Sunday’s game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Pittsburgh Steelers will feature two teams that are in quite different positions.
Tom Brady, a 23-year NFL veteran, will be the quarterback for Tampa Bay while Pittsburgh will start youngster Kenny Pickett for the first time.
The Buccaneers will try to move up to 4-2 on the season while the Steelers will try to end a four-game losing streak.
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Additionally, Todd Bowles and Mike Tomlin will face off on opposing sides in the coach-coach matchup.
After Steve Wilks, the defensive pass game coordinator for the Carolina Panthers, was named interim head coach on Monday after Matt Rhule was fired, Tomlin and Bowles became two of the four Black head coaches in the NFL.
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When questioned about competing against Tomlin, Bowles responded on Thursday, “I have a really good connection with Tomlin.” When we compete against one another, we don’t consider our color. We’re merely acquainted. I have several wonderful White friends who also coach in this league.
And I don’t believe it’s a huge thing that we are competing with each other as coaches. It seems typical to me. Wilks has the chance to do well; let’s hope he takes it. And we teach soccer. We do not observe color.
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The question of whether Bowles recognized that “representation matters” was then posed to him. Bowles is in his first season as head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers following Bruce Arians’ retirement.
As for saying, “See you guys,” and “Look like them and grew up like them,” Bowles remarked, “it suggests that we’re oddballs to begin with.” And I believe that everyone will stop making a big deal about it as soon as you guys do.