Seven teams had head coaching vacancies when the NFL regular season came to an end.
All seven spots were filled, but Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy went another year without an opportunity to lead his own franchise, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich was another name many thought would be hot on the market, but he failed to even get an interview.
Leftwich worked closely with Bucs quarterback Tom Brady, which led to an 11-5 regular-season record, and an appearance in the Super Bowl for the first time since 2002.
Bucs head coach Bruce Arians had high praise for his play-caller on Monday, and he was a little ticked off that he wasn’t even considered for one of the openings in the league.
“They’re the best coaches I know. It starts with that,” Arians said of Leftwich and Bucs defensive coordinator Todd Bowles. “I was very, very pissed that Byron [Leftwich] didn’t at least get an interview this year for the job that he’s done.
“I think I get way too much credit, and so does Tom Brady, for the job that Byron has done. Hopefully next year people will see that he took Jameis Winston and broke every single record here scoring and passing. And now Tom has broken both.
“He’s done a fantastic job,” Arians continued. “He’s everything supposedly what people are looking for. Although this year was kind of a defensive cycle, and you never know with the owners, and how they’re going to go. But I’m very, very proud of our staff.”
Leftwich was the orchestrator of one of the best offenses in the NFL.
Brady led the Bucs with 4,633 passing yards, 40 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions in 2020. Mike Evans was the only receiving option to surpass the 1,000-yard mark (1,006), and he also hauled in a team-high 70 receptions with 13 touchdowns. Fellow wideout Chris Godwin finished the regular season with 65 catches for 840 yards and seven scores, and tight end Rob Gronkowski had 45 receptions for 623 yards and seven TDs.
Tampa Bay will need its offense to be clicking on all cylinders on Super Bowl Sunday, when Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs head to Raymond James Stadium in a showdown for the ages.