Todd Bowles-Tom Brady Connection Is All Good With The GOAT | We’re Getting Tony Dungy-Peyton Manning Vibes

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Bruce Arians stepped down after three seasons as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ head coach, and defensive coordinator Todd Bowles will take over. Arians will be moving to the front office as senior football consultant. The Bucs were 13-4 last season and advanced to the divisional round of the playoffs. Now that quarterback Tom Brady’s brief retirement is over, the Bucs are the NFC favorites to win the Super Bowl, according to Las Vegas, at +750. All of that means pressure for Bowles.

Bowles was previously head coach of the New York Jets from 2015 to 2018, when he went 24-40. He won’t be afforded the opportunity to ease into the role. The Bucs are a win-now team and that’s what they hope to do this coming season.

“As an organization, we have all the pieces in place to continue the winning standard that has been established here in recent years,” Bowles said. “I am eager to get started with our players, coaching staff, and front office in preparation for the 2022 season.”

Bowles having the opportunity to coach the GOAT quarterback in Brady is similar to what Tony Dungy experienced with the Indianapolis Colts back in 2002. Dungy was paired with a great quarterback in Peyton Manning and largely left Manning and the offense alone to focus on the defense.

In Tampa Bay there were reports that Brady and Arians butted heads a bit in terms of play calls. Bowles being a defensive guy like Dungy likely means Brady and offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich will have a level of freedom and flexibility in play calling and offensive schemes that wasn’t there with Arians.

It worked out for Dungy, as the Colts won the Super Bowl in 2006, but they left some meat on the bone. Manning could have won another Super Bowl or two in Indianapolis under Dungy. As brilliant an offensive mind as Manning is, serving as the quarterback and de-facto offensive coordinator is a lot to handle in the postseason.

It will be interesting to see if Brady and Leftwich operate more like a partnership or Brady as a soloist with some input from his offensive coordinator.

Bowles is the sixth minority head coach in the NFL, joining the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Mike Tomlin, the Washington Commanders’ Ron Rivera, the Jets’ Robert Saleh, the Houston Texans’ Lovie Smith and Miami’s Mike McDaniel.

The NFL’s Rooney Rule has been the topic du jour of the offseason. Both with the pending lawsuit from Steelers assistant Brian Flores accusing the league of racially biased hires, and the new “enhancements” of the Rooney Rule to include women and eliminate video interviews as compliant.

The Bucs are not one of the teams named in the Flores lawsuit. Bowles is the fourth Black coach in team history, joining Dungy, Raheem Morris and Smith.

The NFL draft is in April, then we’ll have rookie camp, OTAs, and training camp for the upcoming season. All eyes will be on Bowles, but he’s been put in a good position to succeed.

He has Brady returning, though his favorite weapons in Rob Gronkowski and Antonio Brown will not be back. The Bucs still have a talent bunch and can address areas of need through the draft and free agency. Though the latter will be limited, as they don’t have much cap flexibility.

“I wanted to ensure when I walked away that Todd Bowles would have the best opportunity to succeed,” Arians said. “So many head coaches come into situations where they are set up for failure, and I didn’t want that for Todd.
“Tom’s decision to come back, along with Jason and his staff doing another great job of keeping the core of this team intact during free agency, confirmed for me that it was the right time to pass the torch to Todd.”