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Bruce Arians should rank above any coach that hasn’t won a Super Bowl

Locked On Bucs co-host David Harrison has thoughts on a recent ranking of NFL head coaches.
Credit: AP
Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians looks on during an NFL football rookie minicamp Friday, May 14, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

TAMPA, Fla. — Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians sits pretty high among accomplished franchise leaders. A Super Bowl title in your second season with the franchise will do that. 

But where does he rank among active NFL coaches when observed by someone outside of the Tampa market? Apparently, according to Patrick Daugherty of NBC Sports, he’s ninth. 

Now, Top 10 isn’t bad, but is it good? First of all, only 25 of the active coaches were ranked. The reasoning behind this is the fact the other seven coaches are in their first years with their respective teams, and therefore have no basis for evaluation as a current head coach. 

For Dan Campbell (Detroit Lions), his previous experience in 14 games was not considered. Seems to be fair. 

Back to Arians, ranking him ninth, Daugherty writes:

“Bruce Arians was comfortable delegating to his coordinators in 2019. For 2020, he chose a higher power. Arians’ team was no longer his alone once he brought Tom Brady aboard, but he kept a surprisingly tight grip on the offense, so much so that it wasn’t working as late as Thanksgiving. Then the mindmeld finally happened. Even as the Bucs got blitzed in their Nov. 29 meeting with the Chiefs, Arians identified it as a turning point. “From there on, we attacked,” Arians said. “I think we were on the same page from there on out.” That was borne out by the stats. Brady entered that Week 12 matchup with a 0.0 QB rating on deep targets over the previous month. That number for the final four games of the season? 138.6. It was the most important adjustment in what Arians deemed a “constant collaboration.” The old war horse met his new quarterback in the middle and was rewarded with a Lombardi Trophy. Good coaching can be as simple as that. It’s true that not everyone has Tom Brady, but even the ones who do don’t always know when to say when (Sorry, BB). A coach who could sometimes be stubborn in Arizona has learned to let go in Tampa. A mini dynasty could be the end result.”

Coming in ahead of Arians are Bill Belichick (New England Patriots), Andy Reid (Kansas City Chiefs), Sean Payton (New Orleans Saints), John Harbaugh (Baltimore Ravens), Sean McVay (Los Angeles Rams), Sean McDermott (Buffalo Bills), Mike Tomlin (Pittsburgh Steelers), and Pete Carroll (Seattle Seahawks).

Not a bad list to be a part of, and plenty of coaches would be happy sitting ninth in that order. While Arians himself isn’t going to likely go public with his opinion he should be sitting atop the list, that’s what we’re here for. 

We’re not going to get too crazy here, but first and foremost I think it’s fair to say Arians should certainly rank ahead of any coach on the list who hasn’t won a Super Bowl at all. 

So, moving B.A. ahead of McDermott and McVay, just like that he’s in seventh place. Ok, now let’s look at those who haven’t been able to sustain success due to roster turnover. Looking at you, Pete Carroll. 

Carroll has accomplished a lot with the Seahawks, and perhaps there’s something to be said about the fact he continues to keep his team competitive despite losing so much talent. Then again, he’s losing so much talent. There’s a reason.

If you have a coach, players are leaving and one they’re joining, the second one gets the nod. Without much effort, Arians is now sixth.

The rest of those coaches are really good, and you could argue all of them should be 1a-f, but one of them deserves to be dropped down in 2021 rankings. I’m talking about Bill Belichick. 

Again, this is a 2021 ranking, right? The man who lost Tom Brady can’t be ranked higher than the one he chose to go play for, can he?

Furthermore, it’s not just the fact Belichick lost Brady, he wasn’t prepared to do so. The New England Patriots fell off in a big way, and when you’re a head coach who also runs the roster you have to bite the bullet on that one. 

We could get even more in the weeds there, but Top 5 among Reid, Tomlin, Harbaugh, and even Sean Payton is where I’ll leave it now. 

Of course, as 2021 takes shape I fully expect Arians to climb this list from outside Tampa even more, as he maintains the top spot in the hearts and minds of Buccaneers fans everywhere.

For more on this story and for more on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, check out the Locked On Bucs Podcast.



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