Super Bowl LV was historic for many reasons, and it wasn’t just because Tampa Bay became the first team to host and win a Super Bowl in their own stadium. Another big winner on Sunday night was diversity.
It was on full display on the Buccaneers’ sidelines: all of the team’s coordinators are Black.
“It shows we’re good at our job as coaches and gives younger people, hopefully, inspiration to see us as coaches that we can be one of these type of people if we put our mind to it, anything is possible,” said Tampa Bay’s defensive coordinator Todd Bowles after the 31-9 win against Kansas City.
Bowles, a former Jets head coach, was simply a mastermind on defense. Kansas City’s prolific offense failed to score a touchdown in the entire game for the first time since 2019.
Tampa Bay dominated in all three phases of the game. It’s not rare for a team to win in every facet, but it is uncommon to see a Black coordinator leading each of those groups.
“To have this opportunity to have three African-American coordinators on the same team and to find a way to win a Super Bowl, obviously it will open people’s eyes but I can’t speak to it changing anyone’s minds or thoughts about the hiring process,” Tampa Bay offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich said.
Based on the numbers, it’s doubtful Tampa’s diverse coaching staff will change the NFL’s flawed system.
Just two of the last 20 head coaches hired have been Black, bringing the total to number in the NFL to three.
“I know all three of us, me, Todd and Keith, all we’re trying to do is help these men grow and be in the best position and be the best football players they can be,” Leftwich said. “That’s our goal.”
It’s goal that they’ve met exceptionally well. It’s uncertain if any of Tampa’s coordinators will get hired during the next coaching cycle. The NFL is a top-down business. Improving diversity on the sideline is just a start of where improvement can begin.
What’s not up for debate is that Leftwitch, Bowles and special team’s coordinator Keith Armstrong are leaders of men and, now, Super Bowl Champions.