Tom Brady is given much of the credit for turning the Tampa Bay Buccaneers into Super Bowl champions, but he couldn't have done it without the Bucs' stout defense. Now, their lead man is receiving a new deal. On Wednesday, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that the Buccaneers were giving defensive coordinator Todd Bowles a new three-year contract that will have him continue to be the NFL's highest-paid defensive coordinator.
"I love it here. We've got a great group of coaches that Bruce (Arians) has put together," Bowles said on Thursday, via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. "We have good players. They're great to work with. Love the area and the camaraderie. It's not about being a head coach, it's about being the best coach with a chance to succeed and be happy, and I'm happy here."
Schefter also reports that this new deal replaces the former deal which had one year remaining, and that it doesn't preclude Bowles from taking a head coaching job -- which is almost certainly coming down the line. Bowles is entering his third season as Tampa Bay's defensive coordinator, and the 2020 campaign was his best. The Buccaneers had the No. 1 rushing defense in the league with an average of 80.6 yards allowed per game and the No. 6 overall defense with an average of 327.1 yards allowed per game. Tampa Bay also came in at No. 8 with 22.2 points allowed per game.
The Buccaneers' defensive unit stepped up in the postseason, and especially in Super Bowl LV. They held the dynamic Kansas City Chiefs offense to just nine points, as Patrick Mahomes threw for just 270 yards, zero touchdowns and two interceptions, while also being sacked three times. He was under constant duress, which led to a blowout victory for the Bucs.
Bruce Arians will coach again in 2021, but there could be a succession plan in place for Bowles to take over should he retire next offseason. Even if Arians returns in 2022, Bowles could get called to interview for another open head coaching job next offseason, but that's not what he's focused on right now.
"I have a desire to get my team ready," Bowles said. "I don't look for the next job. You look for the next job, you don't do the job you have. If something comes up at the end of the year, that's a discussion. Right now, it's the furthest thing from my mind."
Bowles has spent two decades in the NFL, originally getting his break with the New York Jets as a secondary coach in 2000. Apart from a few games served as an interim head coach with the Miami Dolphins in 2011, he has been a head coach just once with the Jets -- going 24-40 in four seasons from 2015-18. The 57-year-old should have another chance to serve as a head coach in the future, and it might be with the Bucs.
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