If you've lost count of the amount of times Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Todd Bowles has been fired this offseason without actually losing his job, you're not alone.
Bowles was put in the incredibly unfair position of being on the hot seat almost as soon as he assumed head coaching duties last offseason. Bruce Arians stepping down as head coach around the same time Tom Brady unretired swallowed up the celebration that should have happened for Bowles becoming a head coach for the second time in his career.
From the start, though, it seems like everyone was trying to figure out ways he wouldn't work as a head coach more than trying to discuss how great of an opportunity it was -- especially for a minority coach at a time when it feels like the league is backsliding on the incremental progress it made in giving Black head coaches a seat at the table.
That hot seat discussion around Bowles has only intensified over the last year, and he's been an easy target for that kind of fodder this offseason.
Buccaneers Rumors: Todd Bowles is 'a coordinator, not a head guy'
The job security of Todd Bowles came up in a recent discussion between former NFL scout Matt Williamson and NFL reporter Brian Peacock on their Peacock and Williamson podcast, and the outlook according to them isn't great.
"I think this might be the hottest of seats," Williamson said. "Because I thought there was a 50 percent chance he came back at all this year. They moved on from Leftwich, Brady retired, it seemed like an easy offseason to transition and they didn't."
More than that, Williamson went so far as to say that Bowles isn't head coach material, caveating that by saying he does think he's a great defensive coordinator.
"I'm rooting for Todd," Williams said, explaining he has deep ties with the Bucs head coach dating back to their tie in Cleveland. "I fear he's a coordinator and not a head guy, and a really good coordinator."
There's a certain degree of coding in there, especially in the context of how Black coaches in the NFL are seen as assistants and not head coaches. Bowles did have his greatest success as a coordinator, orchestrating the second greatest defense in Buccaneers franchise history and winning a Super Bowl with it.
The fact of the matter is that Bowles has been counted out before he's had a real chance to make an impact. He deserves criticism for certain things that went wrong last year and has fallen on the sword for the failings of the offense. Stuff like not coaching out mistakes that guys like Donovan Smith were routinely making are marks against him, but he's only had a single year as a coach and was put in an almost impossible position.
Injuries to the offensive line in training camp, Tom Brady's split focus between the team and his marital issues, and the fatigue from full throttle chasing a Super Bowl two straight seasons are not Bowles fault yet they're being held against him when making the case that he's on the hot seat.
There's a certain element of truth to the idea that another bad season of Bucs football will force the team to make hard decisions. However, this is yet another example of the team being counted out and declared DOA before a single minute of regular season football has even been played.