Buccaneers defense rises to occasion again in Super Bowl win
Tampa Bay Buccaneers inside linebacker Devin White (45) breaks up a pass intended for Kansas City Chiefs running back Darrel Williams, right, during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl 55 football game, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)TAMPA, Fla. – Tampa Bay’s defense finished its redemption tour with a Super Bowl championship. Brees and the Saints beat Tampa Bay twice during the regular season. By taking down Mahomes in the Super Bowl, the Bucs (15-5) avenged three of their five losses. He also took exception with Tampa Bay having only one Pro Bowl selection on its roster, linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul. “One Pro Bowl player and the team goes on to win the Super Bowl?
Bucs' Arians scoffs at rumors, says he's returning 'for 2'
(AP Photo/Ashley Landis)TAMPA, Fla. – Seconds after linebacker Devin White intercepted a pass in the end zone, Tampa Bay coach Bruce Arians started doling out hugs. Arians unplugged his headset, slipped on a Super Bowl championship hat and braced for the traditional Gatorade shower. Together, Arians and the 43-year-old Brady helped Tampa Bay win its first championship in 18 years and cemented their spot in the franchise history books. He took a year off and worked in television before returning to the NFL with Tampa Bay — joining a young team he saw as full of potential. His biggest coup was landing Brady, who engineered yet another masterpiece and won his seventh Super Bowl after six titles with the Patriots.
Buccaneers batter Mahomes in 31-9 Super Bowl rout of Chiefs
The Buccaneers didn't even give him time to skim their defense in the Super Bowl. He was 26 of 49 for 270 yards and two interceptions in a 31-9 blowout that denied the Chiefs back-to-back titles. “They had a good game plan,” said Mahomes, whose quarterback rating of 52.3 was by far the worst of his career. The first-half numbers were striking: Mahomes was 9 of 19 for 67 yards, while Tampa Bay counterpart Tom Brady had dominated the Chiefs defense for 140 yards passing and three TDs in staking the Buccaneers to a 21-6 lead. “To the last snap,” Reid said, “he was trying to win that football game.”It was just that kind of night for Mahomes.
Brady, improved defense keys to Bucs winning Super Bowl
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady during NFL football practice, Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021 in Tampa, Fla. The Buccaneers will face the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl 55. (Kyle Zedaker/Tampa Bay Buccaneers via AP)TAMPA, Fla. – Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won’t be denied. The 43-year-old six-time Super Bowl champion may no longer be the best quarterback in the NFL, however, he’s shown in his first season with the Bucs that he’s still good enough to lead a team to the NFL title game. You want to make some moves that hopefully get your team into the Super Bowl.
Young Bucs secondary braces for another dose of Tyreek Hill
(AP Photo/Mike Roemer)TAMPA, Fla. – Like most NFL cornerbacks, Carlton Davis plays with a short-term memory but never forgets a bad performance. The third-year pro and the rest of Tampa Bay’s young secondary was dominated by Tyreek Hill during the regular season and are eager to redeem themselves against the speedy Kansas City Chiefs receiver in the Super Bowl. Hill had 13 receptions for 269 yards and three touchdowns in a 27-24 victory over the Bucs on Nov. 29. “I play defensive back in the NFL, so you’re going to have your share of losses. I’m going to continue to be a dog and go out there and give it my all,” Davis said.
Chiefs' success big reason why fans will be at Super Bowl
(AP Photo/Reed Hoffmann, File)There will be about 25,000 fans inside Raymond James Stadium for the Super Bowl on Sunday. Even when COVID-19 numbers were spiking around the country, the Chiefs never experienced an outbreak traced back to their fans. AdThursday marked the final time talking to the media for the Bucs and Chiefs until after the Super Bowl. BRADY’S PORTUGUESETom Brady's six Super Bowl rings don't protect him from being trash talked in his own home. The fact that it will happen in the Super Bowl?
Check downs? More like checkmate as Chiefs take what's given
Kansas City Chiefs Quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) between drills during NFL football practice Wednesday February 2, 2021 in Kansas City, Mo. (Steve Sanders/Kansas City Chiefs via AP)KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The casual football fan is likely to describe the Kansas City Chiefs offense this way: a go-for-broke, throw-it-deep highlight reel built around a quarterback with record-setting arm strength and wide receivers boasting Olympic-caliber speed. Some might call all those dink-and-dunk throws “check downs.”AdGiven the Chiefs are playing for a second straight Super Bowl tile Sunday? Ad“That starts with Pat getting the ball out of his hand and allowing us to get upfield and make those moves,” Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins said.
Bieniemy doesn't ask to be 'poster boy' for Black coaches
Bieniemy has become the cause celebre when it comes to minority assistants who have been denied the opportunity to become head coaches in the NFL. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)Eric Bieniemy has become the cause celebre when it comes to minority assistants who have been denied the opportunity to become NFL head coaches. “I did not ask be the poster boy of this particular situation that I have experienced,” Bieniemy said Tuesday. “I don’t understand everything, I am not an owner, I don’t sit in those meetings to interview head coaches,” Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said. Bieniemy isn’t alone when it comes to minority coordinators in the Super Bowl who didn’t get a head coaching offer this offseason.
Out of Miller's shadow, Barrett aims to follow his footsteps
“He was determined to get it by any means, wouldn’t let failure be an option,” Barrett recounted. Barrett will have a starting — and maybe starring — role in Super Bowl 55 when the Buccaneers (14-5) face Mahomes and the reigning champion Kansas City Chiefs (16-2) Sunday at Raymond James Stadium. Barrett had a monster debut in Tampa, collecting an NFL-best 19½ sacks, forcing six fumbles and earning his first Pro Bowl nod in 2019. Mahomes remembers Barrett in Denver as a player who never let quarterbacks exhale whenever Miller or Chubb tapped out for a breather. He’s got great speed, he’s got great power, he’s got a ton of moves,” Remmers said.
