Big questions behind Bruce Arians’ retiring as Tampa Bay coach in favor of Todd Bowles

Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians talks with quarterback Tom Brady.
Bruce Arians said he knew the Buccaneers would be in good shape when Tom Brady announced he was coming out of retirement.
(Mark LoMoglio / Associated Press)

Bruce Arians, two-time NFL coach of the year who led Tampa Bay to a Super Bowl victory in the 2020 season, is stepping down immediately as head coach of the Buccaneers. That prompts questions that Los Angeles Times NFL writer Sam Farmer can address:

Why is Arians stepping aside?

He turns 70 in October and contemplated retirement after winning the Super Bowl. He wants to hand the team over to his longtime defensive coordinator and friend Todd Bowles, and the Buccaneers have never been in better shape for a new coach.

Tom Brady just unretired, so how does he factor in?

Arians says he was more comfortable retiring after Brady’s decision to come back because the team is in such good hands. The Buccaneers are Super Bowl contenders.


Bruce Arians steps aside as head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers so Todd Bowles can take over. Bowles will become the NFL’s sixth active minority head coach.

March 30, 2022

Did Brady push out Arians?

Arians says no, and that Brady has been supportive of him. The coach does acknowledge that there was some friction: “I had conflicts with every player I coached because I cussed them all out, including him.”

Don’t the Buccaneers have to adhere to the Rooney Rule and interview multiple minority coaching candidates?

Not in this case because the interview window for head coaches closes after the start of the new league year. The Buccaneers sought clarification of their succession plan from the league. What’s more, Bowles, who is Black, will become the NFL’s sixth active minority head coach. The Buccaneers have had a record four head coaches who are Black. No other franchise has had more than two.

Is staff diversity a priority for Arians?

Always has been. He’s the first coach to have two female assistants on staff, and the Buccaneers are the only team with three coordinators who are Black. An NFL-high 11 members of Arians’ staff last season were Black.

Will Arians ride off into the sunset?

Not exactly. He will assume the role of senior consultant for football and plans to stick around for the draft and at least the upcoming season.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians had lots to say on Tom Brady and other topics in an exclusive interview the day after winning Super Bowl LV.

Feb. 9, 2021