With their 31-26 nail-biting NFC Championship game-winner over the Green Bay Packers, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers made history a few times over.
Not only did they win three road playoff games at (Washington, New Orleans and Green Bay), but in doing so they earned the right to be the host team in Super Bowl 55.
The site of this year’s penultimate game is Raymond James Stadium aka “The Big Sombrero” (Chris Berman Voice) in Tampa Florida which also happens to be the home stadium of the Buccaneers.
This is the first time in the SB era that one of the Super Bowl’s participants is actually the home team.
Led by Tom Brady, who’ll be making his record 10th appearance in a Super Bowl, and Bruce Arians who’ll be making his first appearance in one as the head coach, Tampa is rolling and ready to take on the challenge of Magic Mahomes & Co.
The Soul Patrol: 3 Black Coordinators
Credit must also be given to the three coaches who lead Arians’ offense, defense and special teams. Byron Leftwich (Offensive Coordinator), Todd Bowles (Defensive Coordinator) and Keith Armstrong (Special Teams Coordinator) comprise the first trio of BLACK coordinators to reach the Super Bowl
All three were hired by Arians when he took the Bucs job two years ago and helped take on the dubious challenge of turning the franchise from perennial losers into championship contenders.
Arians possesses one of the league’s most diverse staffs and that also includes Harold Goodwin who was hired as the associate head coach/run game coordinator.
Byron Leftwich (Offensive Coordinator)
In Leftwich’s (Former NFL QB/ Marshall Grad/HD Woodson HS Wash DC Grad), first season (2019) as the Bucs playcaller, Tampa Bay led the NFL in passing offense with Jameis Winston as the quarterback.
This year, Tom Brady passed for 4,633 yards and a franchise-record 40 TD passes. Leftwich basically redesigned and scaled-down much of the offense to fit Brady’s strengths and it has paid huge dividends.
Leftwich, a former pro quarterback, has been masterful in his execution of the Bucs offense this season and should be recognized as one of the bright head coaching candidates.
Todd Bowles (Defensive Coordinator)
Bowles was previously head coach of a talent-defunct Jets franchise for five seasons (2015-2018). He is slowly positioning himself for another head coach shot. Under Bowles (Former NFL Head Coach/ NFL DB), the Bucs have led the NFL in run defense the past two seasons. They also improved from 27th in total defense the year before the arrival of Bowles to 6th in 2020.
Keith Armstrong (Special Teams Coordinator)
Armstrong has righted the ship on special teams after a trying 2019 season which delivered the failed Roberto Aguayo (1st Round Pick Florida St) experiment and a replacement in Matt Gay, who missed 8 field goals and 5 extra points.
In 2020 Armstrong found some stability in placekicker Ryan Succop who hit 28-of-31 field goals, and punter Bradley Pinion, who ranks in the top half of the league with a 40.2 net yard average on punts.
The return game with Jaydon Mickens and Kenjon Barnett struggles at times but performed solidly to help the Bucs get to the Super Bowl.
While the league consistently looks to avoid hiring the very qualified BLACK candidate as a head coach, these three talented coaches and “Leaders Of Men” are all capable and very deserving of an opportunity to run their own franchises.