Bruce Arians
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Bruce Arians

Bruce Arians
refer to caption
Arians in 2016
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Position:Head coach
Personal information
Born: (1952-10-03) October 3, 1952 (age 67)
Paterson, New Jersey
Career information
High school:William Penn (York, PA)
College:Virginia Tech
Career history
As coach:
Career highlights and awards
As head coach
As assistant coach
Head coaching record
Regular season:NCAA: 21-39 (.350)
NFL: 67-42-1 (.614)
Postseason:1-2 (.333)
Career:NCAA: 21-39 (.350)
NFL: 68-44-1 (.606)
Coaching stats at PFR

Bruce Charles Arians (born October 3, 1952) is an American football coach who is the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the National Football League (NFL) and a former player. He was the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals from 2013 to 2017, and also served as offensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers and Indianapolis Colts. He also coached at the college level, serving as head coach at Temple and as an assistant at Mississippi State and Alabama. Arians is known for his trademark slogan "No risk-it, no biscuit," which encourages aggressive play and risk-taking.

During his one year as offensive coordinator with the Colts in 2012, Arians served as interim head coach for 12 weeks while the team's first-year head coach Chuck Pagano was treated for leukemia. Arians guided the Colts to a 9-3 record over his tenure, and was named AP NFL Coach of the Year for the season. He became the head coach of the Cardinals in 2013 following a lone season in Indianapolis. Following the 2014 season, in which Arizona posted an 11-5 record, Arians was named Coach of the Year for the second time in his career. He retired from coaching after the 2017 season, but returned in 2019 as the head coach of the Buccaneers.

Early life

A native of Paterson, New Jersey,[1] Arians graduated from William Penn High School in York, Pennsylvania.[2] He previously attended York Catholic High School,[3] where he was a standout scholastic quarterback.

Playing career

Arians attended and played college football at Virginia Tech. As a senior in 1974, Arians was the starting quarterback in a wishbone offense for the Hokies football team. That season, he completed 53 of 118 passing attempts (44.9% completion pct.) for 952 yards with three passing touchdowns and seven interceptions. He rushed for 243 yards and eight touchdowns.[4] Arians held the Virginia Tech school record for most QB rushing touchdowns in a season with 11.[5] The record has since been broken by Jerod Evans, in 2016. He was also the first white player to share a dorm room with a black player in VT history. His roommate was James Barber, father of Ronde and Tiki Barber.[6]

College coaching career

Arians began his coaching career in 1975 as a graduate assistant at Virginia Tech. He was forced to resign after the death of 18 year old Bob Vorhies, who suffered a heat stroke while doing punishment drills.[7] Arians then held an assistant coaching position at Mississippi State University (running backs and wide receivers) from 1978-80 before heading to the University of Alabama to coach the running backs from 1981-82 under Paul "Bear" Bryant.

Arians was also the head coach at Temple University from 1983-88. While head coach for the Owls, he compiled a 27-39 overall record over six seasons. All six of Temple's wins during the 1986 season were later forfeited; running back Paul Palmer, who was the runner-up in the Heisman Trophy voting in 1986, had signed with a sports agent before the season, making Palmer ineligible. Besides Palmer, other standout players Arians coached at Temple included cornerback Kevin Ross, safety Todd Bowles, offensive guard John Rienstra, and running back Todd McNair. Ross, Bowles, and McNair would all later serve as NFL assistant coaches with or under Arians.

After coaching at Temple, Arians held positions with Mississippi State (offensive coordinator, 1993-95) and Alabama (offensive coordinator, 1997) in between NFL assistant coaching jobs.

NFL coaching career

At the end of the college football season in 1988, Arians was hired in the NFL as a running backs coach for the Kansas City Chiefs. It was during this time with the Chiefs that he worked with the coach who brought him to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Bill Cowher. He also spent one season as the tight ends coach of the New Orleans Saints in 1996.

Following this stint was when he made a name for himself when he got the job as the quarterbacks coach of the Indianapolis Colts in 1998. He was the first quarterback coach of Peyton Manning when he arrived in the NFL. Afterward, he was hired as offensive coordinator (2001-2003) for the Cleveland Browns under Butch Davis. In 2002, he helped the Browns finish 9-7 (2nd in the newly aligned AFC North) and to a wild card playoff berth where they lost to the Steelers (36-33) in the first round. It was during his tenure with the Browns that he first worked with Chuck Pagano who served as the Browns secondary coach from 2001 to 2004.

