News broke Wednesday night that the Super Bowl winning coach is stepping down as the head man in Tampa. Now let’s do what we love to do the most – speculate!
Charles Robinson @CRob5769
Lead Writer – Chiefs Focus @ChiefsFocus
Somehow a historically wild offseason continues to get wilder.
News broke Wednesday night that after three years at the helm in Tampa Bay, Bruce Arians would be stepping down as Buccaneers head coach. Todd Bowles, the Bucs defensive coordinator and architect of the defense that held Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs without a touchdown in Super Bowl LV, will be Arians successor. Arians will move into a front office role for the Buccaneers in what is currently being described as a “Senior football consultant” position – perhaps mimicking the Ernie Adams role in New England over the past two-plus decades, or essentially any other elder statesmen role in front offices across the league.
Arians said during what appears to be a 25 minute conversation with Peter King – a surely draining 25 minutes considering the company – that he had thought about going out on top after the Super Bowl win in 2021. After considering the possibilities – a disappointing 2021 season, failure to meet expectations, his assistants losing their jobs – he decided to give it one more ride in 2021, before seemingly sticking around for the 2022 campaign. Until tonight.
Well, at least until a couple of weeks ago, when Tom Brady came out of a brief retirement to return to Tampa for a third season with the Bucs and 23rd overall. The timing of the Arians news seems strange at best, considering the timing of Brady’s return. Arians, however, played Brady’s return off as his rationale for leaving in a positive way. “Tom was kind of key. When Tom decided to come back…and all of these guys back now, it’s the perfect timing for me just to go into the front office and still have the relationships that I love.” Arians said. Arians and Bucs brass also made sure that Todd Bowles got into the NFL head coaches club without getting his ID checked. It is reported that Bucs officials discussed the move with the NFL prior to the announcement on Wednesday, alerting them that they would be appointing Bowles as the new head coach upon Arians’ announcement and avoiding “sham” interviews while simultaneously improving the league’s bottom line with minority head coaching hires.
Arians has always taken care of his guys, and he has always been a champion of minority coaches. Last year in Tampa, he had 11 black coaches on his staff (including all 3 coordinators), and 2 women. But he hasn’t been a every man’s man with the Buccaneers – most notably Tom Brady. It was rumored when Brady retired for a cup of tea that it was because of his dislike for Arians laxed style of coaching and lack of control on the team. Arians has even admitted to friction between himself and Brady saying “I had conflicts with every player I coached because I cussed them all out, including him.” Arians maintains they have a great relationship off the field.
(*Writers note : Ok, we’re getting into the speculation portion of this blog. For those of you triggered online by this being “sourceless”, get a life and move on. I’m not staking my reputation to this, just throwing out hypotheticals that ran through my head when the Arians news dropped.)
(**Disclaimer : if I had to take two teams vs. the field in the Tom Brady sweepstakes, Tampa would be a heavy favorite at 1. You’ll find out who two is in a second.)
But something just doesn’t add up here. Arians stays in place at Tampa and Brady retires. Brady comes back, and Arians steps down two weeks later? I smell a rate, and at the moment it appears his name is Bruce.
Todd Bowles appears to be inheriting a very robust squad in Tampa in his first time back as a head coach since the Jets fired him in 2018 following a 24-40 record as their head coach from 2015-2018. Tom Brady at QB, Mike Evans coming back, Chris Godwin and Leonard Fournette re-upping. Things are looking good on offense, and defensively the Bucs still have most of the bones from their previously dominant defensive units with the ability to bolster that front in the Draft. Todd’s got this on lock.
Unless he doesn’t. We’ve seen soap operas unfold before our eyes from every direction this offseason. Baker Mayfield is a child, he and the Browns hate each other. Then they trade for Deshaun. Tyreek Hill and Davante Adams priced themselves out of the only franchises they’ve known as professional with the best quarterback security you could ask for in exchange for gigs in Miami and Las Vegas. Russell Wilson passive aggressively wiggled his way out of Seattle and into Denver. In what has been an offseason we’ve never seen the likes of before, the landscape appears to still be shifting.
When Hill was traded to the Dolphins last week, you began to heard whispers about Brady wanting to play “further south” in Florida. Before Brady retired initially, and for the past couple of seasons, there have been rumors that he wants to go back home to the Bay Area and play for Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers. He’s also won a Super Bowl in Tampa, has most of his weapons returning, and now has a defensive head coach that will almost certainly allow him full autonomy (in conjunction with offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich) of the offense in Tampa.
All interesting scenarios. Miami is without a doubt the fastest offense in the NFL at the moment, and just signed a franchise left tackle in Terron Armstead. Brady with Tyreek Hill, Jaylon Waddle, Davonte Parker, Mike Gesicki, Chase Edmonds…whoa. That could be a great look, and backed by a Dolphins defense that was nasty under Brian Flores – TBD if they will meet those standards under Mike McDaniel, but one would assume professional football players are going to do their thing and dominate if they’re dominant.
Then there’s San Fran. The allure of going home – for many reasons. First think about the practicaility of it. How many “F*ck Them Kids” memes did you see when Brady came back out of retirement. The jokes were endless. Brady took his kids to school for two weeks and said “enough of this shit”. Well, in San Francisco grandma and grandpa Brady are close by – free childcare. Also, if you want to throw them on the bus or trolly, San Francisco sports the nation’s second highest rated public transit system. You’re welcome in advance for the recommendation, Tom.
Second of course we have to consider football. Tom Brady in an offense that is predicated on the running game first, motion offense to create outside running opportunities for wide receivers like Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk, and an intermediate passing attack that includes those two thoroughbreds AND George Kittle? Brady could be staring down arguably the most prolific on-field setup of his career. And it’s a place he’s said he wants to be. 49ers CEO Jed York has been coy about the status of Jimmy Garoppolo recently, saying there’s “no reason” to trade Jimmy G. Well, Jed…now there is, and his name is Tom Brady.
If I had to take two teams vs the field in where Brady will play next year, I would say
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- San Francisco 49ers
Am I on payroll with Don Yee like Schefter? Not even on a text basis, nor did I know what he looked like until I just googled him to remember his name. I have no clue what’s going to happen. But I love this new made-for-TV drama that is the NFL offseason, and I’m all in on compounding the chaos theory and actuality that has been March 2022 even further. Who knows, maybe Roger Goodell has some WWE-type production planned for this year’s draft that is going to blow us out of the water. Whatever it is, I’m here for it.