: Charlie, (high school freshman), Zoe, (seventh grade), and Theo, (fourth grade). Tampa Bay is where the Lichts have cut their parenting teeth.
It’s where they football and where they family. Our burgeoning city by the bay is the Lichts’ home—where they raise humans who understand that, in life, it all works out.
What first inspired you in this work?
Jason Licht: I was pre-med in college. Despite a biology degree, I feared not loving medicine. I loved football—playing from 1989-1993 for the University of Nebraska and Nebraska Wesleyan University. I found the scouting process mesmerizing. I didn’t know how I’d break into the industry but knew it was my calling. I started interning with the Miami Dolphins—loving every minute. From then, somehow, everything’s worked out. I’m fortunate for finding a career I love deeply.
What challenges you in this work?
Jason Licht: It’s interesting work because everything revolves around wins and losses. Our family’s mood is brighter when we win, but we’ve lived it long enough to understand losses’ impacts. Kids hear things at school; my daughter recently asked if I was getting fired. That’s the difficult part.
Blair Licht: Win or lose, I always ask for the kids’ comments about games so I can gauge their feelings. While our community is tremendously supportive, we’ve had tough Mondays. After a loss, Jason goes into the office and weathers situations alongside his staff—focusing on the next week’s game. The kids and I don’t have the same shelter. We go out and face the world.
What keeps you going in this work?
Jason Licht: The love for it. The passion. The cyclical challenge. At year’s end, if you don’t win the whole thing, it seems the sky is falling. Then, anticipation rises for the draft. Then, the desire to continue winning takes over—it’s failure if you don’t.
Blair Licht: We’ve been to five Super Bowls. When we went as a family, and won, everything melted away. All sacrifices showed themselves as worth it. Sharing that as a family, that’s what you do it for.
What do you appreciate about raising your family in Tampa Bay?
Blair Licht: There’s no shortage of active families with similar interests. Our boys are into golf, football and lacrosse and our daughter is playing volleyball. We’ve made lifetime friends here. Witnessing Tampa’s growth has been exciting. We’re appreciative of watching our children grow into themselves here, proud of who they’re becoming and enjoying getting to know them as individuals.
When you found out you’d be a parent, how’d you feel?
Jason Licht: Excited and nervous about the unknowns. It’s comparable to becoming GM of the Bucs—there are so many questions. Yet, it all works out.
Has parenting changed you?
Jason Licht: I was always first. My job has dictated everything—where we live, where we vacation, when we can go. Parenting is about adjusting to the children.
Do aspects from your football life inform your dad life?
Jason Licht: Being GM entails putting out lots of fires. No two days are alike—each presenting different, sometimes surprising, challenges. Parenting is similar—not knowing what you’re walking into or what you’re picking up from school.
Blair Licht: When Jason drafts for the Bucs, part of what he looks for are the intangibles—players’ character traits outside of football. As parents, we spend ample time instilling strong character in our children.
How do you instill humility and work ethic in your children?
Jason Licht: Work ethic is difficult. Kids aren’t ready to work as if they have full time jobs, but we don’t want them feeling entitled. When out [if] people want pictures with me, they see me make time for fan engagement. They also keep my ego in check and know I’m not more important than them.
Blair Licht: We’re proud of him but don’t let it get to his head. I feel good about how we’re raising our children so they don’t only identify as “the children of the Bucs’ GM.” They feel important as individuals and don’t live in the shadows of Jason’s job. We’re a family both within and outside of the Bucs.
Family Pregame Rituals?
Blair Licht: We’re superstitious. At one point, Jason had a lucky coin. We’ve done everything from making egg sandwiches, to changing up our cheese, to getting car washes. Our daughter even finagled Starbucks trips out of gameday superstitions. We know those don’t matter, but it’s been happening since our dating days.
2023 Football Season Highlight?
Jason Licht: Putting together a competitive team to try winning the division. We’re still in this.
2023 Personal Highlight?
Jason Licht: Our recent travels. Our family travelled to Munich for the Bucs game (2022), and the experience inspired our kids’ love for travel. We’ve since visited Switzerland and Italy.
Blair Licht: Summer is an annual highlight because Jason gets time off. (The rest of the year is 24/7 —including working on Christmas and Thanksgiving.) We spend time on a laid-back island off Rhode Island. It feels like summers in the 1980s. Our kids run around barefoot, jump off bridges and freely ride bikes with friends they’ve made there—where we’ve also planted roots.
How do you handle working holidays like Christmas?
Blair Licht: It’s all the kids know. While being an NFL family has challenges, there are abundant, amazing experiences we’ve provided for our kids.
Jason Licht: In 2022, we played in Arizona on Christmas. The family went and even skied there. The kids prefer Christmas morning at home, but we make the most of it.
Favorite holiday tradition?
Blair Licht: We understand being away from family on holidays. The Bucs always play the Sunday after Thanksgiving, and many younger staff can’t travel home. We bring them into our home.
Jason Licht: Over 40 people come over, Blair cooks for everyone, and we create one large table on our patio. It’s incredible.
You must watch one movie on repeat. What is it?
Jason Licht: The Shawshank Redemption
Private holiday party. What three famous people do you invite?
Jason Licht: Morgan Freeman; Chris Farley: fav actor and comedian of all time; John Elway: my childhood hero.
Last gift you gave?
Jason Licht: We’re at a stage where we buy things like mattress pads and say, “Don’t worry about buying me anything.”
Originally published in December 2023 of Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine.