Super Bowl 55 Preview 1 Arians+Brady+Bowles = Magic

Posted: February 6, 2021 in All Things Power Spread
“There’s nothing I can know that I’m not supposed to know” – 9:00 minute mark – It’s Magic

Many want to criticize the Packers. LaFleur, Rodgers and Pettine. While there is some legit critique to throw the Pack’s way, I feel this game and the fact that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are in the Super bowl has much more to do with the success of the Bucs rather than the failure of the Pack. Let’s break it down!

2020 Tampa Bay Magic

Former Coach Lovie Smith began to upgrade the talent. Dirk Koetter continued the trend and left an abundance of top young athletes on both sides of the ball. Two Decades ago Jon Gruden created a winning Culture that still lingered in the Tampa Football Community to this day. Bruce Arians saw the pieces. He just needed to bring it all together. The Power and the Spread.

Bruce brought in some veteran free agents who have been there before to refresh & rebirth the Culture. Former Super Bowl participants Suh and Barrett. Playoff players and former starts Fournette and McCoy. He also continued the trend of good Drafts to continue to build the Talent.

Then he reached out and grabbed Tom Brady. Culture Complete. In one fell swoop. Overcomes Brady’s ex-teammate Rob Gronkowski. Then Antonio Brown. A ton of Playoff Experience. More than that – Magic. Now it was Arians turn.

All the Kings Horses and all the Kings Men – it was time to put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

Arians understood Offense as an Offensive Coordinator. Then he understood Leadership as a Head Coach. Now he understands Rebuilding as a Magic Man.

Before Brady or Bowles it was Arians. He reached out to his old DC and former player Todd Bowles and another former player in ST Coach Keith Armstrong. He inherited some Talent, created his Staff, then brought in more Talent. He then did his Magic – HE LET HIS PLAYERS PLAY AND COACHES COACH. He Trusted. One of the hardest things a Leader ever has to do.

I think, down deep, Arians could Let Go and Trust once he had Brady to complete the picture. Arians already proved that he could let go of Defense and Special Teams and not interfere with the process back when he coached Arizona. Now, for possibly the first time, he would let go of something close to his heart. His Offense.


Arians was always an Offense Guy. He played Wishbone QB for Virginia Tech. He coached WRs, RBs, QB. He was Head Coach of Temple where he coached Bowles and Armstrong. His long time contact was Tom Moore – straight out of the true West Coast Spread of Sid Gillman.

Arians ended up coaching Brady’s nemesis Peyton Manning with Tom Moore as OC of the Indianapolis Colts in the 2000s. Then Arians coached Big Ben in Pittsburgh and Carson Palmer as HC of Arizona. The former Wishbone QB was intrenched in the Pro Pass Spread originated by Gillman and run to a tee by Moore.

Tom Brady also had those same roots at Michigan, which ran a more conservative, power oriented version of Gillman’s style of Offense. When Tom got to New England that all changed. Bill Belichick was of the Bill Parcells school of Offense, which was the EP Spread Power.

Brady’s Roots – EP + Spread + WCPS

Ron Erhardt and Ray Perkins long before developed a Power Run Offense that was easily executable and incorporated elements of Gillman’s Pass Spread. The idea was easy Balance and Execution. Consistency and Certainty. An attempt at a Flexibility ahead of its Time. A Scheme that would all-ways be relevant.

Charlie Weiss was Belichick’s first OC at New England. He had roots in the Run&Shoot Spread Pass as well as the EP Spread Power. Add in Belichick’s new Spread Ideas that he learned directly from PS Guru Urban Meyer and the Offense Brady first played in was the unique beginnings of the Pro Spread.

Both Brady and the Colts Manning were running types of Pro Spread with No-Huddle. Manning was with Moore & Arians running the complete Gillman style offense, while Brady had a mix of EP & the new College Spread. In other words – Brady’s Scheme was more concerned with Space and quick passes. Brady as a distributor or Point Guard, if you will.

Moore & Arians scheme also used quick passes and utilized Space, but based more on Timing and the QB Talent for the vertical passing game, rather than using the QB as a distributor for his speedy athletic teammates. Even though Brady was the Leader, Star and a great Distributor, the focus of Weiss’ Offense was the talent of the WRs – not his QB’s arm and passing abilities.

This mindset meshed with Brady’s later OC, Josh McDaniels, who was with Belichick when he met Meyer way back when. McDaniels had more of the Bill Walsh West Coast roots – the horizontal, safer version of Gillman – using short passes as “runs” in a conservative style Passing Spread. McDaniels, though, always saw the value of Power Spread and worked that in to his West Coast Scheme. WCPS.

