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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bruce Arians Steps Into New Role, Todd Bowles Taking Over as Bucs' Head Coach

Bruce Arians has elected to step aside from coaching and take on a new position with the Buccaneers and the team is promoting Defensive Coordinator Todd Bowles to head coach


A stunning succession plan is in motion at Tampa Bay Buccaneers headquarters.

On Wednesday evening, Bruce Arians informed his coaching staff and players that he is stepping aside as the Buccaneers' head coach and will take on a new role for the team as a Senior Football Consultant. The Buccaneers are promoting Defensive Coordinator Todd Bowles to the position of head coach.

"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," said Bowles. "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."

After speaking to the players and coaches, Arians released a statement explaining his decision and thanking the Glazer family and others in the organization for their support. Arians, who said the move was in no way prompted by health issues, had spent the past several weeks working with the Glazers and General Manager Jason Licht on a potential succession plan. It was paramount to Arians that he left Bowles in a position to succeed.

Here is Arians' statement from Wednesday in full:

"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 Bidwill 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"

Arians became the 12th head coach in franchise history when he was hired by the Buccaneers on January 7, 2019 after a brief one-year retirement. He had previously been the Arizona Cardinals Head Coach from 2013-17 and he left as the winningest coach in franchise history. In his three seasons at the helm of the Buccaneers, he guided the team to a 31-18-0 record in the regular season for a winning percentage of .632 that is easily the best among head coaches in team annals.

"When Bruce arrived in Tampa Bay three years ago, he spoke about establishing a winning culture and adding another Super Bowl championship for our community," said Owner/Co-Chairman Joel Glazer. "He delivered on both of those promises, and our family is deeply appreciative for all that he has accomplished during his time as our head coach. As impressive as his coaching accomplishments have been, his legacy will live on through the doors of opportunity that he has opened for minority coaches and women in football. We support Bruce's decision to transition from the sidelines and look forward to continuing to lean on his vast football knowledge and experience well into the future. On behalf of all Buccaneers fans, I would like to thank Bruce for all that he has done for this franchise and our community."

Arians' Buccaneers also went 5-1 in the postseason, highlighted by a magical four-game run to the Super Bowl LV championship at the end of the 2020 campaign. The Buccaneers won three straight road playoff games during that run before returning home to become the first team in NFL history to win a Super Bowl in its own stadium. The Buccaneers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs, 31-9, in Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium on February 7, 2021.

One of Arians' most impactful moves during his tenure as the Bucs' head coach was helping to bring quarterback Tom Brady to Tampa after 20 seasons and six championships with the New England Patriots. The Buccaneers have gone 29-10, including the postseason, in Brady's first two seasons under center; the 22-year veteran recently decided to return for the 2022 season after previously announcing in January that he would be stepping away from the game.

Arians' coaching career spans a half-century, beginning at his alma mater of Virginia Tech in 1972. His first head coaching job was at Temple from 1983-88, after which he then made the jump to the NFL as an assistant with the Kansas City Chiefs in 1989. He was later an offensive coordinator for Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Indianapolis and he earned a reputation as an outstanding developer of quarterbacks. In 2012, he began a second stint with the Colts as their offensive coordinator but was elevated to interim head coach for the team's final 12 games while Chuck Pagano was being treated for leukemia.

Arians was named the Associated Press NFL Coach of the Year after that incredible turnaround season in Indianapolis and then again in 2014 after guiding the Cardinals to an 11-5 record and their first playoff berth in five years. The following season, the Cardinals won a franchise-record 13 games and advanced to the NFC Championship Game for just the second time in team history.

Overall, Arians finishes his head coaching career with an 80-48-1 record (.624) in the regular season and a 6-3 mark in the postseason.

Bowles will get his second head coaching opportunity in the NFL. After spending two seasons (2013-14) with Arians in Arizona, he was hired as the New York Jets head coach in 2015. He led the Jets to a 10-6 record in his first season at the helm after New York had finished with a 4-12 mark the previous season. Overall, the Jets were 24-40 during his tenure.

The highly-respected Bowles has coordinated one of the NFL's most effective defenses over the past three seasons in Tampa, a unit that was instrumental to the team's Super Bowl run in 2020. During those three seasons, the Buccaneers allowed the fewest rushing yards in the NFL and the fifth-lowest yards-per-play average. The 2019-21 Buccaneers also produced the third-most takeaways in that span, scored the most points off turnovers and recorded the third-most sacks. In 2021, Tampa Bay allowed 20.8 yards per game, the fifth-lowest mark in the league.

During the 2020 postseason, the Buccaneers' faced down a murderer's row of quarterbacks from Drew Brees to Aaron Rodgers to Patrick Mahomes. In their four-game run, the Bucs allowed six touchdown passes and picked off seven passes while sacking opposing quarterbacks 10 times. Those three passers plus Washington's Taylor Heinicke combined for a 72.9 passer rating. In Super Bowl LV, the Buccaneers' defense became just the third one in Super Bowl history to hold its opponent without a touchdown.

Bowles, who played for Arians at Temple and later had an eight-year career as a player in the NFL, began his coaching career at Morehouse College in 1997. His first coaching job in the NFL came with the Jets, where he took over as defensive backs coach in 2000. He followed that with stops in Cleveland, Dallas and Miami, eventually serving as the Dolphins' assistant head coach. In 2011, he became Miami's interim head coach for the final three games after the dismissal of Tony Sparano. The Dolphins one two of his three games at the helm.

After one season with the Philadelphia Eagles, in which he switched during the season from secondary coach to interim defensive coordinator, Bowles joined Arians' new staff in Arizona. In his second year with the Cardinals he was named the Associated Press Assistant Coach of the Year.

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