After two exciting Championships last weekend, we are on to the biggest game: the Super Bowl. This match appears to be one to remember, as there are many attractive headlines for it. You may have heard of: Brady vs Mahomes, Tampa’s WR corp against the Chiefs powerful offense, the matchup between two very good defenses, etc. Much will be at stake on the field, but, what about the matchup in the sidelines? Who are the “brains” at the top and how have they helped their teams. I will break down the 3 main coaches of both teams here:
Andy Reid vs Bruce Arians
The first and the most attractive coaching battle: Reid against Arians. First starting with Reid. We know that Reid has been arguably the best head coach in the league in recent years and, this year, he’s still making history. He participated in his third consecutive AFC Championship game and now is heading to his second consecutive Super Bowl. Reid has now gotten to the big game multiple times with 2 teams: the Chiefs and the Eagles. Reid is now tied 4th with Joe Gibbs for the most postseason wins in NFL history. Kansas City finished 14-2, good for the best record in the NFL. Reid’s team ranked inside the top 10 in offense and defense. His team ranked 1st in aerial yards and in total yards; absolutely dominant. Reid is a historical head coach already, his playcalling abilities are amazing and that could be key again to win the trophy.
In the other hand, we have Bruce Arians. Arians is a newer head coach and, before the season, he only had 1 playoff win in his career. Last offseason, the Bucs star acquisition was Tom Brady. They surrounded him with an elite WR corp, a very good o-line, a solid backfield and an elite defense. Tampa lost the division to the Saints despite finishing 11-5, having to confront the challenge of Wild Card weekend. They beat Washington and got their revenge in New Orleans. Tampa Bay now seemed to be a real playoff contender and one that could beat Green Bay in Lambeau Field. Bruce Arians’ team accomplished that.
It was clear that Brady’s and Arians’ relationship worked out better as the season went by. What has he done to take his team to the Super Bowl? Arians’ team ranked top 10 in both defense and offense. He is now heading to his first Super Bowl, where he is going to play at home.
Steve Spagnuolo vs Todd Bowles
After both teams built an elite offensive arsenal, the main question was their defenses. And after the season and the playoffs, but defenses have performed great.
Starting with Tampa, Todd Bowles has made an outstanding job with their D. After a failed experiment as the New York Jets head coach, Bowles came to Tampa as their new DC last year. Last season, Tampa’s defense was decent, but they allowed many points. In 2020, Bowles’ defense ranked inside the top 10 in every aspect and ended being the number 1 rushing defense. Tampa Bay’s defense performed so good that they were the only ones to beat Aaron Rodgers twice and sack him multiple times. Bowles has shown to be very intelligent taking blitzes and taking advantage of the players they got. They didn’t look good against Kansas City in their week 12 matchup this season, as Patrick Mahomes had a 450+ yard game and Tyreek Hill went for 269 yards and 3 TD’s. They will have to keep going as they have done recently, to take down Mahomes and the Chiefs offense.
In KC’s side, we have Steve Spagnuolo, one of the only coaches that can presume winning a Super Bowl over Tom Brady’s Patriots. Yes, Spagnuolo was the defensive coordinator of the 08′ Giants that won it all. That may be at Brady’s head, we never know. But what has Spagnuolo done this year with Kansas City’s defense? Watching the rankings, they are not as impressive as Tampa Bay. They ranked 10th in points allowed, 10th in takeaways and 5 in interceptions. The Chiefs were out of the top 10 in all the other categories. Since his times in New York, Spagnuolo has never had an elite defense. But the thing about this Chiefs’ D is that they can step up in key moments. They got 3 Pro-Bowlers in Tyrann Mathieu (1st Team All-Pro), Chris Jones and Frank Clark, who need to step up and make a great game against an elite Buccaneers offense.
Eric Bieniemy vs Byron Leftwich
Now we take a look at the offensive game of these teams. This coaching battle may be the least attractive as, in both parts, the offensive games are influenced by the head coaches. However, both Bieniemy and Leftwich have been fundamental pieces for the success of their teams’ offensive schemes.
Taking a look at the Chiefs offense, we can see that Eric Bieniemy has been holding them high in the ranks for a long time. He is considered so good at his job, that the possibility of becoming a head coach was rumored. Bieniemy settled KC’s offense in the top rankings during all of his 3 years at that spot. This year, his offense finished 1st in total yards, 1st in passing yards, 3rd in touchdowns and 2nd in interceptions. Bieniemy’s unit has been dominant all-season, and they will have to make a great game to win their second straight Super Bowl.
In the other sideline we will see Byron Leftwich, a guy that has worked with Bruce Arians for almost all his coaching career. In his two years as the Bucs’ offensive coordinator, Leftwich has had very attractive numbers in yards and in scoring. His offense has been ranked inside the top 10 in total yards and inside the top 5 in touchdowns in both of his years. What his unit has in common with the Chiefs’ one, is that their rushing game is not a visible strength. However, this year his QB is not Jameis Winston, the guy who threw for 33 TD’s and 30 INT’s last year. This season, he got to work with 3x MVP and 6x Super Bowl Champ, Tom Brady. Consequently, Leftwich’s offense has looked very good in the last games of the regular season and the playoffs. Furthermore, the fact of having a very good defense, playing at home, counting with great offensive weapons, and having Tom Brady at QB, can open a good possibility to win the big game for the Buccaneers.