Buccaneers’ Arians: “Had Tom Not Come Back, I Probably Would Still Be Coaching”


The offseason for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was a bit odd to say the least. Their starting quarterback Tom Brady retired shortly after their playoff loss to the eventual champion Los Angeles Rams. Brady then came out of retirement less than six weeks later. Shortly thereafter, Bruce Arians announced he was stepping down as head coach. He would transition to a front office post while the Bucs named Todd Bowles as their new head coach.

Arians recently spoke with Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times about Brady’s return and him stepping aside.


“I was going the other way. I was thinking he wasn’t going to play,” Arians stated. “I was thinking about who are we going to get? Who wants to trade? There wasn’t anybody to draft. That was obvious. Me, to the public, I was fine with the two we had: Blaine (Gabbert) and Kyle (Trask). Because I’ve seen Blaine win with a good team behind him. Had Tom not come back, I probably would still be coaching. I couldn’t give Todd that situation.”

Arians has previously remarked that he would rather leave Bowles in a favorable circumstance to begin his second stint as a head coach. Apparently in Arians’ mind leaving Bowles with Blaine Gabbert and Kyle Trask as his quarterback options wasn’t conducive to success

Arians also added, “It was 90 percent that (this) year would be my last, anyway,” Arians said. “Seventy was going to be it.” The “seventy” reference was to Arians turning 70 years old this October.

It’s important to consider context and tone of Arians’ comments. This doesn’t appear to be said with any animosity but more as just telling his side of the story. Arians has talked about his vision of succession at length, recently saying,

“A number of people have already asked, why are you stepping away from a chance to go to the Hall of Fame and win another Super Bowl?” Arians said. “Because I don’t give a s— about the Hall of Fame. Succession is way more important to me. This has been my dream for a long time. Guys that know me, they knew I wanted one of my guys to take over. And that’s more important to me than anything, and have a place that I could go and be welcomed back. And obviously, I have a job now and the title’s pretty good. We’ll figure out what the hell it means, but it’s pretty damn good. And I get to stay and have the relationships that I love, and I couldn’t turn it over to a better person. We’ve been together, I’d hate to say how many years, age both of us. Todd’s going to do a great job.”

When Brady announced his return, Arians saw that as the best scenario for Bowles to take the reigns. Having the greatest player ever to play the most important position is definitely being set-up for success. And that at the end of the day that’s all Arians really wanted.

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