For the second time in a few years, Bruce Arians is retiring as head coach.
A mere few weeks after Tom Brady’s unretirement, the 69-year-old Arians has moved to the front office. Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles has received a promotion to his first head coaching gig since he was fired by the New York Jets in 2018.
You may recall that Arians called it a coaching career in 2017 when he was with the Arizona Cardinals, announced his retirement and then worked for CBS as a game analyst for one season before joining Tampa Bay in 2019. Turned out it worked in his favor because he did win a Super Bowl.
“I want to focus on what I can give back to this incredible game that has provided so much for me and my family,” Arians statement read in part. “I really began thinking about my personal transition plan earlier this offseason. I wanted to ensure when I walked away that Todd Bowles would have the best opportunity to succeed. So many head coaches come into situations where they are set up for failure, and I didn’t want that for Todd. Tom’s decision to come back, along with Jason and his staff doing another great job of keeping the core of this team intact during free agency, confirmed for me that it was the right time to pass the torch to Todd. I began conversations with Jason and the Glazer family a few weeks ago about a possible succession plan. Their understanding and support mean the world to me.
“Todd is a great football coach and I know he will do excellent things here with the Buccaneers. The coaching staff has been crucial to the success we have enjoyed here the past few seasons. Coaching is about teaching players, and this staff has some of the best teachers in the business.”
I thought this bit about having Bowles succeed him was pretty cool:
“Succession has always been huge for me,” Arians said to NBC Sports. “With the organization in probably the best shape it’s been in its history, with Tom Brady coming back … I’d rather see Todd in position to be successful and not have to take some [crappy] job. I’m probably retiring next year anyway, in February. So, I control the narrative right now. I don’t control it next February because [if] Brady gets hurt, we go 10-7, and it’s an open interview for the job … I got 31 [coaches and their] families that depend on me. My wife is big on not letting all those families down.”
Bowles is the only head coach post-Rex Ryan to lead the Jets to a winning season, although unfortunately 10-6 wasn’t good enough for a wild card spot in 2015. New York only won 14 more games total over his ensuing three seasons there, but now he gets the keys to a team with considerably more talent than the Jets have had in recent years. Oh yeah, and he has Tom Brady again after his five-second retirement.
The Seattle Seahawks play at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this season and indeed the whole of the NFC South. Believe it or not, the longest tenured head coach in the division is now Matt Rhule of the Carolina Panthers.