Bruce Arians Gets Honest About Bucs’ Decisions: Report

Bruce Arians

Getty Bruce Arians isn't happy with the Bucs' changes.

Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians doesn’t like what he sees with the franchise he led to a Super Bowl win.

Arians, now the Bucs’ advisor to the general manager, stepped down last year from coaching, and the team handed the reins to longtime colleague Todd Bowles. Things didn’t go as planned under Bowles as the Bucs stumbled to an 8-10 overall record in the 2022 season with Arians’ staff and a similar roster to the Super Bowl year in 2020. The Bucs fired six assistant coaches after the season and another three retired.

Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reported that Arians is “extremely unhappy” about how things transpired. Stroud shared that and delved into Arians’ opinions during an appearance on WDAE, transcribed by

“Having had some interaction with him about it . . . he’s disappointed,” Stroud told WDAE. “You know, he’s disappointed. I guess that’s the biggest thing. You know, he wanted Todd to have this opportunity. He wanted to keep this staff together. He wanted these [coaching] families to be together.”

“Many of them have another year on their contracts. Many of them thought they would be here as long as Todd is the head coach, were told as much, and that’s not the case. And so he’s hurt by it. I don’t know if you’re going to see him around much next year,” Stroud added.

Results Didn’t Match Arians’ Vision

Arians cast a vision of succession and continuity in 2022 when he interviewed with NBC Sports’ Peter King amid the retirement announcement. Arians also expressed supreme confidence in Bowles, someone Arians coached with — and coached in college — over the past four decades.

“I control the narrative right now,” Arians told King. “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.”

The Bucs’ 2022 season turned out worse than 10-7 and Brady getting injured, and at least six of Arians’ former assistants will need to seek new jobs. Tampa Bay now faces arguably more transition than Arians ever imagined in his controlled narrative.

Arians’ Wife Sounds off on Social Media About Byron Leftwich’s Firing

While Arians hasn’t directly gone public about his thoughts on the season and coach moves, his wife, Christine, has on Twitter. She tweeted her thoughts when news of offensive coordinator Bryon Leftwich’s firing came out.

“Few things irritate more in NFL talk than when people talk about getting rid of a coach after getting their team to playoffs,” Christine Arians tweeted on January 18. “Please just stop — this job is difficult, it’s dependent on a lot of factors against [the] best in the world and we are so flippant with that.”

There were things that happened beyond the Bucs coaches’ control, to one degree or another, in 2022. That included key players leaving in the offseason, droves of injuries, and Brady’s off-field challenges.  The Bucs still squeaked into the playoffs with a division title, but the three other teams in the NFC South all had 7-10 records.

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