SUPER BOWL SOUNDS – FEBRUARY 1
By Leo Haggerty

OPENING NIGHT 

Below are the plethora of coaches and players that It’s Sports Magazine had a chance to talk with on Super Bowl LV Opening Night.  Enjoy.

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS COACHES

ISM : In the over 40 years that you’ve been in the National Football League, what’s the one thing that has changed the most?

Tom Moore, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Coach

Tom Moore : Obviously, the biggest thing is social media. That didn’t exist when I came into the league so that has just grown on and on and on.  The coverage and the television and the talk shows and the big newspapers and the supplemental newspapers.  They’re just constant.  24 hours and seven days a week coverage of the National Football League and that’s good.  That’s good and the way it should be and the way it’s meant to be.  It’s the greatest game going and I feel very privileged and very fortunate to have been able to get involved in it and stay involved in it as long as I have.  I was telling my that, you know, last Sunday, getting on that bus up in Green Bay, in the snow, to go to Lambeau Field to play in the NFC Championship game.  From a coaching and a player’s standpoint, that’s as good as it gets.  That’s fine and that’s what keeps me going.  I love the game.

ISM : When I saw Tristan Wirfs jump out of the pool, the main thing I look at when it comes to offensive lineman is he a knee bender.  That checked that box.  That checked the explosive box.  This kid was the best tackle coming out of college and I agree with you on that.  How did he last so long to get to the Bucs as the 4th tackle off the board and how happy are you with his performance after 19 games?

Joe Gilbert, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Coach

Joe Gilbert : First of all, I’m ecstatic about his performance.  I give credit to him as a person and his mom.  He’s a phenomenal kid.  If people got to know him, he’s a humble kid as anything.  I think being as grounded as he has, he came in here willing to learn.  He takes coaching.  We had to clean some stuff up and, without having an off season, there were some things we had to change in his stance.  Things that I kind of alluded to in pass pro. There were some issues he would have, that when we evaluated him coming out of college, that we would have to change.  He dove in.  There was no hesitation.  There was no I’m not going to do that.  He had bought in from Day 1.  That’s just him as a person.  I just think his performance overall, I believe, I go back and the kid gave up two sacks.  One straight up to Khalil Mack and another one on a game and that, to me, credits his performance.  We’re hard on him every week.  When he comes back we tell him these are the things you have to improve.  These are the things you’re still not doing well and he takes it in stride.  Kudos to him as far as that goes.  When you talk about his athletic ability and his explosion it continues.  He’s 335 pounds and our strength coaches talk about the things he does in the weight room are freakish.  That jumping out of the poll was no freak thing.  He still puts up numbers with explosive testing in the weight room throughout the season.  That will just blow your mind.  That size of a kid and, you know, we got one.  Thank god Jason and BA moved up a pick to get him.  It really solidified our right side at right tackle in this organization for a long time.

ISM : For the first time in NFL history, a team is going to play 20 games.  Tristan Wirfs has lined up for every snap.  For a veteran, that’s phenomenal.  For a rookie, that’s off the charts.  How important has that been for him and how important has it been for your offensive line to have been relatively healthy?

Harold Goodwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Coach

Harold Goodwin : It’s been awesome.  Kudos to Jason Light and to ownership.  Moving up to draft him was a blessing.  He’s done a great job.  A great student of the game.  He’s Iowa fed.  Corn fed through and through.  He’s done a great job of staying healthy too.  A good player.  Been great in protection and the run game and I hope he continues this Sunday.

ISM : In talking about your five wide receivers, they all have unique but different skill sets. When you and Byron put together a game plan, are you a little like mad scientists trying to put together positions groups and having a little fun with it? 

Kevin Garver, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Coach

Kevin Garver : I don’t know if I would call us mad scientists but, no, it is really fun.  It’s really fun when you have a lot of talented guys.  Guys with different abilities they bring to the table.  You think about all those things when you are game planning.  You think about putting guys in the right positions for what they do best.  One of the great things about my room is those guys can do a lot of different things.  It kind of makes our job a lot easier really when guys can do it all.

