A “Special” Choice, Says Joel Glazer

January 11th, 2019


Well before Joe Maddon’s wait staff brought out the pasta, the salad and the booze, Bruce Arians knew this Bucs job was appetizing.

By midseason, he realized his new job in the CBS broadcast booth had only whetted his appetite for the NFL sidelines. And once he cleared his plate with Chris, his vivacious wife of 47 years, only one question remained: where were the moving vans headed?

That dinner at Ava, Maddon’s popular bistro in South Tampa, proved to be a pleasant night out in good company, but it was hardly a game-changer. Arians had already decided to take this job and love it, if offered.

Buccaneers co-chairman Joel Glazer

In a meeting with Arians the next day, the Glazers were mesmerized.

“I didn’t know him, but I had watched Bruce through the years,” Joel Glazer told me. “I’ve admired the man for his entire career. He’s a real football coach. His personality is infectious. You can see how Bruce Arians can energize a team.

“Is he confident? Yes. To be in this role, you have to be confident. But he’s got a special confidence, a special personality. People describe him in a really unique way, how he relates to them, how he can motivate them.”

Consider the Glazers duly motivated.

It turns out that Arians had real competition for the job.

Vikings defensive coordinator George Edwards proved to be a serious candidate after a very impressive interview, only one day before Arians met with ownership.

“George was fantastic,” said Jason Licht. “He’s extremely bright and very detailed. I couldn’t say enough good things about him.”

But Edwards lacked head coaching experience at the NFL level and the Glazers kept coming back to the instant turnaround Arians accomplished in 2013, when he inherited a 5-11 Arizona team and immediately won 10 games.

The Cardinals entered the final week of that season with a playoff berth hinging on a victory against the 49ers and a Bucs win in New Orleans. They got neither as Arizona lost 23-20 on a last-second field goal and the Saints crushed Tampa Bay 42-17 in the final game of the forgettable Greg Schiano era.

In a somber Arizona locker room, tackle Eric Winston looked back with pride at the job Arians had turned in as a rookie head coach.

“The one thing that impresses me most is just how much better we are than at the start of the season,” Winston said. “People think that’s everybody, but it’s not. A lot of teams don’t get better during the season. This team is probably the most improved in the league.”

Our Turn

The Glazers can’t help but notice how one or two teams vault from last to first every season and how the playoff field always seems to have at least four or five new members.

Why not here?

“Bruce has vast experience with a great staff that know each other and can hit the ground running,” said Joel Glazer. “We’ve already seen a very positive reaction. Bruce is widely respected throughout football. People admire his work and respect what he’s done over the years. For our fans, it’s been very positive. It’s been exciting. You can feel the energy from our fans.”

For Licht, who worked with Arians as a personnel executive that first year in Arizona, it’s been a very good January. He kept his GM job and landed his first choice to replace Dirk Koetter.

You have to think Licht picked up that tab at Ava a week ago – a small price to pay for success. As the flatbreads and meatballs filled the table, the Arians charm was on full display.

“You could see the confidence,” Licht said. “Justified confidence. And the fact he told us he’s 66 and sexy.”

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20 Responses to “A “Special” Choice, Says Joel Glazer”

  1. TexBuc Says:

    The Bruce is coming

  2. TOM Says:

    I know Licht gets a lot of credit for hiring BA but lets not forget the Glazers should get just as much credit. I’ve been very critical of the Glazers & Licht in the past but to a degree I think they have redeemed themselves. Now they need to let BA do his thing & stand aside. He should have the final say in the draft & player FA.

  3. Mike Johnson Says:

    Sometimes in Life..The stars just align themselves for you. It does not happen often. Its what i tell young kids, The windows of opportunity open sometimes in your life. And you have to go thru or miss it. We are lucky Arians wanted to come out of retirement and coach again. I have been a very big critic of my Bucs and the Glazers. Because I hate us losing so much. But this feels different than the Koetter/Smitty hire. I see good things in our future.

  4. SFNJ Says:

    Watched the PC again… Who’s the schlub all laid out next to the guy that asked the first question? Damn…show some respect, sit up straight and act like you are at least a little interested in what’s going on.

  5. Defense Rules Says:

    Best piece you’ve written IMO Ira. It really gets ‘behind the scenes’ & provides a view of not just Bruce Arians but also the Glazers that I haven’t seen anyone cover to this point. There’s no doubt in my mind that what you wrote … “Arians had already decided to take this job and love it, if offered” … is 100% accurate. I don’t think it was ever about Cleveland; BA I think sees the POTENTIAL in the Bucs that he saw in his 2013 Cardinals. THAT’S super exciting.

    Also convinced though that the Glazers desperately wanted an experienced HC with a proven track record of turning a team around quickly & WINNING. Barring Andy Reid quitting the Chiefs & showing up here, Bruce Arians filled that square better than any of the other candidates. The fact that he already had a relationship with Jameis was just icing on the cake I think.

    I personally don’t expect Coach Arians to be our HC for more than 2-3 years, BUT … I do believe that he’ll be a driving factor in Bucs football for many many years after that as a ‘consultant’ (his term not mine). He’ll rapidly become the patriarch of this Bucs ‘family’ IMO. And in that capacity, I fully agree with Tom’s comment … “Now they (Glazers & Licht) need to let BA do his thing & stand aside. He should have the final say in the draft & player FA.”

