Todd “Big Balls” Bowles Addresses 4th-And-1 Call

September 11th, 2023

The Bucs put their faith in Matt Feiler and Baker Mayfield.

A cynic might say Todd Bowles put his career on the line yesterday in a 17-17 tie game with the Bucs having a 4th-and-1 at their own 32 yard line with 8 minutes left.

It’s why Joe, at least for this week, is very comfortable calling the head coach Todd “Big Balls” Bowles.

After Rachaad White failed on 3rd-and-1 up the gut, Bowles made the bold call.

Would Tampa Bay punt or go back to White, who had struggled all day? Hell no. Bowles turned to Baker Mayfield. The call was for Mayfield to keep the ball and hit the space behind left guard Matt Feiler shaded toward center Robert Hainsey.

Feiler got the job done (see the opening in the screenshot above) and Mayfield found the crease. It was close, but first down Buccaneers!

Bowles addressed his bold call in an exclusive interview with the Buccaneers Radio Network after the game. He said traveling all that way to Minnesota meant he absolutely had to play aggressively to win.

Joe took that as Bowles learning from the debacle in Cleveland last November, when Bowles took the ball out of Tom Brady’s hands on a potentially game-winning drive at the end of regulation.

At the time, Bowles said he was avoiding a possible interception to take his chances in overtime. Not only did the Bucs lose to a sad Browns team led by backup QB Jacoby Brissett, the Bucs lost Tristan Wirfs and Antoine Winfield to significant injuries suffered in that overtime.

If Bowles learned from that Cleveland nightmare and it showed up yesterday, then good for him.

Quality coaches grow from their failures and adapt.

That doesn’t mean Bowles would have been wrong to punt in his own territory yesterday, but instead he played to win. CBS analyst Matt Ryan, the former star quarterback, didn’t like the call but afterwards he said what many Bucs fans were thinking.

“I like it now.”

47 Responses to “Todd “Big Balls” Bowles Addresses 4th-And-1 Call”

  1. Joe in Michigan Says:

    But, but, but…What about HC Grover’s “Bowles Curse”? According to her, all of the world’s problems can be traced back to Coach Bowles, including football players getting hurt.

  2. Hodad Says:

    I’ll just shorten my nick name to “BB” Bowles! The best part of that call was a simple QB sneak. Why hand the ball backwards when you need less then a yard forward? Good call ” BB”. Now I’m waiting to see if Baker makes angry runs. It’s a good day to be a Buc fan.

  3. Mike C Says:

    Hodad, Wrong, It is a GREAT day to be a Buc fan!

  4. Barbosa Says:

    I have the perfect song for coach Bowles: “Big Balls” ACDC

  5. Jeff’s grandpa Says:

    Isn’t that the truth joe in Michigan

  6. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I was shocked he went for it……totally out of character……I love Mayfield’s “want to”

  7. geno711 Says:


    1. NFC way better than AFC. NFC teams beat KC, NE, and Pitts over the weekend.
    2. Dallas defense better than the 85 Bears defense.
    3. Andy Reid can’t call a good game without his crutch Eric Bieniemy.
    4. Brandon Aiyuk will lead all WR in TD’s.
    5. Quarterbacks really don’t matter much in the NFL They played the same whether they made 40 million or 4 million.
    6. Todd Bowles is a quality head coach.

  8. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    Bowles shocked me with a few of his calls, in a good way!

  9. Statguy Says:

    Curious how much influence was Canales on this

  10. Smashsquatch Says:

    Baker’s moxie rubbing off on Todd’s balls! That and the 57 yd attempt has me thinking there’s hope with Bowles afterall. He’d been heading down the same path as Dungy prior to yesterday. Stubborness gets you fired, while adapting keeps you hired.

  11. Usfbuc Says:

    I was surprised like the rest of the world that we went for that 4th down. I was also surprised to see a video where Coach Bowles actually shows some emotion and animation in the locker room post game. Maybe he is a changed man this season.

  12. SB~LV Says:

    Going for the FG at that point in the game was a HUGE risk vs reward call and the risk side of the equation was MASSIVE

  13. SB~LV Says:

    Coach Prime has a turn over thrown
    Maybe the Bucs should have a big chain with a high set of brass balls they award in the post game locker room 😎

  14. Stanglassman Says:

    Todd learned from his experiences last year? Last year He was too conservative and relied too little on his offense and too much on his defense. He called the games too much not to lose. The 58 yard field goal attempt when it appeared that points were at a premium was playing it to win.

