Super Bowl roundtable: Which person with Arizona ties deserves a win?
Super Bowl LV features the face of the quarterback position versus its future. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Tom Brady and the Kansas City Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes lead offenses with creative play-callers and a diversity of weapons.
The defenses have their own star power and maybe don’t get enough credit for getting their teams to the final week of the NFL season.
Objectively, it’s a pretty appealing matchup from a football perspective and a narrative one.
But beyond all that, there’s intrigue from the perspective of us in Arizona. In fact, there are more than a handful of ties to the state and, especially, the Cardinals.
With that, we asked our show hosts, reporters and editors this:
Which person with Arizona ties do you most want to see win Super Bowl LV?
Doug Franz, co-host of Doug & Wolf: Truly, I’m rooting for the Chiefs because that fan base is incredible, but to specifically answer the question; Todd Bowles. I think he’s a fantastic coach and an even better man. If the Bucs win, I would assume it has a lot to do with the Tampa Bay defense, which will show how good a coach he is so he can earn another head-coaching job.
John Gambadoro, co-host of Burns & Gambo: The Honey Badger, Kansas City defensive back Tyrann Mathieu. Got to know him a little bit while he was here and he is just someone worth rooting for. A genuine good guy who has overcome a lot of obstacles in his life to get to where he is. He plays the game the right way and cares about winning above all. Sometimes you root for players, not teams, and in this case I will root for him.
Dave Burns, co-host of Burns & Gambo: It’s the easy answer, the cop-out answer, but it’s also the right answer. It’s Tampa Bay head coach Bruce Arians. I get that not every Cardinals fan is enamored with how it all went down. Bruce retired and unretired so quickly that it smacked of insincerity. I’ll confess to a healthy curiosity if the reasons for his retirement were exactly as they were explained to us. But that doesn’t change a couple of things for me. One, that he’s the best coach the Cards have ever employed. Two, If I’m being honest, I was kind of ready to see him leave. Things had run their course with him at the helm. Truth is, I liked him way too much to pick somebody other than him.
Kevin Zimmerman, ArizonaSports.com editor and reporter: Bruce Arians makes football fun. I appreciate all that as an enjoyer of the game. A lot of that is why his tenure leading the Cardinals made them must-watch television. That was something that, as someone who has been alive for three decades in Arizona to watch that franchise come a long way, impressed me. It’d be bittersweet for many Cardinals fans to watch him win the Super Bowl, I’m sure, but his football story is written for this. Relatedly, I’m also hopeful to watch B.A. celebrate with Gronk in the championship parade.
Vince Marotta, co-host of Bickley & Marotta: I’m rooting for a lot of them, but the easy answer for me is Bruce Arians. He’s a football lifer and it looked like his quest to win a Super Bowl as a head coach would end when he retired from coaching following the 2017 season. After a year off, he took the Tampa Bay job. I know there are still a lot of Cardinals fans who hold resentment toward B.A. for leaving when he did. It’s my belief from our weekly interviews with him that 2016 and 2017 really took their toll on Arians, both physically and mentally. I also believe the Cardinals wanted a fresh start after two stagnant non-winning seasons. I still find Arians to be a very good football coach (who has learned to delegate), an entertaining figure and a very nice man. I’m pulling for him, big time.
Luke Lapinski, host of The Rundown with Luke Lapinski: Bruce Arians. I’m really pretty sick of watching Tom Brady win Super Bowls, but Arians was such a memorable personality when he was here that I’m willing to tolerate Brady raising the Lombardi Trophy and looking around with that stunned look on his face like he’s never seen confetti before. That’s how much I respect the person Arians is and what he did when he was here. And I know I’m not alone on this.
Kellan Olson, ArizonaSports.com editor and reporter: To break away from what I’m guessing is a well-deserved trend of answers around Arians, I’m gonna go with Todd Bowles. The matchup between him and Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy is one of the best storylines of the game and in my opinion. It’ll be what swings it. If the Bucs win, it will likely be because of Bowles’ scheme limiting Patrick Mahomes enough. Bowles’ time as head coach of the New York Jets shouldn’t have him looked down upon — he’s one of the best defensive coordinators in football. That label for coordinators and position coaches turns into a shtick sometimes, but Bowles getting the best of the Chiefs’ offense for a championship would be on his resume forever. It would go beyond just a trendy thing to say, like it has been leading up to the game.
Tyler Drake, ArizonaSports.com editor and reporter: Bruce Arians is the obvious choice BUT I’m going to mix things up and say Todd Bowles. I feel like he has had quite the journey since leaving the Cardinals — mostly that Jets tenure — and it would be great to see him get over the top. Especially with Bruce Arians right there with him. He’s won it all as a player (Washington in Super Bowl XXII), now it’s time to win as a coach.