The NFL is one of the most successful sports leagues in North America, and every franchise has a coach to match. The National Football League features an ever-changing cast of characters as each year sees changes in personnel and coaches. One prominent change this season has been that Todd Bowles, who was previously the defensive coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles, took over as head coach for Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday night following Dirk Koetter’s firing last week due to reported conflicts with Jameis Winston.
With Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Todd Bowles is aligned to succeed. The New York Jets’ head coach has been with the team since 2009. He also has ties to former Bucs coach Lovie Smith who was fired by the Chicago Bears in 2016.
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced Wednesday that head coach Bruce Arians is shifting to a front-office job, with defensive coordinator Todd Bowles being promoted to head coach, in one of the most surprising developments of possibly the strangest NFL offseason in recent memory.
The move’s timing is unexpected, to say the least. Is it true that Tom Brady pushed Arians out?
Even after Brady announced his retirement, Arians had already committed to returning in 2022, even texting ESPN on Jan. 30 to declare he was “absolutely” returning. He attended the NFL combine earlier this month and the NFL owners meetings this week before departing one day early and refusing to talk to the media for “personal reasons,” according to reports.
According to ESPN, Arians notified Brady immediately after his return announcement that he would be stepping down, implying that Brady was aggressively recruiting players to join Tampa Bay while fully aware that Arians would not be the head coach.
What’s more, a source told ESPN that Arians notified Bowles of his decision Monday, after seeking clarification on a hiring regulation during the owners meetings. So Brady was aware of the situation before Bowles.
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Most people who knew Arians thought he would only coach for a few more years at the age of 69. Nonetheless, when Arians told his team of the news on Wednesday, before it was made public, they were taken aback. The elevation of Bowles provides defensive continuity, and also gives Brady and offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich even more control of the attack.
Bowles would have been Arians’ replacement if he hadn’t been hired elsewhere. This summer, he interviewed for head coaching positions with the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears, but was passed over for both. Bowles, on the other hand, has always been a good fit in Tampa Bay.
Bowles, unlike when he was the coach of the New York Jets, does not need to dazzle on the stage to win fans and the media’s favor. He can maintain his typical evasiveness while adding a dash of dry, self-deprecating humor, which most people don’t perceive until they chat with him one-on-one or in an informal context.
That, plus the fact that players adore him, despite the fact that the move took them off surprise as well. Devin White said on Twitter, “There is no one greater! That’s my boy! “after the news became public.
Bowles just has to win, and he’s in a position to concentrate almost entirely on defense, a defense that resembles the team’s ‘No risk, no biscuit’ ethos.
Bowles’ promotion comes at a critical time for the NFL, which has struggled to find solutions to its diversity hiring issues, to the point where the league just adopted a new rule this week requiring all teams to hire a minority offensive coach for the 2022 season, as well as expanding the Rooney Rule to include women.
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Bowles’ presence is significant, even if he is not on the offensive side of the ball, which is where many head-coaching choices are presently made. He joins Lovie Smith (Houston Texans) and Mike McDaniel (New York Jets) as the sixth minority head coach in the NFL and the third this year (Miami Dolphins). Bowles also becomes the Buccaneers’ fourth Black head coach, with two more than any other franchise.
There are many unanswered questions, some of which will take some time to resolve. Bowles may only have one chance with Brady, who isn’t under contract after the 2022 season, but if things go well, might this keep Brady in Tampa longer? Or will Bowles be in charge of bringing in a new quarterback and dealing with the inevitable growing pains?
It’s also fair to wonder how Bowles will handle this expanded role given that he only had one winning season with the Jets in his four-year tenure (10-6 in 2015), though many would argue that the Jets’ organization was lacking in synergy and Bowles was set up to fail, whereas Arians was attempting to do the opposite.
“I wanted to make sure that Todd Bowles had the greatest chance to succeed when I left,” Arians stated in a statement. “So many head coaches find themselves in precarious circumstances, and I didn’t want Todd to be one of them. Tom’s choice to return, together with Jason and his staff’s continued success in keeping the nucleus of this club together throughout free agency, convinced me that it was time to hand the reins over to Todd.”
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