Byron Leftwich was an offensive genius before Tom Brady decided to go to Tampa Bay.
Even with Jameis Winston as his quarterback in 2019, the Buccaneers OC orchestrated an offense that led the league in passing at 302.8 yards per game while ranking in the top three in the league in both total offense (397.9 ypg) and scoring (28.6 points per game).
Not to mention they broke Buccaneer records in total points, and touchdowns while finishing second in franchise history in first downs.
This is all while Winston was turning the ball over like he had the opposing defense on his fantasy team.
This season, Leftwich led the Buccaneers to the second-best passing offense in the league. He broke many of the records he set in 2019, he helped a 43-year-old Tom Brady finish third in passing yards and now has helped lead this Tampa Bay team to a Super Bowl.
“He’s done a fantastic job. He’s everything. Supposedly what people are looking for, although this year was kind of a defensive cycle,” said Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians earlier this week about Leftwich’s head coaching credentials.
“I was very, very pissed that Byron 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.”
Everyone focuses on the disgraceful snubbing of Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy, and rightfully so. There’s no excuse for that man not being offered a top job somewhere.
But Leftwich has shown that he should be in that conversation as well. His offensive brilliance shouldn’t be ignored as people celebrate the accomplishments of Brady and Arians.
Leftwich deserves to get spoken about in the same breath as Bieniemy when it comes to potential head coaching hires next year.
Yes, Leftwich has only been an OC for two seasons, plus an interim stint in Arizona in 2018, but why shouldn’t he have a meteoric rise to the top like Sean McVay did? Above I called Leftwich an “Offensive Genius” but it seems that term is reserved for coaches with a certain complexion for others covering and scouting the NFL, as you would think that one coach, who already has one Super Bowl ring in his drawer and is on the verge of his second in two years, and another, who’s constructed one of the best offenses in the league two seasons in a row, would have earned such a moniker. It’s remarkable how quickly a coach, once labeled an “Offensive Genius,” is offered a head coaching job. See McVay. See Kyle Shanahan.
I mean the Eagles hired Frank Reich’s understudy as head coach this season, I’m sure some arrangements could be made for Leftwich and Bieniemy next year.
If both Leftwich and Bieniemy were white they would have likely been offered a job by now. But alas, this is the NFL and we know how these things work by now.
Even Brady, who has been around the game so long that some children born the year he was drafted can now buy alcohol, raved about the job Leftwich has done.
“Yeah, I think Byron has done an incredible job,” Brady said Monday. “He’s a great guy. We have a great relationship. I’ve known him for a long time – we’re about the same age. I played against him. Always had a lot of respect for him. Now that we’re working together, it’s been great. He’s got a great work ethic, a great football IQ.”
Do you think Brady is going to endorse a guy who doesn’t know what he’s doing?
That’s head coaching material in my book.
Leftwich should be a serious candidate for head coaching vacancies next year. He has the talent, brains, and leadership ability to help make a team successful.
It’s time for the league to stop blatantly disregarding these Black men, especially Leftwich.