Arians Brilliant Flexibility as we enter the Age of Flexibility

Arians brilliance is in his Flexibility. After years of running a Pro Style Spread that hearkened back to the Original Passing Guru, Sid Gillman, Arians was able to let go and let Tom!

The Tampa Bay Offense that you will see on Super Bowl Sunday is a mesh of Arians’ old Pro Pass Spread combined with Tom’s EP/WCPS. The use of the whole width and length of the Field in the Passing Game meshed with the Power and Spread Run Game. Pro PS Gillman+.

This is not so different than what the Rams Sean McVay now runs. And what other coaches like Titans OC Arthur Smith and Green Bay’s own Matt LaFleur mimic to some extent. Now Brady, as a distributor or Point Guard, must stretch himself to see more of the Field in Terms of Space and make the big passes required. It was a challenge Tom embraced.

Sounds Simple. It is. Sounds Easy. It is not.

Many Head Coaches want to control every aspect of their Team. Even interfering with parts of the game they don’t fully understand. Arians’ wasn’t that way. But to let go of his own expertise in Offense and morph ideas from his player’s old scheme..?! This is absolute brilliance of Flexibility by Arians as we enter the Age of Flexibility!


Todd Bowles is one of the most innovative and best Defensive Minds in the game. He was when he coached under Arians at Arizona earlier last Decade. He was when he was Head Coach for the Jets later that Decade. And he is now.

Bill Parcells is a big part of his background. Parcells really believed in the 3-4 Defense as a way of having more Flexibility on the Field in terms of handling the Run and Pass Game. Plus there was more Variety in Pressure and Coverage by having faster players combined with big players.

His students such as Nick Saban and more so Bill Belichick took this idea of Flexibility and Variety even further. Todd Bowles takes it a step further still.

Bowles PS Defense = Aggressive Flexible Variety

Bowles is always Aggressive, but by mixing so much Variety is never OVER Aggressive. He’s also expanding the Concept of Flexibility by experimenting both with Scheme and Personnel. Most brilliant of all – he’s always – all ways – learning and evolving. He doesn’t think he has All Answers. He’s open to All Discoveries.

Interestingly, he does all of this with his Talent in mind. He plays to their strengths. Doesn’t over extend and keeps it simple. Passive Aggressive. Simple for his TEAM. Complicated for his OPPONENT. Subtle use of Deception, but at the same time Fundamentally Sound.

The video above shows one subtle way in which Bowles enables easy execution of his Passive Aggressive concept. I will share more Bowles videos in my next SB Preview, which will show the way in which he single handily may have won the Championship Game. The same way he’s been helping Tampa win all Playoff Season and find themselves in Super Bowl 55.

A Winning Combo

So I have been preaching Bowles and Tampa’s Defense all Post-Season. I believe in what I preach. Tampa is in the Super Bowl first and foremost because of their Defense. Not their banged up Offense or aging QB. Not their understated Head Coach. Right? Well, maybe not…

Sure. Bowles is da man! The Defense basically won the last 2 games. But none of this happens without Arians. As I said above, he put Humpty Dumpty back together again. And Brady was the completion of this masterpiece.

Tom Brady – Bruce Arians – Respect

I’m a big believer in Team over Star. But every once and a while someone shines so bright that they illuminate everyone around them. This is the case with Brady.

No one saw his Shine back when he was starting out. They felt it. But they couldn’t see it. Even after 8 Super Bowls and all his successes with New England, some still couldn’t completely see it. I was one of those people.

Yes, Belichick and his new Pro Spread Offense had a lot to do with the development of Brady, but I think at this point we need to all stand up and give this man a hand. And give Arians a hand while you are at it.

Tom has proven it over and over. Arians now joins him. This is quite a turn around during one helluva year. Bowles is amazing, but this doesn’t happen without Arians and Brady. Together they make quite a winning combo in 2020 and their run may not be over yet.


  1. […] Brady and Bowles – A Magic Combo.… #SuperBowl #SuperBowl2021 #SuperBowl55 #NFL…… […]

  2. […] Brady and Bowles – A Magic Combo.… #SuperBowl #SuperBowl2021 #SuperBowl55 #NFL…… […]

  3. […] Arians/Leftwich also added in Brady’s Pass Spread from his New England days. The Scheme is fine. Again, Talent, Injuries and Execution were the issues more than Scheme. […]

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