When Bruce Arians stepped down as Buccaneers head coach many thought this was a decision made in haste. The narrative was Tom Brady leveraged him out. That narrative has been dismissed by Arians himself.
Now reports are that the players learned of Arians’ stepping down via group text from Arians himself. Then reports surfaced that the coaches found out just an hour or so before the announcement.
So Brady Knew?
Per Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times, Tom Brady was informed of Arians stepping down the day of or day after Brady announced his “un-retirement”. So Brady, unlike the coaches and players knew about Arians stepping down nearly three weeks before the announcement.
#Bucs QB Tom Brady was informed Bruce Arians planned to step down and Todd Bowles would succeed him as head coach either the same day or a day after the QB announced he was ending his retirement, the @TB_Times has learned. Team insists it was not related to Brady’s decision.
— Rick Stroud (@NFLSTROUD) March 31, 2022
“He’s got such loyalty to his assistants,” Licht said on Saturday morning. “He wanted to promote one of his assistants to head coach, in this case Todd [Bowles]—and he thinks the world, and we all do, of Byron [Leftwich]. And we’re all very confident Byron’s gonna be a head coach, maybe next year. But we started talking about that, If Tom doesn’t come back, Arians said, I’m not gonna leave you high and dry. I’m gonna help you weather this storm with whoever the quarterback’s gonna be.”
Licht continued, “Out of loyalty, of course, but he also wanted to make sure his coaches had a chance. And I know that he was probably thinking if we won six, seven games, we would probably open the search up next year—no guarantees.” Licht continued, “And I think at that point, he called Tom, and I talked to ownership and let them know what he was planning on doing.”
The Buccaneers are on record saying Brady’s decision had nothing to do with Arians stepping down. Coincidence or conspiracy, the Florio’s of the world still lean on the conspiracy side. This is in spite of all the other reports stating the opposite.
Brady released a statement shortly after the Arians announcement. His statement had nothing but praise for Arians, even mentioning how Arians was a key factor to Brady signing with the team originally.
“Thank you, BA for all that you’ve done for me and our team. You are an incredible man and coach, and it was a privilege to play for you. You are a true NFL legend and pioneer for all the work you have done to make the league more diverse and inclusive. You were a huge part of the decision to join the Bucs and I’m forever grateful.”
Last week the Buccaneers held the press conference to introduce Todd Bowles as the new head coach of the Buccaneers. Bruce Arians was obviously in attendance, so was Brady, in the front row.
So What Does It All Mean?
Do these reports from Stroud and Breer give credence to the Florio conspiracy reports? Let’s not go that far, but it does make you think. Would the Buccaneers force out Arians at Brady’s request just to have Brady for one more year? That seems unlikely, even if it meant securing the GOAT for one more year.
But maybe it’s just as simple as Arians wanting to control the narrative. Maybe Arians wanted to make sure he had a say in his successor. According to Arians, that’s exactly what happened.
“Succession has always been huge for me,” Arians stated. “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.”
We may never know the entire story of how this actually played out. We do know the team, the coach and the player have dismissed or shown no signs that the Florio conspiracy is legitimate. But Florio stands behind his report and the rumors continue.
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