Coaching philosophy

Arians' coaching philosophy can be summed up with one phrase: "No risk it no biscuit, You can't live scared." His former quarterback in Arizona, Carson Palmer, says, "You play for him, you see he just has guts. He will let it rip let it fly no matter what."[8] He first developed this philosophy when the old timers at the bar he worked at in college told him, "In life you must take risks." During games he will always give the quarterback at least two options based on how the defense lines up. "One option will give us a chance to make a first down and the other option will give us a chance to score a touchdown." All his quarterbacks must believe, "If I have the right match up and the opportunity is there to take a shot at the deep ball, take it. I don't care if it's a third and-and-three; if our best receiver is in single coverage and he's running a deep post route, throw him the goddamn ball." [9]

One thing Arians cannot stand is when coaches play not to lose. He considers conservative coaching to be a cardinal sin. In his book, he writes, "That's not my way brother. I'll never be too afraid to throw it and take the heat if it's incomplete. My job as an offensive coach is not to allow our defense to retake the field. Run out the clock and kneel down-that's my job."[9]

Arians has as an image of what the perfect NFL QB looks like. In his book he wrote "It's something you cannot see. He must have- a big lion's heart, a heart that beats for an entire franchise." Arians says heart is exhibited when a quarterback plays through pain, when he smashes into a 320-pound defensive linemen on third down to gain six extra inches for the first down. Or when he throws a pick and runs forty yards down field to make a tackle. What he calls "grit" is a must have ability to make the dozens of decisions that need to be made in the twenty five seconds the quarterback walks on the line of scrimmage and scans the defense to when the play is over.

On the practice field Arians is known to spend most of the time with his quarterbacks reviewing what transpires during the three to four seconds of a basic pass play. He believes the first thing the quarterback has to understand is his protection, because the defense can always blitz one more guy than your linemen can block. Because of this the quarterback has to look and read what will coming from the opposing defense.[9]

A primary reason Arians is known as a quarterback whisperer is the special relationship he has had with all of his quarterbacks as well as the production he has gotten out of them. "My quarterbacks have to be a member of my family, and that has nothing to do with football," he says. "Trust is everything. We have to connect on a deep level in order to really be able to build something together. Trust brings a higher level of communication and a higher level of commitment and accountability. We have to care for one another. It's all about family, family, family."[10] While being a caring coach, Arians is also known to be a hard coach on his quarterbacks. When Peyton Manning had a bad game the first time he faced the Patriots his rookie year--he threw three interceptions midway through the fourth quarter of the game--he was so frustrated he begged Arians, who at the time was the team's quarterback coach, to be pulled. Arians responded by saying "F--k no. Get back in there. We'll go no-huddle, and maybe you'll learn something." [10] While Arians has this hard style of coaching, his former quarterbacks have always had the utmost respect for him and attribute him as a big factor in their success.

Arians is known to socialize with players more than most NFL coaches. After Cardinals home games he is known to pull his car up. The trunk will be open and he will be handing out drinks to his players. He writes "If a player had a bad game, I'm going to give him a beer and big sincere hug. If a player had a great game, I'm going to give him a beer and a big sincere hug."[9]

Pittsburgh Steelers

After the 2003 season, Arians was hired as the Steelers wide receivers coach, and in 2007 was promoted to offensive coordinator. He then went on to win Super Bowl XLIII. Despite his success in Pittsburgh, he had his fair share of critics. He was a gambling man who liked to take big risks, risks that didn't sit well with fans. For instance, on a 3rd & 1, instead of running the ball or making a short quick pass, he wanted to air it out downfield. According to Arians, "I got booed in the Super Bowl parade. I look over and I hear 'get a full back,' and I say never." In Arians' offense the quarterback is often exposed: Ben Rothlisberger took a high number of sacks every year and it left the Steelers front office unhappy. This led the front office to not renew Arians contract as an offensive coordinator.[8] a position he held until his contract expired after the 2011 season.[11]

Indianapolis Colts

On January 28, 2012, Arians agreed to become the offensive coordinator of the Indianapolis Colts, replacing Clyde Christensen.[12] On October 1, 2012, Arians was named the interim head coach of the Colts following coach Chuck Pagano's leukemia diagnosis.[13] Arians led the Colts to a 9-3 record, part of one of the biggest one-season turnarounds in NFL history. The nine wins are the most by an interim head coach in NFL history.[14] After winning only two games in 2011, the Colts returned to the playoffs. Pagano returned to the Colts as head coach on December 24, 2012, with Arians returning to his role as offensive coordinator.[15] Arians missed the Colts wild-card game loss against the Baltimore Ravens due to being hospitalized with an illness, which was described by doctors as an inner ear infection or a virus; Arians had missed practice on January 3 due to the flu.[16] Arians was named the 2012 AP Coach of the Year, making him the first interim head coach to win the award.[17]