Super rematch: Hill burned Bucs repeatedly in 1st meeting
Tampa Bay gets another shot at Hill and the Chiefs in the Super Bowl on Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021. It was the second and most impressive of three scores for Hill, who was the star of Kansas City’s 27-24 victory at Tampa Bay in Week 12. Tampa Bay gets another shot at Hill and the Chiefs in the Super Bowl next Sunday, the first rematch in the NFL finale in nearly a decade. Davis was burned repeatedly, including on consecutive TD passes from Patrick Mahomes to Hill (75 and 44 yards) in the first quarter. Down three with 4:10 to play, Tampa turned to its defense to get a stop and get Brady the ball back.
More interviews didn’t equal more minority hirings in NFL
(AP Photo)The NFL expanded the Rooney Rule to give more minority candidates opportunities to become a head coach and reward teams who develop them. The Houston Texans hired David Culley this week, making the 65-year-old longtime assistant the league’s third Black head coach hired. Culley and Saleh join Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin, Miami’s Brian Flores and Washington’s Ron Rivera as the league’s only minority head coaches. “We didn’t make as much progress on the head coaching side as we would have liked,” Rooney said. AdPerhaps an increase in minority executives will lead to more minority head coaches.
D-coordinators bring head coaching chops to NFL title games
But all are credited with providing a steady helping hand, a sturdy shoulder and a willing ear to their team’s current head coach. PETTINEPettine went 10-22 (.313) as head coach of the Cleveland Browns from 2014-15, before joining Matt LaFleur, who was named Packers head coach in 2018 after just two seasons as an offensive coordinator, a year each with the Rams and Titans. Arians brought along Bowles, whom he coached at Temple in the mid-1980s and who had been his defensive coordinator in Arizona from 2013-14. It began with Frazier saying he didn’t want McDermott to make the same mistakes he did as a first-time head coach. It’s a business with a lot of egos, a lot of people concerned with who gets the credit.”SPAGNUOLOSpagnuolo, 61, compiled an 11-41 record (.212) as head coach of the St. Louis Rams from 2009-11 and as interim head coach of the New York Giants in 2017, when he went 1-3.
NFC Matchups: Where else to start but Brady and Rodgers?
But Gronk in particular has always been a big-play guy in big games for Brady, and Green Bay doesn't have linebackers who excel in coverage. Green Bay will do some blitzing, though not as much as Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles figures to do. Unlike Brady, Rodgers can create outside the pocket, and he's especially dangerous when doing so. Veteran placekicker Mason Crosby is solid, making all 16 field goal attempts, but missed four PATs for Green Bay. Tampa Bay's Ryan Succop, now in his 12th pro season, made 28 of 31 field goal tries but missed five extra points.
Falcons pick Titans offensive coordinator Smith as new coach
FILE - Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith instructs his players during NFL football training camp in Nashville, Tenn., in this Friday, Aug. 21, 2020, file photo. The New York Jets interviewed Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021, for their head coaching vacancy. Atlanta agreed to terms with Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Arthur Smith on Friday to become the team's head coach. Smith has served on Tennessee's staff for 10 seasons, including two as offensive coordinator. He also was an offensive assistant/quality control coach (2012), offensive line/tight ends assistant (2013) and assistant tight ends coach (2014-15).
Falcons interview Hackett, Brady for head coaching job
Panthers offensive coordinator Joe Brady is becoming a popular name for NFL teams seeking to fill head coaching vacancies. A person familiar with the situation says the Chargers, Falcons and Texans have all asked for and received permission from the Panthers to interview Brady for their head coaching jobs. (AP Photo/Brian Westerholt, File)ATLANTA – The Atlanta Falcons have interviewed a pair of offensive coordinators, Nathaniel Hackett of the Green Bay Packers and Joe Brady of the Carolina Panthers, for their head coaching job. The Falcons conducted a virtual interview with Hackett on Thursday, one day after meeting virtually with Brady. “I think one of the (prerequisites) to being a good head coach is presence in front of a room," Rodgers said.
Moving on up: LB Williamson goes from Jets to Steelers
New York Jets linebacker Avery Williamson (54) attempts to stop Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (87) from gaining yardage after a catch in the first half of an NFL football game on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Moving on up: LB Williamson goes from Jets to Steelers
The New York Jets agreed Sunday night to trade the veteran linebacker to the Pittsburgh Steeler. The Jets also are sending a 2022 seventh-round draft pick to the Steelers for Pittsburgh's 2022 fifth-rounder. The deal moves Williamson from the winless Jets, who are 0-8 after a 35-9 loss at Kansas City, to the 7-0 Steelers, the league's only undefeated team after a 28-24 win at Baltimore. Bell signed a few days later with Kansas City and ran for 7 yards on six carries against his former team Sunday. Williamson was signed by the Jets to a three-year, $22.5 million contract in 2018 and quickly established himself as a key playmaker.
Unbeaten Steelers reach top spot in AP Pro32 poll
(AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)NEW YORK – As the league's only unbeaten team, the Pittsburgh Steelers have climbed all the way to the top of the NFL. 1 spot in the latest AP Pro32 poll. The Steelers received seven of the 12 first-place votes for 378 points in balloting Tuesday by media members who regularly cover the NFL. The Steelers improved to 6-0 for their best start since 1978, when Pittsburgh won its first seven on the way to the Super Bowl. The Ravens host the Steelers this week in the top matchup of Week 8.