    I personally thought both of those spots were suspect. Especially that 3rd down spot.

  15. HC Grover Says:

    The Vikes suffered from The Bowles Curse. Hope it keeps working on the Bears. 🙂

  16. SufferingSince76 Says:

    It’s definitely promising, but let’s see how he does going forward. He’s been pretty stubborn in the past. Great win yesterday.

  17. Bojim Says:

    If we didn’t get the first, fans would’ve been all over him. If we didn’t make ir, I would’ve blamed the run game. Glad he made the call. Glad we made the 1st and best of all, we won!! Go Todd. Go Bucs!!

  18. TampaBayBucsFanSince1976 Says:

    Bucs D with some clean up of miscommunication in the secondary could be very very good. Izien is deserving of maximum snaps. White is just a nasty tackler with attitude. Attitude of team was far superior to last year. White is going to be RB2 soon. Number 41 is not a primary target in the passing game-memo to Baker. Bring on Da Bears.

  19. pewter941 Says:

    Rachad White ran -38 rushing yards over expectation per next gen stats.

  20. Defense Rules Says:

    Todd ‘Big Balls’ Bowles? Got a hunch Joe that’s NOT a nickname Todd wants to have hung on a chain around his neck.

    It does fit for yesterday though. Of course, any HC who makes a ballsy call and succeeds gets to be ‘The GOAT’ for a day. Make a ballsy call and it fails however, and everyone looks to you as the ScapeGOAT. Fame is such a fleeting beast.

    In any event, I agree totally with your bottom line Joe: ‘Quality coaches grow from their failures and adapt.’ We did a lot of adapting and growing yesterday, from a coaching perspective AND as a TEAM. Next up: the Bears.

  21. Irishmist Says:

    It strikes me that just about everyone on this team has something to prove. Mayfield needs to prove he can be an effective starter. White and Evans need to prove that they deserve to get paid. Wirfs needs to prove that he can be as good a left tackle as he was on the right. Mauch and Goedeke need to prove they can start and be effective. All the young guys like Izen, Palmer and Tucker need to prove that they are better than projected. Even the coaches have something to prove; Canales that he can be an effective play caller, and Bowles that he can be a winning head coach. That kind of mentality can take you far in the NFL. And it makes for fun football to watch.

  22. First Name Greatest Says:

    Bowles shocked me didn’t think he had it in him. I was bracing for another late comeback and letdown by the team.

    I love being wrong when it comes to the Bucs

  23. Cobraboy Says:

    Big Balls are meritorious when the plan works.

    Had Stiffarm Baker failed to get the first down, Bowle’s Big Balls would have been put on a pike as a dumb a$$ move.

  24. Bucswin Says:

    Irishmist Says^

    Great perspective. The ole chip on their shoulders. I agree. Wherever it takes to light that fire. Play with that edge. GO BUCS

  25. go dawgs Says:

    As a fan, i know its easy to say it was a great call.. For me, the bucs had all the momentum at that point, even though that drive stalled. I think it was a great call.

    I think the tucker kid should start? He big and fast.. Sorry to white and all his social media this summer. Tucker looked better and the fact he was in late in the game tells you something.

  26. Cobraboy Says:

    Complacency breeds mediocracy like 2022.

    Anger and paranoia breeds adrenalin actions.

    The most outstanding aspect of the win vs. the Vikes is 60 minutes of hardcore effort. I never saw anyone take a play off.

    After three years of “Tome somehow wins it”, these guys took it upon each individual to do their part.

    Refreshing and a positive vibe for the future. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen that kind if effort from this team.

  27. Cobraboy Says:

    I thought the running game was much better in the 4th qtr. than the first.

    Even short runs early wear guys down by the 4th.

    And the 4th qtr. is where it matters most.

  28. Wild Bill Says:

    If it had gone the other way and lost the game Bowles would be tarred and feathered today. Smart move? Only if it worked. Could have lost the game, but a happy result for a huge gamble. Bowles grew a pair with that call.

  29. Boss Says:

    Todd Bowls surprised me in a good way. 57 yrd kick, timely timeout, going for it on 4th. who is this guy?

