Bruce Arians moves to front office; Buccaneers name Todd Bowles head coach

Super Bowl-winning head coach Bruce Arians will be transitioning from his coaching duties to a role in the Buccaneers’ front office as Senior Football Consultant, advising General Manager Jason Licht, the team announced Wednesday.

In addition, the team named defensive coordinator Todd Bowles as the franchise’s new head coach.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Buccaneers are doing away with the remaining two years on Bowles’ defensive coordinator contract and are giving him a new five-year deal.

Bowles takes over the Buccaneers following a three-year stint as the team’s defensive coordinator, where he transformed the unit into one of the most productive, opportunistic defenses in the NFL.

“I am appreciative of the Glazer family and Jason Licht for having faith in me to take on this role, and to Coach Arians for his support and guidance over the past four decades.” Bowles said via a statement from the team. “Tampa has become home for my family, and we are excited to remain part of this community for years to come. As an organization, we have all the pieces in place to continue the winning standard that has been established here in recent years. I am eager to get started with our players, coaching staff, and front office in preparation for the 2022 season.”

The 58-year-old Bowles joined the Buccaneers after spending the previous four seasons as the head coach of the New York Jets (2015-18). Under Bowles, the Jets posted one of the best run defenses in the NFL, holding teams to just 4.00 yards per carry, the sixth-lowest figure in the NFL during that span, and allowing only 44 rushing touchdowns, tied for the eighth-fewest in that timeframe. Bowles’ Jets defense also allowed opposing offenses to convert only 36.0 percent of third downs, the fourth-lowest mark in the league. Opposing passers completed just 60.6 percent of their passes against the Jets under Bowles, the third-lowest mark in the NFL.

Arians, 69, concludes a 46-year coaching career, including his last nine leading NFL franchises. With the Buccaneers from 2019-2021, Arians amassed a 31-18 (.633) regular season record and a 5-1 (.833) postseason record, including a victory in Super Bowl LV following the 2020 season. In 2021, he directed Tampa Bay to its first NFC South division title since 2007 and victory in the Wild Card Round. The Buccaneers’ 36 combined regular season and postseason victories over the last three seasons are the fourth-most in the NFL.

He is a two-time Associated Press NFL Coach of the Year, winning the award following the 2012 season with the Indianapolis Colts and the 2014 season with the Arizona Cardinals. Including his 9-3 record as interim head coach of Indianapolis in 2012, Arians’ .635 winning percentage (89-51-1) ranks eighth among coaches who have coached at least 100 games in the Super Bowl era.  Arians is Tampa Bay’s all-time leader in regular season and postseason winning percentage, while his .619 regular season winning percentage as head coach of the Arizona Cardinals is the best in that franchise’s history.

Here is a statement from Arians on his retirement:

“I have spent most of the last 50 years of my life on the sidelines as a football coach in one form or another. Today, I have made the decision to move from the sidelines into another role with the Buccaneers front office, assisting Jason Licht and his staff.

“I love football. I love the relationships, the strategy, the competition—everything. It has been one hell of a ride, but I know this is the right time for me to make this transition.

“So why now?

“The simple answer is that I have accomplished more than I ever dreamed I could during this incredible coaching journey. Winning Super Bowl LV at our home stadium, with my mom and family in attendance, was really the last item I wanted to check off my career bucket list. For me, this is about more than just trying to add more wins to my coaching record.

“This team is in a much better place than it was three years ago due to Jason’s great work and the Glazer family’s commitment to winning. Before you start thinking this is about my health, don’t. This is the best I have felt in many years and I’m looking forward to helping this team continue winning through my new role. 

“I want to focus on what I can give back to this incredible game that has provided so much for me and my family. I really began thinking about my personal transition plan earlier this offseason. I wanted to ensure when I walked away that Todd Bowles would have the best opportunity to succeed. So many head coaches come into situations where they are set up for failure, and I didn’t want that for Todd. Tom’s decision to come back, along with Jason and his staff doing another great job of keeping the core of this team intact during free agency, confirmed for me that it was the right time to pass the torch to Todd. I began conversations with Jason and the Glazer family a few weeks ago about a possible succession plan. Their understanding and support mean the world to me. 

“Todd is a great football coach and I know he will do excellent things here with the Buccaneers. The coaching staff has been crucial to the success we have enjoyed here the past few seasons. Coaching is about teaching players, and this staff has some of the best teachers in the business. 

“Professionally, I have been blessed to work for many great organizations. I’d like to thank Michael Bidwell for turning my dream of being an NFL head coach into a reality in 2013. I would especially like to acknowledge the entire Glazer family for bringing me to Tampa Bay in 2019 and providing all the support and vision a coach could ask for. None of this success would have been possible without their complete buy-in and backing.

“There are too many people who have played a part in my coaching career to mention them all now. To all of them, I say: Thank You. I could not have made it here without your support, hard work and belief in me.

“I can’t end this announcement without a nod to all of the players I have been fortunate to coach along the way. I have been part of some special teams and those are always composed of exceptional players who put the needs of the team before their own. They made me a better coach and a better leader.    

“Lastly, I want to thank the fans of Tampa Bay for their unwavering support over these past three years. Chris and I arrived here in 2019 and were blown away by their enthusiasm and passion. I am happy we got to share that Super Bowl season together and I look forward to contributing to even more championship moments with this special organization.”

Go Bucs!

BA

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