If the NFL were looking for a boost in helping to show NFL owners and front office executives that kind of success can be achieved by looking outside of the typical avenues for coaches and other non-player personnel, then they certainly got one from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Head coach Bruce Arians’ coaching staff is one of the most diverse in the entire league, featuring individuals of color in every coordinator role, and with multiple women also on-staff. Byron Leftwich served as offensive coordinator, with Todd Bowles as defensive coordinator, along with Keith Armstrong as special teams coordinator, and Harold Goodwin as an assistant head coach and run game coordinator—all of them African American.
Shouts to Tampa Bay’s coaching staff, one of the most diverse in the NFL, with all Black coordinators
Offensive Coordinator: Byron Leftwich
Defensive Coordinator: Todd Bowles
Special Teams Coordinator: Keith Armstrong
Assistant Head Coach & Run Game Coordinator: Harold Goodwin pic.twitter.com/SlUBgifnNQ
— Tyler R. Tynes (@TylerRickyTynes) February 8, 2021
Many took note of the fact of the Buccaneers’ staff being diverse throughout the year, and paid special attention to it in light of their Super Bowl victory. Former Pittsburgh Steelers safety and current ESPN analyst Ryan Clark, who spent time with Arians in Pittsburgh, offered his praise.
“Thank you Bruce Arians for showing the world that all 3 of your coordinators can be black, your assistant head coach can be black, you can have 2 full time women coaches and be the best team in the world”, he wrote in a Twitter message shortly after the game was over. “BA you’re a trail blazer. Leadership doesn’t have a look!”.
Thank you Bruce Arians for showing the world that all 3 of your coordinators can be black, your assistant head coach can be black, you can have 2 full time women coaches and be the best team in the world. BA you’re a trail blazer. Leadership doesn’t have a look!
— Ryan Clark (@Realrclark25) February 8, 2021
‘Leadership doesn’t have a look’ is a very important sentiment that deserves to be expressed more and more. While I believe that the vast majority of people can resonate with the notion that the most-qualified individuals should be given the jobs for which they are qualified, many fairly argue that we are still making strides toward actually achieving that.
The league is hoping to make headway in this area, which is the reason that the Rooney Rule exists, and why they have work to expand its reach multiple times since its incorporation, including as recently as changes made late last year. It has already been suggested that further changes would be made this year.
But nothing convinces people of something more than actually seeing it in action. Both teams in the Super Bowl featured African American offensive coordinators in Leftwich and Eric Bieniemy, who has been among the most popular names on the coaching circuit for the past couple of years. That in itself is pretty remarkable.
Seeing a team like the Buccaneers achieve great things and doing so with such an assemblage of individuals who historically have not been well-represented in their roles will serve as inspiration and motivation for others like them to try to follow in their footsteps—and for those in the roles to employ them to perhaps be more inclined to do so in the future.