ISM : It looks like going against #10 in the other colored jersey is really a tough matchup.  The game plan the first time didn’t work real well.  Is there advantage knowing that you have to go to Plan B?

Kevin Ross, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Coach

Kevin Ross : Yes, I would say so.  He showed us what he can do and now we have to show him what we can do.  He’s a real good player, a special player.  No doubt about that.  It’s had to assimilate his speed.  Now that they know his speed, hopefully, we make the right adjustments to him.

ISM : Winfield makes a great play against the Saints and makes a great play then he’s hurt for the Packers game.  Next man up is ok but, when Whitehead makes a great play and get’s hurt, now it’s next men up.  Now you’re going with two backup safeties.  Did you, at times, kind of hold your breath? 

Nick Rapone, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Coach

Nick Rapone : I’m going to give you an honest answer.  When you coach for Bruce Arians he’s says coach ’em all.  Love ’em all and coach ’em all and that’s the philosophy that he’s always had.  When he says next man up, he means next man up.  So, when Mike Edwards had to start, Mike been playing good football.  You know, we’re fortunate to have Adams as a safety.  He’s played four years in the league and he’s intelligent.  So, no, no, no.  Not with the front that we have.  Not with the leadership that we have.  All that those guys got to do on the back end is just do their one eleventh of the defense.  I give credit to Bruce and I give credit to Todd.  Coach ’em all up and them ready to go.

ISM : Not to slight anybody, but how nice is it to see #50 lining up at defensive tackle again and how nice is it to have a guy like William Gholston who can play both inside and outside?

Kacy Rogers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Coach

Kacy Rodgers : The versatility of those guys and I’ll talk about Will first.  When I came back for preseason, the truth is that they were talking about trying to finish first again in rush defense like we did last year.  How were we going to do it playing Vita and Suh and I said don’t forget about Will Gholston.  Really, people don’t write a lot of stories but he’s really, really been an outstanding player for us.  He does a lot that goes unnoticed but he does a lot for us.  To have Vita back, to have a 6’4″ and 350 pound pound man in the middle of your defense that you build around.  The other guys filled in admirably and my hat goes off to them but it brought joy to my face to see #50 back out there.

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS PLAYERS

ISM : Not to slight any of your teammates but how nice was it to look in at the ball up in Green Bay and see #50 lined up there?

Ndamukong Suh, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Coach

Ndamukong Suh : It was great to have Vita back.  I share with him all the time that he’s a great player and he takes the double teams off of me.  That allows me to have one on one opportunities to make plays because your such a big, dominant guy.  If they don’t put two people on you it’s going to be a world of hurt.  A lot of fun and excitement having Vita back.

ISM : I asked Warren Sapp in San Diego before the Bucs won the Super Bowl to describe, in one word, what winning the Super Bowl would be.  What would be your one word and why?

Ndamukong Suh : My one word would be that winning the Super Bowl would be “elated” and I hope it happens this time. around.

ISM : When you look around that wide receivers room, there’s a lot of players with unique skills that can play a lot of different spots.  Have you ever been involved with that diverse a group before?  

Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Coach

Chris Godwin : No, honestly, I never been part of a group like this that has been as versatile and as talented as this group right here.  You said it perfectly. We have so many different guys that are capable of making big plays for us.  Also, they are different in their own right and that’s the beauty of it all.  There are so many guys that are unselfish and are willing to move around and are willing to set things up for other guys to make plays.  You watch guys reactions when other guys make plays.  It’s like if Mike’s wide open and the ball gets thrown to AB for a touchdown, Mike’s going to be the first guy in the end zone to celebrate with him.  That’s beautiful.

ISM : I asked Warren Sapp in San Diego before the Bucs won the Super Bowl to describe, in one word, what winning the Super Bowl would be.  What would be your one word and why?

Chris Godwin : I would say “history” and, if you win a Super Bowl, you’re cemented in history.  That’s something that no one can take from you.  Also, in this moment and in this Super Bowl playing at home, it would be the first time a team playing a Super Bowl  in its home stadium and, for us to actually win, that would be something that would make us very, very proud.