    Mayfield scared me the 1st 1/2. Let’s hope we do not see that side of him again. Looked solid in 2nd 1/2

    ME. dropped not one, but 2 touchdown passes. Can this guy do anything but run upfield 10 yards and turn around? trade him.

    CG does what CG does

    White- I was unmimpressed. not a lot of vision for holes. The 2nd RB was better

    The D was stout…. BUT


    they were stacking the line big time. Another team will take this secondary apart after film study. the seams were wide open.

    overall though…having crow with breakfast. tastes good!

    Our new nickel looked great IMO. some rookie stumbles but solid!

  30. Mike C Says:

    What a big win for the psychology of the Head Coach, OC, and QB, wins like this change the whole dynamic of the season.

  31. Dlavid Says:

    Dam good call !!! Our bunch watching the game were hollering at the TV to punch it over the line !! Bowles called a good game yesterday ! He surprised us pleasantly ! Fire the cannons !!

  32. Bucnjim Says:

    Surprised there is still a lot of negativity especially after a big win. This was as tough a game I’ve seen the Bucs play in a while. On the road against a 13-3 team expected to win the division. Not to mention it was so loud that all they could use is hand signals to call the plays. Are there things that need to be cleaned up of course it was week one with literally no preseason reps. This was an excellent start to the season though that even fans on here were calling for 4 wins.

  33. ModHairKen Says:

    Paralysis by overanalysis for all of these what if’s. There were so many key players and key moments.

    No, the Offense was not perfect. Mayfield looked anxious and hyper the first half. The OL was not good. But, the last drive of the 1st half and 1st drive of the 2nd half were great. Mayfield took a hit and got the first down. Not perfect pad to Godwin, but it got the job done.

    Devin White. Best game as a Buc. Winfield, hair on fire. Davis, long arms at tight time. Dean? Did not hear his name, which means he played great.

    The K? The Punter?

    And a guy with a medical problem came in as an undrafted rookie and showed real heart and promise.

    It is a great day to be a Buc fan.

  34. Fansince76 Says:

    It was too close and that was because Hainsey did not really get his job done.
    he made barely just enough of a block. Run blocking from the center position is a concern of I have going forward. Lets hope Hainsey improves that.

  35. H-Town Darryl Says:

    Speaking of Matt Ryan….I thought he did pretty good yesterday in his television debut.

  36. orlbucfan Says:

    Getting out from under both Arians’ and Brady’s shadows certainly had an effect on Bowles’ mindset. I sure hope it continues! 🙂

  37. Infomeplease Says:

    Good to see TB growing as a HC! About time!! Playing to win instead of playing not to lose!!! Having faith in your player’s abilities (57 yard fg, the 4th and 1) instead of taking them off the field (TB12 last season)! This could be the start of something great! Refreshing!!

  38. HC Grover Says:

    El Testaculos Grande

  39. HC Grover Says:

    Grandes Bolas , Tengo Pelotas Grandes HC/DC

  40. Buckeyebuckchuck Says:

    Not sure anybody appreciates Bowles having to deal with Brady. Changing the gameplan with secret meetings? WTH is that? And you cant call him out because ownership is in his pocket? Maybe there’s a reason never saw him talking to TB12 on the sidelines.

  41. Erik The Viking Says:

    The call was very stupid, but ballsy. Aggression must be tempered with focus and execution. In this occasion, we executed. But that was a dumb decision that just happened to work out. Easily could have spelled doom. In the end, Bowels will crap the bed. At least for one week we can enjoy the spoils of war. LFG!!!

  42. Beej Says:

    Ballsous Incrediblous

  43. AMI_Chris Says:

    If Bowles flames out as a head coach, he’ll get hired as a DC by someone. His career will be fine.

  44. SlyPirate Says:


    Baker didn’t make the 1st down. He’s just too small (compared to the OL) to see in a review. That said, the first down kind of made up for the BS TD pass interference call on the other end.

  45. JD Still Says:

    So Coach Bowles got a taste of the Biscuit, I hope he acquires the taste permanently! As Teddy Rosevelt said,” If he fails , at least he fails while daring greatly , so his place will never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat”.

  46. Citrus County Says:

    WWE has Triple H. Do we now have Triple B ?

  47. Buccos Says:

    How about 3B or Triple B for short