There’s been all kinds of player movement and bags being awarded, trade demands and drama during this offseason. It’s exactly what the NFL wants to keep its brand relevant while the NBA Finals is going on.
Just yesterday, Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray was awarded a mega deal worth more than $230M that places the diminutive dynamo as the second-highest-paid QB in the league. Negotiations worked out favorably for Murray, who was doing some pouting via social media and rumors of a trade request even surfaced. Securing the multi-faceted playmaker is a huge win for Arizona’s future.
However, former New York Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum says that the offseason move that will pay off the most is Tampa Bay’s hiring of Todd Bowles as head coach. Bowles took over for Bruce Arians, who Tannenbaum says is an inferior head coach.
“They (Tampa) got better at the head coaching position,” Tannenbaum said on ESPN on Friday morning. “This is an underrated story. He’s going to be the Coach of the Year and take the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the Super Bowl. This defense is loaded. We’re going to be talking about Tom Brady early in the season and we’re going to be talking about this Tampa Bay defense late in the season.
“They have playmakers at all three levels and if they can stay healthy on the back end look out.”
That prediction has to be music to Bowles’ ears. On the other hand, if he’s superstitious, Bowles probably doesn’t want anyone predicting too much success for him. A Super Bowl would be a huge accomplishment, but he has to take it one step at a time.
Any way you slice it, Bowles has had quite a week. Tannenbaum’s ringing endorsement and also Bowles’ son Troy, a four-star recruit, committed to defending national champion Georgia for college.
— Bucs Report (@Bucs__Report) July 17, 2022
Bowles was previously head coach of the New York Jets from 2015 to 2018, when he went 24-40, so he’s never come anywhere close to winning a Super Bowl. 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.
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.
This is a huge opportunity for Bowles. He’s never had this level of talent and certainly never had a quarterback of Tom Brady’s ilk. Even a 45-year-old Brady.
Tannenbaum’s Super Bowl prediction doesn’t leave much wriggle room for Bowles who still has to deal with some question marks on both sides of the ball, but Bowles would undoubtedly rather have this kind of pressure than the pressure of not knowing if he would ever get a shot at another head coaching gig.