Mike Preston

Mike Preston’s observations on Todd Bowles’ masterful Super Bowl, Tom Brady, Ravens hires and more | COMMENTARY

Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles became a lot richer Sunday night.

The Buccaneers are going to have to offer him a lucrative contract extension after they beat the Kansas City Chiefs, 31-9, in Super Bowl LV, and the performance might lead to Bowles becoming a head coach in 2022.


Well, that’s the hope anyway.

It will be hard for NFL owners to ignore Bowles, a 57-year-old African-American, for any open positions after next season. They’ve basically given him the cold shoulder since he finished with a 24-40 record during four seasons leading the New York Jets, but few coaches survive under owner Woody Johnson.


Besides the losing, the other knock on Bowles was that he was too robotic and unemotional. Sorry, every coach can’t be as dramatic as the Los Angeles Rams’ Sean McVay or as animated as the Seattle Seahawks’ Pete Carroll. Also, Hall of Fame coaches such as the Dallas Cowboys’ Tom Landry and the Minnesota Vikings’ Bud Grant weren’t known for their charm on game day, and the New England Patriots’ Bill Belichick is the king of the stone faces.

After watching the Bucs rout the Chiefs, owners have to be wondering why they didn’t hire this guy or at least interview him. They could have held off hiring a coach until after the Super Bowl.

Bowles was masterful Sunday. The Bucs held the NFL’s top offense the past two seasons without a touchdown and contained quarterback Patrick Mahomes, the best offensive player in the league. The Chiefs star completed only 26 of 49 passes for 270 yards with two interceptions and was sacked three times.

Bowles kept his defense in two-deep coverage, occasionally mixing in some man-to-man with zone underneath. He got pressure with his front four, which allowed Tampa Bay to bracket tight end Travis Kelce and receiver Tyreek Hill on almost every passing situation.

Besides edge rushers Shaquil Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul kept pressure on Mahomes while consistently beating backup offensive tackles Mike Remmers and Andrew Wylie, and inside linebackers Lavonte David and Devin White were physical and covered ground all over the field. It was one of the most dominant defensive performances in Super Bowl history, especially considering the opponent.

Maybe Bowles will finally get another opportunity, but at least he won’t have to jump at any job with a team under bad ownership.

He should be in high demand.

Brady had help, too

Debating whether Bucs quarterback Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback of all time is a subject for talk radio. Those guys love that kind of stuff.


But let’s remember that Brady going to Tampa Bay isn’t like playing in Baltimore with a cast of receivers named Marquise Brown, Mark Andrews, Miles Boykin, Dez Bryant, Willie Snead IV, Chris Moore, Devin Duvernay and James Proche II.

Tampa Bay brought in tight end Rob Gronkowski, receiver Antonio Brown and running back Leonard Fournette to complement skilled players such as receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin and running back Ronald Jones II, who were already on the roster.

Brady wasn’t exactly working with “chopped liver.”

Coaches need to see big picture

Once coaches and coordinators get locked into a certain frame of mind, they can’t get out of it quickly.

Kansas City coach Andy Reid has been aggressive all year, but those timeouts late in the first half when he should have let the Bucs run out the final 61 seconds were bad decisions. At that point, the Chiefs were only down 14-6, which was fortunate because they were playing so poorly.

Instead of going into the locker room down eight, Kansas City went into halftime trailing 21-6 because Reid stopped the clock twice hoping to get the ball back one more time. Instead, Brady threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Brown to compete a five-play, 71-yard drive, which pretty much put the game out of reach, especially the way Tampa Bay’s defense was playing.


Throughout the years, so many coaches can’t take that deep breath, exhale and get the proper perspective. They want to live for the moment, but their teams sometimes die in it.

New hires lackluster

The Ravens have hired four new coaches, including wide receivers coach Tee Martin and pass game specialist Keith Williams.

Both have good resumes, but not the pedigree to have a major effect on upgrading the Ravens’ passing game. General manager Eric DeCosta and coach John Harbaugh have both talked about having quarterback Lamar Jackson throw downfield more often, but there has been nothing to indicate how that will happen.

There are no Gary Kubiaks among the new coaches.

Hats off to the league

Despite COVID-19 concerns, the NFL put on a nice show at the Super Bowl. The awards show with Steve Harvey as the MC was excellent. It was virtual and simplistic, but that’s why it was attractive because there wasn’t all the glitz, hype and players trying to out-dress each other.

The NFL was superb in promoting the players and events they host in the communities within the 32 cities represented by the league. The walk-up announcements for the people getting voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame were special, as were the national anthem sung by Jazmine Sullivan and Eric Church and the rendition of “American the Beautiful” by H.E.R.


The Weeknd’s halftime show was terrible, and it looked like one of those old corny videos from the early days of MTV.

Overall, the NFL gets an “A” grade for the Super Bowl and a similar mark for the season, which I didn’t think would be completed without serious interruptions and delays.

Short tenure for Culley?

There is speculation that former Ravens assistant head coach David Culley, 67, will only be the Houston Texans coach for the next two or three years. He was brought in to restore some order and goodwill within that organization, from the front office to the players.

The assistant the Texans really want as coach is New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, 44, who has been with the Patriots during all six of their Super Bowl championship seasons.