In a time where it is virtually impossible for qualified black coaches to fill head coaching roles in the NFL, Bruce Arians took matters into his own hands. With the surprising announcement that Arians is stepping into a front office role with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, defensive coordinator Todd Bowles is taking over as the new head coach.
As Arians’ longtime friend and colleague, the Buccaneers appear to be all-in on Bowles, signing him to a five-year contract that replaces the remaining two years on his previous defensive coordinator contract.
Todd Bowles was previously the head coach of the New York Jets from 2015 to 2018 (24-40 record) and had a short stint as interim coach of the Miami Dolphins for three games to end the 2011 season, going 2-1. He also served as Arian’s defensive coordinator with the Arizona Cardinals.
Widely known for creating opportunities for diversity on his staff, Arians has always been an advocate for Bowles throughout this career. In fact, he even passed up a job that did not agree with his desire to hire Bowles at the time.
Bowles becomes the sixth minority head coach currently in the NFL along with Mike Tomlin (Pittsburg Steelers), Robert Saleh (New York Jets), Ron Rivera (Washington Commanders), Mike McDaniel (Miami Dolphins), and Love Smith (Houston Texans). Bowles is also the fourth Black coach in Bucs history, joining Tony Dungy, Raheem Morris and Lovie Smith.
Arians will leave the Buccaneers coaching positive with many accomplishments including a 31-18 record in three seasons with the Buccaneers. He has the highest win percentage of any coach in Buccaneers history and ranks fourth in wins despite only coaching three years.
Arians also won five playoff games with the Bucs and led them to a Super Bowl win in 2021. Below is his text message to the team announcing his transition.