When Bruce Arians stepped down as Buccaneers coach in the offseason and into the front office, the idea was to keep continuity by promoting defensive coordinator Todd Bowles to the head job with much of the rest of the staff remaining in place.
Less than a year later, Tampa Bay has now fired nine coaches – including offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich – after a disappointing 8-9 season and a first-round playoff exit at the hands of the Cowboys. According to reports, Arians is not thrilled about the changes.
“Not happy. Very unhappy. Extremely unhappy,” longtime Bucs reporter Rick Stroud said this week of Arians’ mood while speaking on 95.3 WDAE radio in Tampa.
“Having had some interaction with him about it … he’s disappointed. 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.”
Arians did not comment himself, but he was vocal about keeping continuity with the team when he stepped down, saying last March that remaining in the front office was a way to “control the narrative.”
“I control the narrative right now,” Arians said at the time. “I don’t control it next February because [if] (Tom) Brady gets hurt, we go 10-7 and it’s an open interview for the job … I got 31 [coaches’] families that depend on me. My wife is big on not letting all those families down.”
Now, nine of those coaches are out of work – and Arians is seemingly unhappy with how things ended.
The 70-year-old’s contract with the Buccaneers expired after the 2022 season ended, so he is technically no longer a member of the organization. Perhaps the firings hurt his chances for a return.
Quarterback Tom Brady is also a free agent, meaning this team could look wildly different next season.