NFL Offseason – Surprising news out of Tampa today as Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians has announced his retirement. Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles has been promoted to head coach. Peter King of NBC Sports had the news first.
Arians, 69, will stick with the Bucs as a “senior consultant for football.” He finishes with a 31-18 record in three years with Tampa Bay, including a Super Bowl win in 2020. His .633 winning percentage and five playoff wins are both franchise records. He had previously gone 49-30-1 in five years as head coach for Arizona (the 49 wins are also a franchise record) and 9-3 as an interim head coach with the Colts in 2012, filling in for Chuck Pagano, who was out with an illness.
“[Succession] has always been huge for me,” Arians tells King. “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, 58, has spent three years as Arians’ defensive coordinator in Tampa Bay after filling the same role for Arians in two years in Arizona. In between, he went 24-40 in four years as head coach of the New York Jets from 2015 to 2018. He also went 2-1 as interim coach with the Dolphins in 2011 after Tony Sparano was fired.
Bowles, who is Black, would become the sixth minority head coach in the league, joining Mike Tomlin (Pittsburgh), Ron Rivera (Washington), Robert Saleh (Jets), Mike McDaniel (Miami) and Lovie Smith (Houston). “It is customary for teams to follow the Rooney Rule in coach searches,” King writes, “mandating that at least two minority coaches be interviewed for every head-coach opening. Because this situation happened after the start of the league year in mid-March, and the NFL allows coaching interviews only after the regular season, it would have been precedent-setting for the league to allow coaching interviews now. The communication between the Bucs and the league on this issue is unknown, but the franchise feels comfortable enough after discussions with the league to confirm the Bowles hire.”