Bruce Arians retires to take a front office job as Todd Bowles becomes the Buccaneers head coach

Super Bowl-winning head coach Bruce Arians announced earlier this evening that he will be transitioning from his coaching duties to a role in the Buccaneers’ front office as Senior Football Consultant, advising General Manager Jason Licht. Tampa Bay has named Todd Bowles as the franchise’s new head coach.

Arians, a two-time cancer survivor, stepped down as coach of the Arizona Cardinals due to medical concerns in 2017, only to be lured back to the sideline by the then-struggling Bucs two years later. This time, he said, he exits feeling the best he has in “many years” and is looking forward to transitioning into a front-office position working with general manager Jason Licht.

“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,” Glazer said. “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.”

Bowles takes over the Buccaneers following a three-year stint as the team’s defensive coordinator, where he transformed the unit into one of the most productive, opportunistic defenses in the NFL. From 2019-2021, Tampa Bay ranked third in the league in takeaways (82) and third in sacks (142), joining the Pittsburgh Steelers as the only teams to place in the top five of both categories.

“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.” Bowles said. “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.”

Over the last two regular seasons, the Buccaneers have allowed the sixth-fewest points per game (21.5) and the fifth-fewest yards per game (329.4). In six postseason contests in the last two years, the Tampa Bay tallied 16 takeaways, seven more than any other team. Bowles was the architect behind a historic defensive performance that catapulted the Buccaneers to a Super Bowl LV victory. His unit held the explosive Kansas City Chiefs’ offense to nine points and without a touchdown for the first time in 54 games with Patrick Mahomes as the starting quarterback. 

“Todd is an outstanding coach and one of the league’s most respected defensive minds,” team owner Joel Glazer said. “He is a natural leader who has a great understanding of all phases of the game and a passion for teaching and developing young talent. His defensive unit played a critical role in our run to winning Super Bowl LV, and he has transformed our defense into one of the league’s finest over the past three seasons. We are thrilled to have him leading our team into this next era of Buccaneer football.”

Arians concludes a 46-year coaching career, including his last nine leading NFL franchises. With the Buccaneers from 2019-2021, Arians amassed a 31-18 (.633) regular season record and a 5-1 (.833) postseason record, including a victory in Super Bowl LV following the 2020 season. In 2021, he directed Tampa Bay to its first NFC South division title since 2007 and victory in the Wild Card Round. The Buccaneers’ 36 combined regular season and postseason victories over the last three seasons are the fourth-most in the NFL.

“I consider Bruce a dear friend and loved working side-by-side with him in a head coach-general manager capacity,” Licht said. “I am really proud of what we have been able to accomplish. Bruce established a culture here that set the foundation for a Super Bowl championship. In my opinion, he is a Hall of Fame coach, so it is difficult for our football team to lose that type of leader. However, I am excited to have him continuing his contributions to our franchise in his new capacity.”

Arians is a two-time Associated Press NFL Coach of the Year, winning the award following the 2012 season with the Indianapolis Colts and the 2014 season with the Arizona Cardinals. Including his 9-3 record as interim head coach of Indianapolis in 2012, Arians’ .635 winning percentage (89-51-1) ranks eighth among coaches who have coached at least 100 games in the Super Bowl era.  Arians is Tampa Bay’s all-time leader in regular season and postseason winning percentage, while his .619 regular season winning percentage as head coach of the Arizona Cardinals is the best in that franchise’s history. He joins Bill Parcells, Andy Reid and Marty Schottenheimer as the only coaches during the Super Bowl era to hold that distinction for two organizations.

During Arians’ tenure, Tampa Bay led the NFL in points scored (29.8 per game), passing yards (300.0 per game), passing touchdowns (118), completions (1,284), and passing first downs (755), ranked third in total yards (396.2 per game), fourth in first downs (22.9 per game), and seventh in sacks allowed (92).

Defensively, under Bowles’ guidance, the Buccaneers ranked third in takeaways (82), third in sacks (142), ninth in yards allowed per game (334.1), fifth in yards allowed per play (5.13), first in rushing yards allowed per game (82.5), first in rushing yards per attempt (3.72), fifth in passing yards per attempt allowed (6.78), seventh in third-down conversion rate allowed (37.6%), sixth in red zone efficiency (54.7%), and ninth in goal-to-go efficiency (68.6%). 

