The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ divisional round loss to the Los Angeles Rams was thought to be Tom Brady’s final NFL game. Instead, it was his head coach’s.
Bruce Arians is stepping away from the sidelines and into a front office role, the team announced on Thursday. Todd Bowles, the Bucs’ defensive coordinator, will step in as head coach.
NBC Sports’ Peter King and The Los Angeles Times’ Sam Farmer first reported the news.
Arians informed his staff and Bucs players Wednesday evening. Arians and Bowles will both participate in a press conference Thursday afternoon to announce the news, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Arians’ new job will be “senior football consultant,” beginning with preparation for next month’s NFL draft.
“Succession has always been huge for me,” Arians said in a phone interview with NBC Sports and The Los Angeles Times. “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.
“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.”
Arians went 31-18 in three seasons as head coach in Tampa Bay, helping guide the team to a Super Bowl LV win over the Kansas City Chiefs along the way. He previously was the head coach in Arizona from 2013 through 2017 in a coaching career that dates back to 1972.
Bowles, meanwhile, gets his second NFL head coaching gig. He held the role with the New York Jets from 2015 to 2018. Over the last three seasons, he had been in charge of a Bucs defense that has ranked among the best in the NFL.