On Saturday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers interviewed former Arizona Cardinals Head Coach Bruce Arians for their head coaching vacancy. Arians is the third candidate to be interviewed by General Manager Jason Licht, who is conducting the search for the franchise’s 12th head coach.
Licht met with Arians in Tampa after previously interviewing Kansas City Chiefs Offensive Coordinator Eric Bieniemy in Kansas City on Wednesday and Minnesota Vikings Defensive Coordinator George Edwards yesterday. Arians is the first former NFL head coach to be interviewed, having coached the Arizona Cardinals from 2013-17 before electing to retire. He spent the last year as a broadcaster for CBS, calling NFL games with former NFL quarterback Trent Green and Greg Gumbel.
With the Cardinals, Arians overlapped with Bucs’ General Manager Jason Licht in 2013 while Licht was the team’s director of player personnel. Arians compiled a 49-30-1 record as the Cardinals head coach and also had a 9-3 mark as an interim head coach with the Indianapolis Colts in 2012, when he took over after Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia. His finish earned Arians his first AP Coach of the Year honor, the first interim head coach to win the award. During his first year with the Cardinals in 2013, the team went 10-6 after finishing 5-11 the previous year. The following season, the Cardinals earned their first playoff berth in four seasons but fell in the Wild Card round after late-season injuries to starting quarterback Carson Palmer and backup Drew Stanton.
Arians' 2015 Cardinals team subsequently went 13-3, winning the NFC West and advancing to the NFC Championship, where they ultimately fell to the Carolina Panthers. The conclusion of the season, however, would see Arians again named AP Coach of the Year.
Including Arizona, Arians spent a collective 25 years coaching in the NFL. As an assistant, he won the Super Bowl twice while on staff with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He served as the team’s wide receivers coach from 2004-2006 before being promoted to offensive coordinator in 2007, a post he would hold for five years.
Arians has had stops all over the NFL, beginning with the Kansas City Chiefs in 1989. He joined the New Orleans Saints as their tight ends coach in 1996, the Cleveland Browns as their offensive coordinator from 2001 to 2003 and Indianapolis Colts, first in 1998 as the quarterbacks coach working with Peyton Manning, then again in 2012 as the offensive coordinator before taking over as interim head coach. Arians went 9-3 and the Colts finished second in the AFC South, propelling Arians to his first NFL head coaching job the next year with the Cardinals.
Arians’ collegiate coaching career started in 1975 at Virginia Tech, where he was a graduate assistant after playing quarterback for the Hokies. Arians also held assistant positions at Mississippi State (1978-1980, 1993-1995) and Alabama (1981-1982) before he got his first head coaching gig at Temple (1983-1988). He was the offensive coordinator at both Mississippi State (1993-1995) and Alabama (1997) as he made his way in and out of the NFL.