After leading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a Super Bowl win in the 2020 season, Bruce Arians stepped down from his head coaching role with the team after the 2021 season.
Todd Bowles was named the head coach of the Bucs for the 2022 season while Arians was reassigned to a special adviser role. The move was done with the hope of keeping some semblance of continuity.
But Tampa Bay ended up having a rather turbulent season and finished with a losing record. Despite still being able to win the division, the team decided to fire offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich and several other assistant coaches on the staff.
“I control the narrative right now,” Arians told Peter King of NBC Sports shortly after his decision to step down was made public. “I don’t control it next February because [if] Brady gets hurt, we go 10-7, and it’s an open interview for the job. … I got 31 [coaches and their] families that depend on me. My wife is big on not letting all those families down.”
Although Arians was not fired, many of those coaches who Arians referenced are now searching for other opportunities.
In addition to Leftwich’s termination, the Buccaneers also announced that specialists coach Chris Boniol, wide receivers coach Kevin Garver, offensive quality control coach Jeff Kastl, assistant defensive line coach Lori Locust and running backs coach Todd McNair were all fired.
Meanwhile, quarterbacks coach Clyde Christensen, senior offensive assistant Rick Christophel and outside linebackers coach Bob Sanders decided to retire from coaching in the NFL.
“We appreciate the hard work and contributions that all of these coaches made to our successes over the past four seasons,” Bowles said in a statement.
A report revealed that Arians was not fond of the decision to move on from the coaches.
“Not happy. Very unhappy. Extremely unhappy,” Bucs beat writer Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times said this week on WDAE radio via JoeBucsFan.com.
“Having had some interaction with him about it … he’s disappointed,” Stroud said. “You know, he’s disappointed. I guess that’s the biggest thing. You know, he wanted Todd to have this opportunity. He wanted to keep this staff together. He wanted these [coaching] families to be together. Many of them have another year on their contracts. Many of them thought they would be here as long as Todd is the head coach, were told as much, and that’s not the case. And so he’s hurt by it. I don’t know if you’re going to see him around much next year.”
The Buccaneers did not provide any insight on what Arians’ actual job entailed this past season. In doing so, conversations swirled that Arians may not have willingly left the sidelines and could have wanted to continue coaching.
Arians contract with the team expired at the conclusion of the season.
It is unclear if Arians will consider a head coaching job with a different team in 2023, return to Tampa Bay or lend his knowledge, experience and expertise to another franchise.