“What The Hell Happened?”

April 4th, 2022


It seems when Todd Bowles learned that his long-time coach, mentor and friend, Bucs Super Bowl-winning coach Bucco Bruce Arians, was stepping down, his reaction was the same as Joe’s and probably many others.

“What the hell happened?”

That’s what Bowles told Albert Breer of SI.com was going through his mind when Bowles called Arians as Bowles landed at the Charlotte airport on Monday, responding to a request from Arians to get back to him.

Bowles called him, still on the plane. Arians asked when Bowles would be back in Tampa; Bowles said he’d be there about 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday. Arians said he wanted to tell Bowles in person. Tell me what in person?

“And he said he was gonna step aside and name me the head coach,” Bowles said over the phone on Thursday. “I was like, You gotta be kidding me. Immediately, I thought something happened. Initially, it’s that—What the hell happened? You sure? He said, yeah, he’d thought about it for a long time, and when I get back, we could talk more. Hung up the phone. And all day, I’m like, You gotta be kidding me.”

Joe knows Arians had left the NFL owners’ meetings and had texted JoeBucsFan.com columnist Ira Kaufman that he was under the weather. So Joe’s immediate thought was something healthwise happened to Arians.

It seemed Bowles was thinking similar thoughts.

There are other cool nuggets that Breer unearthed in his column:

* All along Arians had planned that Bowles would be his successor and Jason Licht was on board with this.

* Arians first brought up the subject of resigning to Licht weeks earlier over drinks but Licht thought, it was just Arians thinking out loud. Licht didn’t believe Arians was serious about pulling the plug at that time.

* It was Licht who broke the news to Team Glazer. Arians’ first call when he made his decision was to Licht. His second, to Brady. As soon as Licht hung up with Arians, he called Team Glazer.

* Breer, like others, claims there was friction between Arians and Brady but not to the point Brady would demand Arians leave. In fact, Breer points out it wasn’t all that major, just that Brady wasn’t used to Arians’ loose ship.

* Arians “empowered” both Brady and Jason Pierre-Paul to be the sheriffs in town. If someone didn’t march on orders as directed, they had to deal with Brady and/or JPP. This was new to Brady as Bill Belicheat wore the badge in New England.

Per Breer, Brady and Bowles already have a relationship. And per Breer, Bowles is more Bill Parcells than Arians as a coach, which should make Brady feel more comfortable since he likes such a tight ship.

28 Responses to ““What The Hell Happened?””

  1. Bucaroo Says:

    Bowles was on the market and had some interviews, according to reports, but was not hired. Had he been hired, that might’ve been a disaster. I am glad that it all worked out in the end. LFG!

  2. Listnfrmafar Says:

    Joe you missed something, when BA called Brady, Brady said “Thanks BA but I already knew”. Was the JPP, Brady enforcer in a past or recent discussion? Unless I missed something JPP hasn’t signed yet.

  3. #8 Says:

    BA is a Red Lectroid. Bowles has saved us.

  4. Ron says Says:

    Arians is a great HC and also coordinator but most of all he is good person, this allows Bowles to discipline the ship and Bruce to float around and influence the team. As long as no one puts their egos above the team this we give us a great coaching structure and this team should thrive.

  5. Casual Observer Says:

    I think Ron, and others, are right. I like Bowles. Let’s get another ring!

  6. View from 132 Says:

    Good offseason drama, but once they kickoff all this doesn’t matter. Win or you suck. No excuses and doesn’t matter who is coaching. That’s why we watch the NFL.

    Until then… where is JoeBanditsFan?

  7. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    #8 Says
    “BA is a Red Lectroid. Bowles has saved us.”

    If only Joe could save us from people like you, troll.

  8. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    View from 132, out of the loop…are the Bandits back?

  9. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I believe it’s difficult for most fans to accept that there are actual motivations other than monetary….other than working…..and, other than winning.

    I believe in Arians case….at the end of his very long NFL career….legacy was his motivation and he saw it as the perfect time to hand over the reins to Bowles.

    Sure, there may have been a rift…..so what….if BA wanted to stay HC, he’d be there right now…with or without Brady.

    If legacy was BA’s motivation, and I believe it was, he should be admired for it.

