Bruce Arians bring a distinctive coaching approach to the NFL.
In 1989, the current head coach of the Buccaneers was hired for his first NFL coaching position. Since then, he has contributed his distinctive appearance to professional sidelines almost every season. There is the Kangol hat he frequently dons.
Under his face shield earlier this year, his spectacles sometimes gave the impression that there were two separate pairs. In addition, he has started donning a face shield as well as a second face mask for the COVID-19 season, which is 2020–21.
Arians’ most recent attempt at “fashion” has been to wear a strapped-on electrical device around his chest. Although there is only really one plausible explanation for what Arians is wearing, that hasn’t stopped some people on Twitter from speculating that he actually has something more nefarious.
Others on social media have drawn comparisons between Bruce Arians’ clothing and the Ghostbusters and Darth Vader’s chest plates. The actual solution, however, is considerably clearer and more rational.
— Connor Griffin (@RealCGriff) January 18, 2021
Bruce Arians out here giving people Halloween costume ideas for free. pic.twitter.com/PsD8WhMKUl
— Chris James (@CJOffTheBench) October 15, 2021
Is Bruce Arians wearing an AED on his chest? pic.twitter.com/K5KpDeqhHN
— Nurse Patriot (@LABeachGal1) October 15, 2021
Table of Contents
What is Bruce Arians Wearing?
The radio receiver for Arians’ headset is wrapped around his chest. An NFL head coach obviously needs a headset so he can communicate not only with his quarterback but also with the other coaches on his staff, such as the ones up in the booth monitoring replays and advising Arians on whether or not to raise his challenge flag. The modern NFL would operate very differently if radio headsets were not permitted.
The only coach who appears to like to have his radio unit fastened to his chest is Arians. Bruce Arians are the only coach who does not have it hooked into a pocket or a belt loop.
It’s unclear why Bruce Arians decide to rock his radio so near to his chest and out in full view. It could be necessary to keep the cables shorter and all in front of him to prevent tangles as he moves or changes his attire while playing a game. Arians may be supporting the extra weight with his upper body since it’s more comfortable for him to do so.
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This adjustment appears to have occurred in the middle of the season. In pictures from the Buccaneers’ game against the Raiders on October 25, Arians are shown with his radio pack tucked under his right hip.
But in all photographs of him since, it can be seen on his upper chest, secured by an over-shoulder strap. A portion of the radio device can also be seen hanging from the strap’s back in side view shots, giving Arians a heavy item to wear in both the middle of his chest and on his back.
The whole thing contributes to the Arians’ appearance; he has the look of a college professor with a rucksack hanging over his shoulder, the sort of guy who might teach philosophy or some form of literature. However, relax; there’s nothing crazier than a radio, so don’t be alarmed.
Who is Bruce Arians?
Arians, a native of Paterson, New Jersey, completed his high school studies at William Penn High School in York, Pennsylvania. He was a standout scholastic quarterback while he was a student at York Catholic High School. On October 3, 1952, Bruce Arians was born.
Bruce Arians attended Virginia Tech, where he played football in college. Arians was the Hokies football team’s starting quarterback in a wishbone formation as a senior in 1974. He completed 53 of 118 passes (44.9% of attempts) for 952 yards, three passing touchdowns, and seven interceptions during that season.
Bruce Arians amassed 243 yards and eleven scores on the ground. With 11, Arians owned the school record at Virginia Tech for the most quarterback rushing touchdowns in a season.
Since then, Jerod Evans has beaten the record in 2016. He was also the first white athlete in VT history to share a dorm room with a black athlete. James Barber, the father of Ronde and Tiki Barber, shared his room with him.
College Coaching Career
As a graduate assistant at Virginia Tech, Bruce Arians started his coaching career in 1975. Before moving on to the University of Alabama to coach the running backs under Paul “Bear” Bryant from 1981 to 1982, Arians served as an assistant coach for the wide receivers and running backs at Mississippi State University from 1978 to 1980.
In addition, from 1983 to 1988, Arians served as the head coach at Temple University. Over the course of six seasons, he was the Owls’ head coach, compiling an overall record of 27-39. In 1986, when the Owls finished 6-5, he had just one winning record on the field.
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The Heisman Trophy runner-up in 1986, running back Paul Palmer, eventually admitted to having signed with a sports agent before the season, and all of those victories were later declared null and void.
Along with Palmer, notable players Arians coached at Temple included running back Todd McNair, cornerback Kevin Ross, safety Todd Bowles, offensive center John Rienstra, and cornerback Kevin Ross. Later, Ross, Bowles, and McNair would all work as assistant NFL coaches with or under Arians.
Between stints as an NFL assistant coach and Mississippi State’s offensive coordinator (1993–95) and Alabama’s offensive coordinator (1997), Arians had positions after coaching at Temple.
NFL Coaching Career
Arians were hired by the Kansas City Chiefs in the NFL as the running backs coach after the conclusion of the 1988 college football season. He worked with Bill Cowher, the coach who brought him to the Pittsburgh Steelers, during his tenure with the Chiefs. In 1996, he also served as the New Orleans Saints tight ends coach for a single season.
When he was hired as the quarterback’s coach of the Indianapolis Colts in 1998, following this spell, he began to establish a reputation for himself. At the time of Peyton Manning’s entry into the NFL, he served as his first quarterback coach. He was then employed by Butch Davis’ Cleveland Browns as offensive coordinator (2001–2003).
