Bruce Arians

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Former Head Coach, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Diversity⸒ Equity & Inclusion (DEI)
Sports - Coaches
Sports - Football

Bruce Arians: Biography at a Glance

  • Bruce Arians is the former Head Coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Arizona Cardinals.
  • In 2021, he led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a Super Bowl win over the Kansas City Chiefs.
  • Arians' has received praise for giving minority coaches opportunities and his staff made NFL history by becoming the first to have two female coaches in full-time assistant roles.
  • He is a two-time Associated Press NFL Coach of the Year.



Bruce Arians was named the 12th head coach in Tampa Bay franchise history on January 8, 2019. In 2021, he led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to defeat the Kansas City Chiefs and win the Super Bowl.

Arians is a two-time Associated Press NFL Coach of the Year, earning the award in 2012 (Indianapolis Colts) and in 2014 (Arizona Cardinals). He is the only coach in NFL history to earn the award multiple times in a three-year span with different teams and is one of only 12 coaches in NFL history to win the award multiple times.

In his first season with the Buccaneers in 2019, Arians led Tampa Bay to a two-win improvement over the previous season, guiding the team to a 5-3 record over the last eight games to finish 7-9. The team's seven wins were its most since 2016. In addition, the Buccaneers' 5-3 record on the road matched the third-best road mark in team history.

Under Arians' direction, Tampa Bay's offense set franchise records for both points scored (458) and touchdowns (54), while leading the league in passing offense at 302.8 yards per game and ranking third in the NFL in total offense at 397.9 yards per game. On the defensive side of the ball, the Buccaneers boasted the NFL's best-run defense, limiting opponents to 1,181 rushing yards over 16 games (73.8 avg.), the lowest total allowed in a 16-game season in franchise history.

Shaquil Barrett, Mike Evans, and Chris Godwin all earned trips to the 2020 Pro Bowl in their first season under Arians, with Barrett and Godwin also earning AP Second-Team All-Pro honors. Barrett led the NFL with 19.5 sacks, surpassing Warren Sapp (16.5 in 2000) for the single-season franchise record. Evans and Godwin were the best receiving duo in the NFL, combining for 2,490 yards and 17 touchdowns on 153 receptions while becoming just the second pair of Tampa Bay teammates to each go over 1,000 yards receiving in the same season and the first to each top 1,100 yards. Godwin set career-best marks across the board with his 86 receptions, 1,333 receiving yards, and nine touchdowns, finishing third in the NFL in receiving yards and tied for fourth in receiving touchdowns, despite missing the final two games of the season due to injury.

In his first season with Jameis Winston, Arians helped the fifth-year quarterback to the first 5,000-yard passing season in team history. Winston led the league with a team record of 5,109 passing yards and finished second in the NFL with a team-record of 33 passing touchdowns while maintaining 8.16 yards per attempt, which was the second-highest single-season mark in franchise history and ranked sixth in the NFL this season.

Upon being hired by Tampa Bay, Arians quickly built a staff of qualified assistant coaches, bringing on a collection of coaches with decades of NFL experience. In building his staff, Arians also put together one of the most diverse coaching groups in the NFL. The Buccaneers are the only team in the league to have three coordinator positions, as well as the role of assistant head coach, filled by minority coaches. In addition, Arians' staff made NFL history by becoming the first to have two female coaches in full-time assistant roles.

Prior to arriving in Tampa, Arians spent five seasons as the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals (2013-17) in addition to a 12-game stint as interim head coach for the Indianapolis Colts (2012), compiling a regular-season record of 58-33-1. During that 92-game stretch, Arians was a head coach, his 58 wins ranked fourth in the NFL, trailing only Bill Belichick (73), Pete Carroll (63), and Mike Tomlin (59).

Throughout his 26-year NFL career, Arians has worked closely with some of the league's top passers including Pro Bowlers Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Andrew Luck, and Carson Palmer. As an offensive play-caller, Arians has directed top-10 offenses with three different teams (Arizona, Indianapolis, and Pittsburgh) over the last nine seasons of his coaching career. 

During his time in Arizona, the York, Pennsylvania native compiled a 49-30-1 regular-season record (.619 winning percentage). The Cardinals' 49 wins during that span were the seventh-most in the NFL and the third-most in the NFC. Arians won 50 total games in Arizona (49 regular-season, one postseason), finishing his time there as the winningest coach in franchise history. His 49 regular-season wins are also the most by any coach in Cardinals history.

