Report: Bucs Were Set To Hire Bill O’Brien Last Season To Call Plays For Bruce Arians

January 7th, 2023

“Jason, just tell me we’re going to score more than 18 points a game.”

Here’s a fun nugget to stimulate your brain on a Saturday night.

About a year ago, our beloved Buccaneers were ready to hire former Patriots and Texans playcaller Bill O’Brien, per a new report by

Bucco Bruce Arians was head coach and he was nearly certain that then and current offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich was going to be hired as Jacksonville’s next head coach. So the Bucs had a backup plan in place, per the Times, “The Bucs contacted O’Brien, who would have replaced Leftwich. But it all fell apart when the Jaguars hired Doug Pederson, who won a Super Bowl with the Eagles.”

In the South Park tradition, Joe is calling “shenanigans.”

On January 24 of last year, Joe asked Arians if he would call plays if Leftwich left the team.

“Coach, if [Byron] Leftwich were to move on, would you consider calling plays next season? Or is that completely off your coaching plate at this point?”

Arians replied: “There would be a really good chance [of me calling plays], yes.”

Arians went on to explain that his 2022 playcalling preparation during game weeks would be lightened by staff, so it wouldn’t be the same burden he took on — and said he could no longer handle — as a head coach/playcaller in Arizona.

But if a seasoned playcaller like O’Brien was lined up to be hired, would he really come to the Bucs to just learn from Arians and prep his gameplan?

Something doesn’t add up.

The Jaguars hired Doug Pederson to be their head coach on Feb. 3. (Man, they sure dodged a bullet.)

For months, Joe has talked with Sage columnist Ira Kaufman publicly about O’Brien being a likely fit to be the next Bucs offensive coordinator. For years, O’Brien had the same agent as Bucs general manager Jason Licht (that may still be the case), and the two were close friends years ago and worked together in New England.

If the Times report is indeed accurate, then one could assume Tom Brady was willing to play for O’Brien before the Bucs and O’Brien reached a verbal agreement. So perhaps Brady still wants to?

16 Responses to “Report: Bucs Were Set To Hire Bill O’Brien Last Season To Call Plays For Bruce Arians”

  1. Ryan Says:


    Only way that makes sense is if Arians had a feeling he was going to step down and he wanted to give O’Brien to Bowles.

  2. Derek Says:

    No podcast this week feels strange

  3. 99 55 47 20 Says:

    Of all weeks smh … perhaps Joes prefer the extra clicks of readers checking if one is posted yet. All season its been delayed more and more … but this week it was disheartening. Deuces to this site

  4. adam from ny Says:

    what happened?…is ira too busy with young cozmo?


  5. sasquatch Says:

    It would be off-base to assume that O’Brien would be Todd Bowles’ first choice. Licht and Arians aren’t going to shove him down Bowles’ throat. Now, it’s possible Bowles and Arians see eye to eye on this one, which wouldn’t be a bad thing, but it’s far from safe to assume.

    As to Arians comments on calling plays if Byron had left, I don’t think you can make anything out of them. Answers to hypotheticals often change when the hypothetical gets closer to reality. Arians is certainly entitled to change his mind or to mislead the media about his intentions if he didn’t want to feed speculation.

  6. steele Says:

    If O’Brien were OC, or better yet, HC/OC, this team would not be the mess that it it is. Immediate competence, he and Brady fully in charge.

    Not gonna happen if Bowles is the HC.

  7. Anthony Says:

    Still could have replaced Leftwhich. He coaches not to lose. Different then coaching to win

  8. 941bucsfan Says:

    O brien never had a top 10 scoring offense even in Houston even with a dynamic qb like watson… I dont care what he did in new england a decade ago

  9. Tim Says:


  10. Bucsfan13 Says:

    If they hire Bill, Brady will definitely stay. He and Bill are very close, and they worked well together. They ran the uptempo offense in NE that was deadly.

  11. Bucobill999 Says:

    Yeah cuz bruce aint a b.s’er or anything

  12. Joshua porter Says:

    No pods this week I guess?? Wish u guys were on as much as crappy pewter report…..

  13. NEfan Says:

    941, O’Brien was the OC for NE before McDaniels. Maybe O’Brien was set to be the next HC not Bowles. O’Brien would have been a great OC and or HC. Hopkins and Watson got him chased out of Houston. Two premadonas.

  14. 1#bucsfan Says:

    Bye 99. You keeping saying your done with this site yet you keep reading and commenting. As the good ole saying goes bye Felicia

  15. Cobraboy Says:

    Dump Leftwich now and let Brady be OC for the playoffs.

    It could not be worse than Leftwich.

  16. TampaBayRudy Says:

    “Hands off to Patterson, he walks in for a touchdown” — against Todd Bowles Buccaneers? This sounds like fiction