Arizona Cardinals

On January 17, 2013, the Arizona Cardinals and Arians agreed on a 4-year deal that would make Arians their new head coach.[18] In the 2013 NFL draft Arians took a chance on troubled LSU defensive back Tyrann Mathieu, who had been kicked off the LSU football team as well as arrested for drug possession prior to the draft. Arians was the first Cardinals head coach since Norm Barry in 1925 to record at least nine wins in his first season, with a record of 10-6 for 2013.[19]

The Cardinals finished the 2014 season with an 11-5 record and were the #5 seed in the NFC. The 11 wins tied a Cardinals franchise record for most wins in a season. Arians led the Cardinals to a 9-1 start, best in the NFL, but injuries to starting quarterback Carson Palmer (who was 6-0 as the starter) and backup Drew Stanton, (who was 5-3 as starter) led to the Seattle Seahawks claiming the divisional title with a 12-4 record. Roughly half the team was put on injured reserve between week 8 and week 17. The injury plagued Cardinals were eliminated by the Carolina Panthers in the Wild Card round of the playoffs, 27-16. Following the season, Arians was named AP Head Coach of the Year for the second time in three seasons.[20]

On February 23, 2015, the Cardinals announced a new four-year deal with Arians which would keep him with the Cardinals through the 2018 season.[21] After starting 3-0 for a second consecutive season, in 2015, Arians led the Cardinals to a franchise record in season wins, ending the season with a 13-3 record. The Cardinals defeated the Green Bay Packers 26-20 in overtime in the Divisional round of the playoffs, Arians' first playoff win as a head coach. The next Sunday, in the NFC Championship, the Cardinals were defeated again by the Carolina Panthers, this time in a 49-15 blowout.

In the 2016 season, Arians led the Cardinals to a record of 7-8-1.

After the 2017 season, where he led the Cardinals to an 8-8 record, Arians announced his retirement from coaching after five seasons with the Cardinals.[22]

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

On January 8, 2019, Arians agreed to terms on a 4-year contract to come out of retirement and became the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.[23]

Arians has stated in the offseason for the Buccaneers that he can win now with the team he has. He also put his faith in Jameis Winston, saying "I think with (quarterbacks coach) Clyde Christensen and (offensive coordinator) Byron Leftwich, he's in great hands." [24]

Arians has assembled the largest coaching staff in the NFL for the 2019 NFL season, at a total of 28 assistants. Arians made it known one of his intentions was fixing the defensive secondary. In the 2018 season the Buccaneers surrendered a league worst passer rating (110.9), yards per attempt (8.2) and completion percentage (72.5).[25] In his first season with the team, the Buccaneers finished with a 7-9 record.

Broadcasting career

On May 3, 2018, Arians joined CBS Sports as a game analyst for the NFL on CBS, working with Greg Gumbel and Trent Green.[26] He replaced Steve Tasker as a co-analyst.

Personal life

Arians at a fundraiser hosted by Tony La Russa in Phoenix, Arizona

Arians and his wife Christine run a charity called The Arians Family Foundation, which supports and develops programs to prevent and remedy the abuse and neglect of children. The Arians Family Foundation supports the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) program.

A lifelong advocate for racial inclusion and against discrimination, Arians commented on the death of George Floyd and the ensuing protests: "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."[27]

Arians is a prostate cancer survivor.[14] He and his wife Christine have a son, Jake (born January 26, 1978), who spent part of the 2001 season as the placekicker for the Buffalo Bills, and a daughter, Kristi Anne (born December 15, 1980).

Head coaching record


Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs
Temple Owls (NCAA Division I-A independent) (1983-1988)
1983 Temple 4-7
1984 Temple 6-5
1985 Temple 4-7
1986 Temple 6-5*
1987 Temple 3-8
1988 Temple 4-7
Temple: 27-39
Total: 27-39

* 1986 team was 6-5 on the field, but had to vacate their wins due to the presence of an ineligible player on their roster.


