Perhaps this isn’t going to be the main story when people are discussing the Super Bowl next week, but it might be worth noting who the offensive coordinator is of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers: it’s none other than former Pittsburgh Steelers backup quarterback Byron Leftwich, who has risen the ranks under Bruce Arians to near the top of his profession.
Arians, of course, coached Leftwich as offensive coordinator when the two were in Pittsburgh together. He first hired the quarterback as his quarterbacks coach while with the Arizona Cardinals in 2017, and then he even served as interim offensive coordinator the following season.
When Arians got the head coaching job with the Buccaneers, he brought Leftwich along, along with the promotion to offensive coordinator. Obviously things could have gone better in 2019, with Jameis Winston at quarterback, but with Tom Brady, they are playing for the national title.
“I can’t say enough about the job he’s has done; I mean, it’s just remarkable”, Arians said of Leftwich on The Rich Eisen Show. “You know, Tom is such a great, great player, but having left that system after 20 years, and ours is lot different how we do things, Byron’s been the middle guy that’s just done all the work”.
Tom is, of course, Tom Brady, who was synonymous with Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots for two decades before he made the somewhat surprising decision to leave in free agency. The Patriots posted a losing record and failed to reach the postseason, while the Buccaneers are now vying for a title against the defending champions.
“I mean, people give me way too much credit because I don’t do [bleeped], really. He does it all”, Arians went on to say. “He calls the plays. I’m really upset he didn’t get a head coaching interview. … Byron didn’t even get a call, and I think people give Tom Brady and Bruce Arians way too much credit and not enough credit for Byron Leftwich”.
Leftwich is 41 years old, so there is still plenty of time for him to ascend the coaching tree. Whenever Arians retires—he has already said that he has no plans to retire, even if they win the Super Bowl—he will take over in Tampa Bay.
Of course, he has a pretty limited body of work with only four years of coaching experience, but it helps to be groomed by somebody with a track record, and he’s not the only former Steeler on Arians’ staff, either, which also includes Larry Foote and Antwaan Randle El.