Brady posted a tribute to Arians on Instagram after the news of his move to consulting became public, writing, “Thank you, BA for all that you have done for me and our team. You are an incredible man and coach, and it was a privilege to play for you. You are a true NFL legend and pioneer for all the work you have done to make the league more diverse and inclusive. Smart, tough, and loyal are a few of the words to describe your style…You were a huge part of the decision to join the Bucs and I’m forever grateful.”
Though Arians has effectively forfeited his chance to go out on top, TB12 still has a shot at it. And while Bowles is undoubtedly set up for success with this staff and roster, he’ll also be under intense scrutiny if things start going south for the Bucs.
With a smooth transition looking likely that will minimize staff turnover, Arians’ fondness for Bowles clearly drove him to choose this moment to step down.
“Succession has always been huge for me. With the organization in probably the best shape it’s been in its history, with Tom Brady coming back … I’d rather see Todd in position to be successful and not have to take some [crappy] job,” Arians told NBC. “I’m probably retiring next year anyway, in February. So, I control the narrative right now. 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.”metasports
Though both Leftwich and Bowles interviewed for several head coaching positions throughout the league during the coaching carousel this offseason, Arians was set on Bowles as his chosen successor. Their history goes back decades — Bowles played four years at cornerback at Temple University under the Owls’ then-HC Arians, and the two of them reunited with the Cleveland Browns and the Arizona Cardinals before making the move to Tampa.metasports
And what of Tom Brady? The QB who led the Bucs to a Super Bowl victory just over a year ago has emerged from the world’s shortest retirement amidst rumors that he may be moving to the Miami Dolphins, but for now, he’s Tampa Bay’s QB1. Dolphins HC Mike McDaniel called the rumors “fake news,” and Arians has emphasized that his relationship with Brady is solid.