Team Year Regular season Postseason
Won Lost Ties Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
IND* 2012 9 3 0 .750 2nd in AFC South -- -- -- --
IND total 9 3 0 .750 0 0 .000
ARI 2013 10 6 0 .625 3rd in NFC West -- -- -- --
ARI 2014 11 5 0 .688 2nd in NFC West 0 1 .000 Lost to Carolina Panthers in NFC Wild Card Game
ARI 2015 13 3 0 .813 1st in NFC West 1 1 .500 Lost to Carolina Panthers in NFC Championship Game
ARI 2016 7 8 1 .469 2nd in NFC West -- -- -- --
ARI 2017 8 8 0 .500 3rd in NFC West -- -- -- --
ARI total 49 30 1 .614 1 2 .333
TB 2019 7 9 0 .438 3rd in NFC South -- -- -- --
TB 2020 2 1 0 .667 TBD -- -- -- --
TB Total 9 10 0 .474 0 0 .000
Total 67 42 1 .614 1 2 .333

* Interim head coach


  1. ^ Cannizzaro, Mark. "CARTHON & MUIR RECEIVE INVITES TO STAY ABOARD", New York Post, January 20, 2001. Accessed May 3, 2015. "One of the offensive coordinators who's believed to be at or near the top of Edwards' list is Colts' quarterbacks coach Bruce Arians, a Paterson, NJ, native who's had a close hand in the development of Peyton Manning."
  2. ^ McClure, Jim (February 6, 2011). "York County, Pa.'s steel and green links to the Super Bowl". York Town Square. York Newspaper Company. Archived from the original on June 24, 2011. Retrieved 2011.
  3. ^ McClure, Jim (February 5, 2009). "Names of stars from York County with pro sports links just keep increasing". York Town Square. York Newspaper Company. Archived from the original on February 14, 2011. Retrieved 2011.
  4. ^ "Virginia Tech records and history" (PDF). Retrieved 2007.
  5. ^ "Bruce Arians College Stats - College Football at". College Football at
  6. ^ "Bruce Arians coaches with nothing to lose". October 15, 2014.
  7. ^ Pincus, Arthur (December 31, 1977). "Player's Death Investigated". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020.
  8. ^ a b "Bruce Arians". A Football Life. Season 5. Episode 11. December 11, 2015. NFL Network. Retrieved 2019.
  9. ^ a b c d Arians, Bruce (July 11, 2017). The Quarterback Whisperer. Hatchette Book Group.
  10. ^ a b Anderson, Lars (August 20, 2015). "Bruce Arians the NFL's Ultimate Quarterback Whisperer". Bleacher Report. Retrieved 2019.
  11. ^ Dulac, Gerry (January 20, 2012). "Steelers' Arians retires from coaching". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2012.
  12. ^ Schefter, Adam (January 28, 2012). "Former Steelers OC Bruce Arians has agreed to become the Colts new OC. He's flying to Indianapolis on Monday to review and sign contract". Twitter. Retrieved 2012.
  13. ^ "Colts coach Chuck Pagano has 'serious illness,' will likely miss several games". Retrieved 2012.
  14. ^ a b Associated Press (January 3, 2013). "Bears get permission to talk with Bruce Arians". The York Dispatch. Archived from the original on March 14, 2014. Retrieved 2013.
  15. ^ Martin, Jill (December 24, 2012). "Colts coach Pagano back on the job after leukemia treatment". CNN.
  16. ^ Rosenthal, Gregg (January 6, 2013). "Bruce Arians in hospital, won't coach Indianapolis Colts". National Football League. Retrieved 2013.
  17. ^ Milner, Barry (February 2, 2013). "Colts interim coach Arians wins top honors". Yahoo! Sports. Archived from the original on February 13, 2013. Retrieved 2013.
  18. ^ Baum, Bob (January 17, 2013). "Cardinals hire Bruce Arians as head coach". Yahoo! Sports. Archived from the original on January 21, 2013. Retrieved 2013.
  19. ^ "Arizona Cardinals in Good Hands with Head Coach Bruce Arians". Archived from the original on February 26, 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  20. ^ "Arizona Cardinals' Bruce Arians wins Coach of the Year".
  21. ^ "Bruce Arians, GM get 4-year deals". ESPN. February 23, 2015. Retrieved 2015.
  22. ^ Sessler, Marc (January 1, 2018). "Bruce Arians retires after five seasons with Cardinals". Retrieved 2018.
  23. ^ Smith, Scott (January 8, 2019). "Bruce Arians Named Buccaneers New Head Coach". Retrieved 2019.
  24. ^ Inabinnet, Mark (March 9, 2019). "Bruce Arians on Jameis Winston: 'No reason he can't be really, really successful'". Retrieved 2019.
  25. ^ Bergman, Jeremy (June 1, 2019). "Bruce Arians: Buccaneers secondary is 'totally fixed'". Retrieved 2019.
  26. ^ "BRUCE ARIANS JOINS CBS SPORTS AS NFL GAME ANALYST". (Press release). May 3, 2018. Retrieved 2018.
  27. ^ Encina, Eduardo A (June 4, 2020). Bruce Arians: 'You would hope as a nation to have grown. ... We have, but not enough, obviously'. Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved June 9, 2020.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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