ISM : I asked Warren Sapp in San Diego before the Bucs won the Super Bowl to describe, in one word, what winning the Super Bowl would be.  What would be your one word and why?

Devin White, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Coach

Devin White : I never had to answer a question like this before.  One word to describe winning the Super Bowl.  I would say it would be “blessing” because, not every day, you get the opportunity to play in it let alone win it.  I always piggyback it back to Devonte.  Him being in the league eight years without even making it to the playoffs let alone get to the Super Bowl.  I mean, I just thank the man above for allowing me to be put in this situation to win the game and to thank him for my team to come out victorious.  I would say a blessing.  It’s a blessing just doing something I love but it would be a huge blessing to win.

ISM : I asked Warren Sapp in San Diego before the Bucs won the Super Bowl to describe, in one word, what winning the Super Bowl would be.  What would be your one word and why?

Shaq Barrett, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Coach

Shaq Barrett : It would be “legacy” because it would help to leave behind a legacy as to what type of player I was on the field.  What type of player I can still continue to be for the next coming years.  I know there’s a lot of guys who have been grinding who have been on the field for a long time without getting the respect that they deserve on this team and that’s going to be good.  To cement our legacies in history with a Super Bowl win.

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS PLAYERS

ISM : Most players don’t have a chance to even play in a Super Bowl let alone win one.  You have a chance to win consecutive Super Bowls.  What does that do for your legacy as well as the Chiefs?

Chris Jones, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Coach

Chris Jones : I think that the Chiefs have always been in the position of knocking at the door to get to the Super Bowl.  I think it does more justice for Coach Reid and his legacy.  If you look back, this has been the only time this has been done by Coach Reid.  Unfortunately, he couldn’t get over that hump in Philadelphia.  He came here and has been able to put a remarkable team together.  Not just to get us there once but we are competing for back to back championships.  I think it’s huge.

ISM : When I talked to Coach Reid during the season, he said it was almost as important as winning the Lombardi Trophy to win the Lamar Hunt Trophy, named after the former Chiefs owner, and hand it to his widow.  Did that resonate with you?

Chris Jones : 1000 %.  The Lamar Hunt Trophy is amazing.  It’s huge but we didn’t play and put these pieces together for just the Lamar Hunt Trophy.  I think the Lombardi trophy is the most ultimate trophy you can have and its, mainly, the reason I come to play the game.  To win and to win at the highest level.  I think the Lombardy Trophy is everything.

ISM : Most players don’t have a chance to even play in a Super Bowl let alone win one.  You have a chance to win consecutive Super Bowls.  What does that do for your legacy as well as the Chiefs?\

Tyronn Mathieu, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Coach

Tyronn Mathieu : I’m sure it would be great.  To be one of those teams that were able to do it, win back to back Super Bowls, I think it would be special.  Like I said earlier, you try not to put your hope in the outcome.  You just try your best and to work as hard as you can so you’re ready for whatever the outcome is.  There’s no doubt in my mind that would be special.  Last year was special.  Bringing that championship back to Kansas City, and to do it two times, I’m pretty sure that would leave a great legacy for the people of Kansas City and all the areas around it.

ISM : Most players don’t have a chance to even play in a Super Bowl let alone win one.  You have a chance to win consecutive Super Bowls.  What does that do for your legacy as well as the Chiefs?

Anthony Hitchens, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Coach

Anthony Hitchens : To be honest, for my legacy, I would look at that when I’m done playing.  I would look at my days during my career when I’m done.  For the Chiefs organization, it means a lot to win back to back.  To host three AFC Championship games and now to go to two back to back Super Bowls means a lot for this organization.  With this organization on board and Pat Mahomes under center you give yourself more opportunities to do this.  For my legacy, I would look at that and count up all the trophies and the championships and stats when I’m done.  Right now, I’m just trying to stay in the moment.  Not try to look look too far forward or backward but to stay in the moment.