Sunday’s game for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers against the Carolina Panthers is big, but not just because of the action that will take place on the field as they try to land the NFC South division. The Bucs will also honor Bruce Arians as they include him in the ring of honor for his work as head coach from 2019-2021.
In that time, Arians led the team to a 31-18 record in the regular season with a 5-1 record in the playoffs. This was clearly emphasized by the team 2020 Super Bowl win against the Kansas City Chiefs at Raymond James Stadium.
Arians linked two eras of Bucs football, one marked by quarterback Jameis Winston’s ups and downs, with the culture change that comes with bringing in Tom Brady. Together with Brady in 2020 and 2021, they experienced two unforgettable seasons together. While still serving as a senior football consultant, his legacy will be for what he did to lead the Bucs to the “X” on every team’s NFL treasure map: the Lombardi Trophy.
Bucs HC Bowles: “He’s a great man”
Todd Bowles, Arians’ successor as head coach, spoke on Wednesday about what Sunday’s induction means for the impact he had on the organization.
“Bruce came in — he’s very confident, understands exactly what he wants to do, how to do it, what to do,” Bowles said. “He doesn’t have to think much – he’s been in this game for a long time. He learned a lot of things along the way, he gave a lot of advice along the way.
“His attitude and his personality in the building – even in the city – made everything comfortable when we first came in here. He brought in guys he trusts, gave them complete control over what they do. [He] gives you a lot of confidence and can get in your face at the same time. He brought the Kangol hat back here, so he has his own style and he does things his own way – I think that’s impressive.”
Arians trusted Bowles enough to first give him a defensive coordinator role when he was hired in 2019. He would subsequently hand him the head coaching reins after he stepped down in late March prior to this season. While Bowles’ tenure is still being determined, there is no doubt that Arians has put pressure on him and the team in such a short amount of time. This mark will be immortalized in the stadium on Sunday.
“I think it’s excellent – he’s a legendary coach, he’s been at it for a long time. [He has] lots of awards – there really aren’t many more, or much more [meaningful] accolades than getting your name on a stadium. It means you did a great job as a coach – that’s very rare.
Overall, Arians achieved an 80-48-1 record as an NFL head coach and won AP NFL Coach of the year awards in 2012 as an interim coach with the Indianapolis Colts and in 2014 with the Arizona Cardinals. More than wins and losses and awards, Arians left a lasting mark on the Bucs for the diversity he brought to the organization, including a staff that included many minority coaches.
Bowles best summed up Arians when concluding his remarks:
“He’s a great man.”
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