  6. 813bucboi Says:


    bang bang dirk….lol

    the most telling part was glazer saying,” he’s a real football coach”….lol…

    #GO BUCS!!!!

  7. __TGH__ Says:

    We need Bucco to be a Defense whisperer more than a QB whisperer. The way I see it, we already had a pretty good offense. What Bowles can do with the defense will determine how far the Bucs go in 2019, not necessarily the strides Arians can make with Jameis.

    Jameis won’t need to press so much if he can play with a lead rather than from behind.

  8. Loyaltotheend Says:

    Not excited for the hire as we are not getting Arians the QB whispering play caller we are getting Arians the CEO who delegates the development of Jameis to Byron Leftwich and Clyde Christensen

    Don’t be fooled by the media and buy into the false hope, again

  9. JimmyJack Says:

    Awww Loyal. That last sentence is a great life lesson.

    That’s why I love sports. Life lessons need not apply……..So my response to you is go get you a six pack. Put it on ice. Get in your car & drive to Ray Jay with your red flag and prepare to use your voice box!!!!!!!

    GO BUCS!!!!!!!

    I wanna get to The Dance 2019!!!!!

  10. Kobe Faker Says:

    “It was, It is and It will always be about the QB…

    TOO MUCH!!Getting tired of all this lovie dovie. Too much lipstick…getting seas sick

    Can BA make JW play so that he can decide games. With the salary cap in the present NFL it is tough to build a great overall team. The best and only way to consistently win year after year for the next 10 years is to have the QB that can dictate wins/outcome of games on his shoulders

    *Kobe is scared of the capability of OC Leftwrich. Is next year the development of Bryon playcalling instead of the development of Jameis skills?

    We have stated the positives of BA”s coaching and character to a nauseam. There has been 1 negative that he has carried with him for the last 40 years…

    BA being too loyal to a fault toward his friends and staff to the detriment of the team and franchise

    The older you get, the harder to change?”

    Kobe realist Faker

  11. Lord Cornelius Says:


    That’s my hope as well. If he can be the catalyst for a true culture change – especially when it comes to what has been one of the softest defenses in the league for at least 10 years now, and the catalyst to getting WInston playing a top 5-10 level consistently going forward, his impact will be felt long after he’s gone, even if he just straight up retired and wasn’t involved in the organization after the fact.

  12. Lord Cornelius Says:


    That’s definitely the biggest unknown variable – Leftwhich as OC under Arians. At least they have experience coaching together already

  13. RODNEY J ALLEN Says:

    Tom I agree n honestly I think Dirk had a big say in our draft n fa so I think JL will do the same with BA but BA will be alot better at selecting players cuz he know both sides of the ball so well

  14. Kobe Faker Says:


    compared to last 3 years, JW will get alot of attension with 3 guys all over him

    BA,Bryon and Christensen will be pushing him

    *I have read and I am positive that JW leaked out was that he wanted the close relationship similar to what he had in with Lovie years

    Klueless was a x and o nerd. so far he bombed improving blaine gabbert and making JW better. the rookie and young QBs needs a close relationship with the mentor…thats why i believe Klueless does better with a veteran older QB

    *BA is going to make OJ Howard a HOF player

    *BA still needs that pass catching RB

    Kobe Faker

  15. Bruce Blahak Says:

    The Temple Buccaneers 🙂 …Bruce is Va.Tech alum, Add the Fuller boys at CB, acquire Leonard Williams(guy we should have drafted over Winston), T.Mathieu and Clay Matthews for pass rush… and this defense will be fixed! 🙂

  16. Defense Rules Says:

    Kobe … Loyalty isn’t a bad thing, IF you have great people around you who are productive. Problems seem to come in when they stop being productive & you still keep them around anyways. That was Lovie’s problem (with his sons especially) & also Dirk’s problem (with several on his staff who weren’t getting the job done).

    And if I understand right, BA will be doing the play-calling, not Byron Leftwich. Didn’t like Koetter being dual-hatted, but in Coach Arians’ case, he’s been doing it for a loooong time so I don’t see it as a biggie. Plus he’s got a very experienced staff coming with him & he’s obviously very good at delegating ‘stuff’.

    Curious though why you mentioned JW & OJ & needing a “pass catching RB” but not a thing about needing a much-improved OLINE (first & foremost). Without fixing that, the rest of this 11-cylinder offense will be running on 6-cylinders.

  17. Kobe Faker Says:


    Yes we need a better and improved oline

    and i hope webster and liedtke gets a real chance to start and show

    I know it sounds crazy but I think these 2 are better than Don Smith and Bennoch if given a fair chance

    Kobe Faker

  18. 813bucboi Says:

    this defense needs to get younger not older….draft heavy defense…add a piece or 2 thru FA for the defense….we need to focus on FA olinemen(even tho they havent been kind to us lately)…lol…

    #GO BUCS!!!!

  19. 813bucboi Says:


    i agree…more like 4-cylinders…

    #GO BUCS!!!!

  20. GhostofSchiano Says:

    Lord Cornelius Says:


    That’s definitely the biggest unknown variable – Leftwhich as OC under Arians. At least they have experience coaching together already

    I will take that over the monken vs Koetter play calling. Did Monken really call that run up the middle? Oh no wait a minute Koetter took over playcalling duties ten minutes ago. Oh that was a great pass and catch, oh Monken was back calling plays?

    I just want to forget the 2018 season.