The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Pittsburgh Steelers will square off on Sunday in a matchup between two teams in very different situations.
Tampa Bay will have Tom Brady, a 23-year NFL veteran, under center, while Pittsburgh will have rookie Kenny Pickett at quarterback, making just his second NFL start.
The Steelers are looking to snap a four-game losing streak, while the Bucs will attempt to improve to 4-2 on the season.
There’s also the matchup of the two coaches, as Todd Bowles and Mike Tomlin face off on opposite sidelines.
Tomlin and Bowles are two of four Black head coaches in the NFL after Carolina Panthers defensive pass game coordinator Steve Wilks was named interim head coach on Monday, following the firing of Matt Rhule.
“I have a very good relationship with Tomlin,” Bowles said Thursday when asked about facing off against Tomlin. “We don’t look at what color we are when we coach against each other. We just know each other. I have a lot of very good White friends that coach in this league as well.
“And I don’t think it’s a big deal as far as us coaching against each other. I think it’s normal. Wilks got an opportunity to do a good job, hopefully he does it. And we coach ball. We don’t look at color.”
Bowles, who is in his first year as head coach in Tampa Bay after the retirement of Bruce Arians, was then asked whether he understood that “representation matters.”
“Well, when you say, ‘See you guys,’ and ‘Look like them and grew up like them,’ means that we’re oddballs to begin with,” Bowles said. “And I think the minute you guys stop making a big deal about it, everybody else will as well.”
Bowles is in his third stint as head coach after three years as Tampa Bay’s defensive coordinator.
Bowles was fired as head coach of the New York Jets in 2018 after four seasons in New York. Bowles went 24-40 as head coach of the Jets, failing to reach the playoffs.