Arians posted three seasons with double-digit wins as the head coach of the Cardinals, including tying the then-franchise best with 11 in 2014. The following season, Arizona established a new franchise record with 13 wins, which also featured the team's first-ever postseason bye and second-ever appearance in the NFC Championship Game.

Under Arians, the Cardinals' offense set several single-season team records, including points scored (489 in 2015), total touchdowns (59 in 2015), total net yards (6,533 in 2015) and first downs (373 in 2015). Arians also helped coach individual players to some of the best seasons of their careers. In 2015, Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer set franchise records for passing yards (4,671), passing touchdowns (35), yards per attempt (8.70), and passer rating (104.6) en route to a Pro Bowl selection. In 2016, running back David Johnson established new team records for rushing touchdowns (16), total touchdowns (20), and yards from scrimmage (2,118) while leading the NFL in total touchdowns and yards from scrimmage. Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald posted the top three seasons for receptions in Cardinals history under Arians and ranked third in the NFL in catches during that span.

Arians came to Arizona after spending the 2012 season with Indianapolis. Hired as the team's offensive coordinator, he also served as the team's interim coach for 12 games while head coach Chuck Pagano was treated for leukemia. He led the Colts to a 9-3 record and was selected as the 2012 AP NFL Coach of the Year. Indianapolis' nine-win improvement (2-14 to 11-5) matched the third-largest single-season turnaround in NFL history.

Arians helped the Colts' offense rank 10th in the NFL in yards (362.4 ypg) and seventh in passing yards (258.0 ypg). Rookie quarterback Andrew Luck – the first overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft – made the Pro Bowl and set rookie records for passing yards (4,374) and 300-yard passing games (six). He also established the NFL single-game rookie record for passing yards (433, 11/4 vs. Miami). Luck finished with the then third-most passing touchdowns by a rookie in NFL history, with 23.

Prior to his time with the Colts, Arians spent eight seasons with the Steelers, five as offensive coordinator (2007-11) and three as the wide receivers coach (2004-06). During his tenure as the offensive coordinator, the Steelers had a 55-25 record, tying Green Bay for the second-best mark in the NFL during that span. Pittsburgh won three AFC North Division titles, two AFC Championships, and earned a victory in Super Bowl XLIII over the Cardinals. Arians was also part of the Steelers' Super Bowl XL win as the team's wide receivers coach.

Under Arians' guidance, Steelers quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger put together some of the best seasons in team history, establishing a then-franchise record with 32 touchdown passes in 2007, recording a then-team record 4,328 passing yards in 2009, and registering a career-high and Steelers-record 104.1 passer rating in 2007. Roethlisberger earned his first career Pro Bowl selection in 2007 under Arians.

In 2009, the Steelers' offense became the first team in NFL history to have a 4,000-yard passer (Roethlisberger), two 1,000-yard receivers (Santonio Holmes, Hines Ward), and a 1,000-yard rusher (Rashard Mendenhall) in the same season.

Before joining the Steelers, Arians spent three seasons as the offensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns (2001-03). He joined Cleveland after spending three seasons with the Colts as the team's quarterbacks coach. Working with offensive coordinator Tom Moore, Arians helped tutor Peyton Manning during his first three seasons in the league and helped him earn Pro Bowl berths in 1999 and 2000.

Arians' first NFL job was with the Kansas City Chiefs, working as the team's running backs coach for four seasons (1989-92). There he helped Christian Okoye to two Pro Bowl selections (1989, 1991). Arians also spent the 1996 season as the tight ends coach for the New Orleans Saints.

Arians' coaching career began as a graduate assistant at his alma mater, Virginia Tech, in 1975, before being elevated to running backs coach in 1977. He spent 1978-80 with Mississippi State as the school's running backs/wide receivers coach before coaching the running backs at Alabama for two seasons (1981-82) under legendary coach Paul "Bear" Bryant. Arians would later return to Mississippi State (1993-95) and Alabama (1997) to serve as the offensive coordinator for the respective schools. He became one of the youngest head coaches in Division I history when Temple University hired him in 1983 at the age of 30. He spent six seasons coaching the Owls (1983-88).

Born in Paterson, New Jersey, Arians grew up in York, Pennsylvania, and played quarterback at Virginia Tech. He and his wife, Christine, have two children – son, Jake, and daughter, Kristi Anne, as well as granddaughters, Presley and Brylee, and grandsons, Asher and Mills.

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