  10. JAMEISLOVER3 Says:

    I’m just sick and tired of fradulent old Brady please bring back Jameis we need a real QB and leader

  11. #8 Says:

    Whoa Bonzai…figured you’d enjoy the reference. (btw…BA is sort of ‘red’ so it fits)

    While I’m not a true ‘Bucs’ fan, nor do I profess to be, I am a TB12 fan, thus have been rooting for the Bucs.

    Zero trolling here.

  12. ricky Says:

    Do media ever stop and think maybe it is a health and personal issue.
    What if he is not ready to share with the entire world that he has a health issue?
    Cant we talk about draft instead?
    give the guy some privacy.

  13. Wesley Says:

    Can we stop beating this dead horse?

  14. Wesley Says:

    Can we please stop beating this dead horse?

  15. Eric Says:

    So after decades of hard work Bruce Arians declined to coach a potential super bowl championship team, quarterbacked by the greatest player of all time.

    I’d say just about every coach in the league, and many outside the league, would jump at the chance.

    Heck Bud Grant would probably take the gig.

    No matter how many times it is addressed, or additional tidbits of info come forward, it still makes zero sense.

  16. Joe Says:

    Can we stop beating this dead horse?

    Horse is very much alive. Will be for maybe years. There are thousands of stories in Joe’s archives you can read if you don’t care about a subject.

  17. ricky Says:

    Hey Eric,
    If it makes sense for the people involved doesnt have to make sense for anybody else, including you.

  18. ricky Says:

    Joe, you should focus more on the football side than on the drama.
    some of your competitors are growing quickly and are doing a really good job.
    i love this website but i rather read about football than he said she said.
    and yes for us bucs fan it is a dead horse. for the haters is not

  19. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Would be interesting to know the circumstances around Brady’s decision to come back from retirement.
    Did Bucs organization ask Brady to come back to help out Bowles’ chances of success and allow Arians to retire?
    or, Was Brady’s decision to unretire totally unrelated to the coaching situation?
    I think the former. I believe Brady and family had a genuine regard as did Arians for the continuity and future success of the coaching staff.

  20. Bucsfan4ever Says:

    Joebanditsfan sounds pretty cool, if the USFL actually makes it back
    That was like 35 years ago.
    They just got a little too big for their britches.
    The Birmingham Stations we’re our nemisis.
    I THINK Steve Spurrier was the coach.

  21. Goatfarmer Says:

    Would be interesting to know if Todd had heard of Cooper Kupp before.

  22. Bucsfan4ever Says:

    I don’t give them much hope though I loved them 27 rears ago.

  23. Bucsfan4ever Says:


  24. View from 132 Says:

    To those out of the loop – Bonzai… – yes, Bandits return on TV on Easter. Night game on FS1. All games in Birmingham this season for all 8 teams, but will be televised.

  25. Bucboy Says:

    “What the hell happened?”

    Bowles said that because he well knew of the friction between Brady and Arians and figured the two must have had a blowup.

  26. Bush's Coke Spoon Says:

    #8 Says:
    “While I’m not a true ‘Bucs’ fan, nor do I profess to be, I am a TB12 fan, thus have been rooting for the Bucs.”

    Wow. All this time I thought #8 was a reference to Mike Glennon. 😉

  27. stpetebucsfan Says:

    Part of the problem is everybody is looking for the silver bullet. What was the reason for this decision.

    Everybody wants ONE reason. BA’s health may not have been the determinant but it was probably a factor. Perhaps BA is more of a family man than we give him credit for and he listened to his WIFE talk about 32 families of his assistant coaches.

    And here is something that younger dudes seem to have trouble grasping. What is life and death when your 30…40..50 begins to diminish in importance as you age. There are OTHER fish to fry. I’ve had a half dozen “careers”, I loved them all but do not miss any of them. There are new horizons!!!

    What was left for Bruce to accomplish after he won that SB? Seriously!
    Perhaps he was smart enough to also realize a large part of the NFL fire in his belly had dissipated.

  28. Anonymous Says:

    St Pete Bucs fan you are spot on correct. All these talking heads/so called experts understand dram sells, brings clicks to stories on websites, viewers to shows, etc. The simple truth just doesn’t sell as well. People can’t seem to grasp that a 70 year old man who coached for over 40 years and achieved the highest honors might not want to go through the grind necessary to stay on top and would prefer to seal his legacy by passing the torch to a protege he mentored while that Coach has an opportunity to succeed.