Bruce Arians said on Thursday he had always dreamed of handing a member of his team a head coaching job and that reports of friction between him and Tom Brady “couldn’t be further from the truth”.
Arians, who will move into the front office of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this season as defensive coordinator Todd Bowles takes over as head coach, also said his family played a big role in his decision and that there was “no better time than now” to make the move.
“A number of people have already asked, ‘Why are you giving up a chance to go to the Hall of Fame and win another Super Bowl?’ Because I don’t give a damn about the Hall of Fame,” Arians said during Thursday’s press conference. “Succession is very important to me. It’s been my dream for a long time. The guys who know me, they knew I wanted one of my guys to take over.”
He said he started thinking about quitting as Buccaneers head coach after the season, but it wasn’t the right time. He said once Brady announced he was ending his brief retirement to return to the Bucs, the decision was easy and there was “no better time to pass the torch than now.”
Brady attended Thursday’s press conference and was seated in the front row. Arians said he had a “great relationship” with the team’s star quarterback.
“All the players – there are a few here – every single one of them was insulted. Including him,” Arians said, pointing to Brady. “It’s part of me. It’s nothing new. We have a great relationship. … People have to write s—. That couldn’t be further from the truth.”
The Arians went 31-18 (.633) in three seasons with Tampa Bay, the highest winning percentage of any coach in Buccaneers history, and led the team to victory in Super Bowl LV after the 2020 season. He won five playoff games with the Bucs; former Tampa Bay coaches have won six combined. The Buccaneers announced Thursday that the Arians will be added to the team’s Ring of Honor this season.
This will be Bowles’ second head coaching job and Arians called Bowles’ second chance “long overdue”. Bowles, 58, was previously the head coach of the New York Jets from 2015 to 2018, when he went 24-40. He was also the interim coach of the Miami Dolphins in 2011.
Usually when people get fired they blame everyone else. The first thing I did was look within,” Bowles said when asked what he learned from his time coaching the Jets. “There are a lot of things I can do better.
Bowles said he was looking forward to having Brady as a quarterback, a luxury he didn’t have with the Jets when he had to face him twice a season when Brady was with the Nova Scotia Patriots. England.
“I think the guy’s world. I think we’re more alike than you can ever know,” he said.
As for Arians’ succession, Bowles said “I’m just going to be me. I can’t be him,” but said he plans to take advice from Arians as well as advice from other coaches in his team.
He added: “When I started in New York, you try to do things the right way and you don’t do it your way, you end up having regrets. So I’m going to do it my way. “
Bowles said Thursday that Larry Foote and Kacy Rodgers will be the Bucs’ defensive co-coordinators this season. Bowles, however, will continue to call defensive plays this season.
ESPN’s Jenna Laine contributed to this report.