“It was evident to everyone in our organization over the last three years that Todd deserved to be an NFL head coach,” Licht said. “I have always felt that if this situation ever arose, we had the best candidate for the job already in-house. Todd’s football acumen is well-documented and has been on full display with the growth and maturation of our defense since his arrival. He is a unique leader who connects with everyone in the building and is extremely respected by players on both sides of the ball. I know we all will toward our shared goal of bringing our fans another championship.”

Bowles joined the Buccaneers after spending the previous four seasons as the head coach of the New York Jets (2015-18). Under Bowles, the Jets posted one of the best run defenses in the NFL, holding teams to just 4.00 yards per carry, the sixth-lowest figure in the NFL during that span, and allowing only 44 rushing touchdowns, tied for the eighth-fewest in that timeframe. Bowles’ Jets defense also allowed opposing offenses to convert only 36.0 percent of third downs, the fourth-lowest mark in the league. Opposing passers completed just 60.6 percent of their passes against the Jets under Bowles, the third-lowest mark in the NFL.

Nine different players earned Pro Bowl berths under Bowles in New York, with cornerback Darrelle Revis, defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson, running back Chris Ivory, wide receiver Brandon Marshall, and center Nick Mangold being selected in 2015, defensive lineman Leonard Williams being nominated in 2016 and safety Jamal Adams, kicker Jason Myers and return specialist Andre Roberts voted to the game in 2018. 

Prior to serving as the head coach of the Jets, Bowles spent two seasons as the defensive coordinator of the Arizona Cardinals (2013-14), including winning Assistant Coach of the Year honors from the Pro Football Writers of America and the Associated Press in 2014. During Bowles’ time in Arizona, the Cardinals’ defense allowed the third-fewest rushing touchdowns (14), the fifth-fewest points per game (19.5) and the fifth-fewest rushing yards per game (96.6). Bowles’ defenses in Arizona also showed a knack for taking the ball away, recording the fifth-most interceptions in the NFL (38) and the most defensive touchdowns in the league, with nine.

While Bowles led the Cardinals’ defense, he saw cornerback Patrick Peterson earn first-team AP All-Pro honors in 2013 and earn Pro Bowl honors both years (2013-14). Defensive end John Abraham (2013), cornerback Antonio Cromartie (2014) and defensive end Calais Campbell (2014) also earned Pro Bowl selections.

Bowles spent one year with the Philadelphia Eagles (2012), serving as the team’s secondary coach before being named interim defensive coordinator for the final 10 games of the season. Philadelphia finished ninth in passing yards allowed (216.9 per game) that season.

Before joining the Eagles, Bowles worked as the assistant head coach/secondary coach for the Miami Dolphins for four seasons (2008-11). In the 2011 season, he was named interim head coach for the final three games of the year, going 2-1. Under Bowles’ tutelage, Miami’s secondary held opposing quarterbacks to a 58.1 completion percentage over that span, the seventh-lowest mark in the NFL.

Prior to his time in Miami, Bowles worked as the defensive backs coach for the Dallas Cowboys (2005-07), coaching three different players to the Pro Bowl (safety Ken Hamlin, cornerback Terence Newman and safety Roy Williams).

His NFL coaching career began in 2000 as the defensive backs coach of the New York Jets, leading a unit that allowed just 183.3 passing yards per game, the sixth-fewest in the NFL. Following his season in New York, Bowles spent four years with the Cleveland Browns, working as the team’s defensive nickel package coach (2001-03) and secondary coach (2004). In 2001, the team set a franchise record with 33 interceptions and in 2004, the Browns allowed the fifth-fewest passing yards in the NFL (181.3 per game).

Before coaching in the NFL, Bowles spent one season as the defensive coordinator at Morehouse College (1997) and two seasons as the defensive coordinator at Grambling State (1998-99).

Bowles played collegiately at Temple and, despite going undrafted in the 1986 NFL Draft, played eight years in the NFL, with Washington (1986-90; 1992-93) and San Francisco (1991). He was a starter on the 1987 Washington team that won Super Bowl XXII. Following his retirement as a player, Bowles spent two seasons (1995-96) with the Green Bay Packers player personnel department.