He contributed to the 2002 Browns’ 9-7 record, which placed them second in the newly reorganized AFC North, and to their emergence into the wild card playoffs, where they fell to the Steelers (36-33) in the opening round. Chuck Pagano, who led the Browns’ secondary from 2001 to 2004, was someone he first collaborated with during his time with the team.
Arians helped the Pittsburgh Steelers win the Super Bowl XL after being appointed as the wide receivers coach after the 2003 season. He was given the position of offensive coordinator in 2007 and went on to win Super Bowl XLIII.
He had his fair share of detractors despite his success in Pittsburgh. He enjoyed gambling and taking big chances, which annoyed his followers. For instance, he wanted to air it out downfield on a 3rd & 1 rather than rushing the ball or delivering a short, fast pass. As stated by Arians, “I got booed in the Super Bowl parade. I look over and I hear ‘get a fullback’, and I say ‘never’.”
On January 28, 2012, Arians consented to take over Clyde Christensen’s position as the offensive coordinator for the Indianapolis Colts. In his former role as the Colts’ quarterbacks coach from 1998 to 2000, Arians coached a young Peyton Manning. The two were briefly reunited before Manning was released two months later.
Following the leukemia diagnosis of Colts head coach Chuck Pagano, Arians was appointed as the team’s interim head coach on October 1, 2012. One of the biggest one-season turnarounds in NFL history was the Colts, who Arians led to a 9-3 record. The nine victories are an NFL record for an interim head coach.
The Colts made the playoffs again in 2012 despite only winning two games in 2011. On December 24, 2012, Pagano and Arians both returned to their positions as head coaches of the Colts. Arians was hospitalized with an ailment that physicians diagnosed as an inner ear infection or a virus; Arians missed practice on January 3 due to the flu.
As a result, Arians was unable to watch the Colts’ Wild Card Round loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Arians became the first interim head coach to get the honor when he was awarded the 2012 AP Coach of the Year.
Arians signed a four-year contract with the Arizona Cardinals on January 17, 2013, making him the team’s 40th head coach. Tyrann Mathieu, a troubled LSU defensive back who had been expelled from the team and detained for drug possession prior to the 2013 NFL Draft, was the subject of Arians’ gamble in that year’s draft.
With a record of 10-6 in 2013, Arians became the first head coach of the Cardinals since Norm Barry in 1925 to record at least nine victories in his debut campaign.
Despite still having a year left on his contract, Arians announced his retirement from coaching after five seasons with the Cardinals, during which he guided them to an 8-8 record. On New Year’s Eve of 2017, the Cardinals defeated the Seattle Seahawks 26–24 in Arians’ final game with the team.
He achieved his 50th and last victory with the Cardinals on that day, passing Ken Whisenhunt to become the winningest head coach in the history of the team. Arians had a 50-32-1 record when he left Arizona.
To come out of retirement and take over as the 12th head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Arians, and the team reached an agreement on a four-year contract on January 8, 2019. For the Buccaneers, Arians said in the offseason that he could succeed with the group he had at the time. As for Jameis Winston, he expressed confidence in him by adding, “I think with (quarterbacks coach) Clyde Christensen and (offensive coordinator) Byron Leftwich, he’s in great hands.”
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With a total of 28 assistants, Bruce Arians put together the largest coaching staff in the NFL for the upcoming season. Arians stated that improving the defensive secondary was one of his goals.
The Buccaneers gave up the worst passer rating (110.9), yards per attempt (8.2), and completion % in the 2019 season (72.5). Arians guided the Buccaneers to a 7-9 record and third-place finish in the NFC South in his first season with the organization.
The Buccaneers had a 13-4 record at the end of Arians’ third season with the group. Although they defeated the eventual Super Bowl LVI champion Philadelphia Eagles in the Wild Card stage, they fell to the Los Angeles Rams in the divisional round in what would be Arians’ final game as an NFL head coach. With a 31-18 record overall and a 6-3 record in the postseason, Arians left Tampa Bay after his time there.
Bruce Arians notified the staff on March 30, 2022, that he would be resigning as head coach and taking on a new position with the team as a Senior Football Consultant. Todd Bowles, the defensive coordinator for the Buccaneers, took his place.
The Arians Family Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded by Arians and his wife Christine, supports and creates programs to stop child abuse and neglect. Support for the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) program is provided by the Arians Family Foundation.
Bruce Arians, a steadfast supporter of diversity and opposition to prejudice, offered the following insight on George Floyd’s murder and the surrounding demonstrations: “It’s very disheartening […] personally, you would hope that we would not be in 2020 still dealing with these issues. You would hope as a nation to have grown since 1968. I think we have, but not enough, obviously.”
Arians overcame prostate cancer. Jake, born on January 26, 1978, a son of his and his wife Christine, served as the Buffalo Bills’ placekicker for a portion of the 2001 season.
Kristi Anne, born on December 15, 1980, is their daughter. Currently, Arians and his wife live in Greensboro, Georgia, near Lake Oconee, and Tampa, Florida.
The Quarterback Whisperer: How to Build an Elite NFL Quarterback, a book by Arians, was published in 2017.