Bruce Arians: ‘I Couldn’t Guarantee Who Would Get the Job’

Bruce Arians

Getty Bruce Arians explains his reason why he stayed on after Super Bowl LV instead of retiring.

Ex-Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians says he didn’t see the opportunity he was looking for after Super Bowl LV when he considered retirement.

“Yeah, and I couldn’t,” Arians said according to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. “I couldn’t guarantee who would get the job. I thought I’d guaranteed it in Arizona [when he retired after the 2018 season], and it didn’t happen and five guys didn’t have jobs. This way, I guaranteed 31 families were taken care of. That was big for me — and her [Christine Arians].”

Arians stepped down as head coach on March 30 amid rumors of discord with quarterback Tom Brady, who unretired March 17. Bucs defensive coordinator Todd Bowles took over for Arians, who now has a front office role with the team.

Arians has been adamant about the rumors being false, and showed off a gift from Brady at the Arians Family Foundation on Sunday, April 24. Brady, who received the  Laureus Lifetime Achievement Award that night, couldn’t attend Arians’ event. Arians’ the foundation supports children in need of out-of-home placement due to abuse or neglect.

Tom Brady Bruce Arians

GettyTom Brady and Bruce Arians converse during a 2021 game.

“Tom just sent me a picture [Sunday]. He got a present for me,” Arians said . “It’s a $50,000 watch. He says he’s bringing it to me. Who does that if we hate each other? As soon as he’s back in town, we’ll play golf.”

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Arians: ‘It’s Never Going to Go Away’

Arians told the media on March 31 that he originally wanted to help the Bucs reload after Brady’s Feb. 1 retirement announcement. The Bucs also faced the possible departure of offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich and Bowles, the former defensive coordinator, for head coaching jobs elsewhere.

With Brady’s March 13 unretirement and Leftwich and Bowles staying on board, Arians’ focus shifted. Arians stepped down 17 days later for Bowles to take over as head coach with the Bucs in the “best shape” ever as Arians described for NBC Sports’ Peter King. Brady shared a tribute to Arians on Instagram and attended his March 31 retirement press conference. The rumored rift narrative spun anyway.

“It’s never going to go away, no matter what anyone says,” Arians said via Stroud. “It’s a national narrative that they think they know, but they don’t.”


Passing the Torch Happened Before

A Super Bowl-winning head coach handing over his job to an assistant has happened before, too. Former Bucs head coach Tony Dungy did it in Indianapolis in 2008 when he retired from coaching. Dungy handed the reins to Jim Caldwell, who once coached quarterbacks under Dungy in Tampa Bay.

It worked well for the Colts, which reached Super Bowl XLIV before falling to New Orleans. Caldwell called Arians handing the keys to Bowles a “great” move for the Bucs.

Tony Dungy

GettyTon Dungy, who entered the Buccaneers Ring of Honor in 2018, passed the coaching torch in Indianapolis, similar to Bruce Arians.

“Without question, it was great that Bruce was able to get one of the guys on his staff to take over after he stepped down,” Caldwell said according to Stroud. “That’s because he has a number of good people that were very capable and obviously Todd had experience being a head coach in the NFL. So I think that was a natural choice.”

“Oftentimes you find guys who have been in that position before. I had been a head coach in college, so I’d been there and having had a sense of who I was and my relationship style and all that kind of stuff, that helps you in that journey because oftentimes you find guys are searching for that. They may have a pretty good team but they’re searching for who they are and how they lead and those kinds of things. It can become a little tricky.”

READ NEXT: Tom Brady Reveals Inner Conflict on Latest ‘Man in the Arena’ Episode

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