Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bruce Arians and the Arians Family Foundation Celebrate Super Bowl for a Good Cause

Buccaneers Head Coach Bruce Arians was joined by some famous friends during a virtual event to raise money for his Arians Family Foundation Friday night.

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NFL Network host Rich Eisen kicked off the "Cocktails with the Arians" virtual happy event on Friday night talking about firsts.

"We've got a fun, two hour program to get you all already reminiscing about one of the greatest Super Bowl runs that we have seen in recent memory," began Eisen. "And that would be obviously the Tampa Bay Buccaneers winning Super Bowl 55, becoming the first team to ever win the Super Bowl in their own home stadium, and then celebrate in their own town, and then celebrate with boats, and then celebrate with one quarterback throwing the trophy from one boat to another boat. So, there's been a lot of firsts."

The virtual event with special guests was also a first for the Arians Family Foundation. Usually, the event consists of a full gala and dinner. With COVID-19 concerns, the Foundation pivoted and put on a wonderful evening that donors could attend from the comfort of their own homes.

Eisen was joined by "Bruce Arians," who really turned out to be comedian Frank Caliendo before the man himself got on the call. Caliendo did his now-infamous Arians impression to the delight of the real Arians and Eisen alike. Then it was defensive tackle Vita Vea and inside linebacker Devin White who joined their coach, followed by country music superstar Blake Shelton – who not only gave a special performance but reminisced about his friendship with Arians over the years. Shelton told the story of Arians and Arizona General Manager Steve Keim coming to "The Voice" set in Los Angeles with him that was one for the books. The presentation ended in a family affair as Eisen talked to Arians, his wife Christine and their son, Jake, who is the president of the foundation.

The money raised goes to help underprivileged children that are in the foster care system and in need of representation as they go through the court systems. That's where CASAs come in – Court Appointed Special Advocates – who learn all about each child and their circumstances, then help make the best decisions for them. The Arians Family Foundation provides resources and support to various CASA programs across the country, in places that not-so-coincidentally reflect major stops in Coach Arians' career, like two programs here in the Tampa Bay area, Maricopa County in Arizona, Kids' Voice in Indiana and Allegheny County CASA in Pittsburgh.

"You know, I always have felt like, I've done more good in the world doing that than anything else I've done," said Christine, who practiced family law after going through law school with two kids as a coach's wife early in the couple's marriage (she took and passed the bar in five different states as the family moved around). "I can't save every child, but I can make every child's life better. You can make sure that home is a home where they can thrive and be happy. And it's hard, hard work. [But] it's so rewarding. It's just hard to express how rewarding it is."

"I always said, baby, what you're doing is way more important than football," said Arians of his wife's efforts with CASA. "I mean, it doesn't come close. Winning a Super Bowl is nice, but to change 10 children's lives is way bigger, and to be able to just do what we're doing and affect children in a very positive way – it's so special."

Through the Foundation, the family has now helped thousands of children in all those aforementioned cities. But you don't have to be a family lawyer licensed in five different states to become a CASA. Volunteers are trained through the CASA program and it only takes a few hours per month. If you can donate or if you want to volunteer yourself, more information is available at AriansFamilyFoundation.org.

Of course, happy hour with Arians and his infamous glass of Crown Royal, would not be complete without some football talk – of which, there was plenty.

"It took so long to sink in," Arians said of the Bucs' incredible (and dominating) win over the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV. "You know the after party was great. But I've been to a lot of parties and we're coming down the river, and the parade. I'm holding Lombardi Trophy. And, for whatever reason, I looked at Jason Licht, and just, man, had a moment like holy sh-- we did this, and I've got the Lombardi Trophy – I didn't throw it to another boat thank God, but I looked at Jason and I sat back, I had tears in my eyes and swelled up a little bit and said, 'Wow, this is real. This isn't a dream,' and that's when it really hit me."

View photos from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Super Bowl LV championship parade from February 10, 2021.

And so did a Gatorade cooler filled with ice water that Vea dumped on Arians after the parade, for that matter. He's still in the doghouse for that one, according to Arians on Friday night as Vea sat there smiling. Eisen brought up someone else who had fun at the parade, too: quarterback Tom Brady, who let loose on his own boat and yes, tossed the Lombardi trophy to an entirely different boat into the sure and waiting hands of tight end Cameron Brate. When asked if they would razz their quarterback going forward, both White and Vea shook their heads, pointing to everything Brady did to get them there and that he deserved to celebrate.

"If anything, I want him to have that feeling again," said White.

Vea then revealed he had been at the facility earlier that day where he found out inside linebacker and defensive captain Lavonte David had already been coming in to work out every day.

"We got a quick little turnaround," said Vea. "Everyone else ended in the beginning of January, so they got what? Two months on us."

That's dedication and it certainly made their coach proud.

"These are to the best young players in the National Football League," said Arians of Vea and White. "But they're even better human beings. I mean I love coaching these guys and they bring all the best of what it takes in the National Football League to be successful. They work. They do not beat their chest. They are humble and great, great players and I've been around a lot of great players and these are two of the greatest I've been around."