Bruce Arians stunningly steps down as Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach; Todd Bowles named successor

Super Bowl-winning head coach Bruce Arians won't be on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers sidelines next season, as he will retire from coaching and take a position in the team's front office, the team announced Wednesday night.

Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles has been named as Arians' successor.

Under Arians, the Buccaneers went from 7-9 in 2019 to NFL champions the following season, defeating the Kansas City Chiefs, 31-9, in Super Bowl 55.

In defense of their title, the Bucs won the NFC South division and a wild-card playoff game last season before falling to the Los Angeles Rams in the divisional round. 

'IT WAS A PRIVILEGE TO PLAY FOR YOU':Tom Brady thanks 'true NFL legend and pioneer' Bruce Arians

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Head coach Bruce Arians and quarterback Tom Brady #12 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers watch from the sidelines during the game against the New Orleans Saints at Raymond James Stadium on December 19, 2021 in Tampa, Florida.

Why would Arians choose to retire now?

"With the organization in probably the best shape it’s been in its history, with Tom Brady coming back … I’d rather see Todd in position to be successful and not have to take some [crappy] job," he told NBC Sports' Peter King. "I’m probably retiring next year anyway, in February. So, I control the narrative right now." 

Brady deciding to return to quarterback the team another season may have ultimately moved up Arians' timeline.

“I thought really hard about going out on top. Then it was like, nah, let’s go for two," he said. "(Last season) was a grind with all the injuries but still winning and getting to where we got. Immediately after, two to three weeks afterwards (I thought) … if I quit, my coaches get fired. I couldn’t do it then.

“Tom was kind of the key. When Tom decided to come back … and all of these guys back now, it’s the perfect timing for me just to go into the front office and still have the relationships that I love.”

His new role with the Bucs will be as a Senior Football Consultant.

Arians, 69, is a two-time NFL coach of the year and has an 80-48-1 record in five seasons with the Arizona Cardinals and three with the Buccaneers. One of those coach of year awards came in 2012, when took over the Indianapolis Colts for 12 games on an interim basis as Chuck Pagano underwent treatment for leukemia.