TAMPA, Fla. – Seconds after linebacker Devin White intercepted a cross in the long run zone, Tampa Bay coach Bruce Arians began doling out hugs. Gamers, assistants, staffers, all of them bought in line.
Arians unplugged his headset, slipped on a Tremendous Bowl championship hat and braced for the normal Gatorade bathe. He didn’t even attempt to keep away from it.
After defensive lineman Vita Vea and William Gholston emptied the bucket on his head and shoulders, Arians raised each arms and turned to the stands to — fairly actually — soak all of it in.
It wasn’t Arians saying goodbye, both.
“Hell, no,” he stated. “I ain’t going wherever. I’m coming again to attempt to get two and we’ll see after that.”
The 68-year-old Arians made historical past by turning into the oldest head coach in NFL historical past to win a Tremendous Bowl when the Buccaneers routed the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs 31-9 Sunday evening.
Arians bumped New England’s Invoice Belichick from the highest spot. Belichick was 66 when the Patriots — additionally with Tom Brady at quarterback — beat the Los Angeles Rams two years in the past.
Arians can add that to a powerful resume that now contains three Tremendous Bowl rings — he gained two as an assistant with Pittsburgh — and extra proof that he’s among the best offensive minds in league lore.
The person nicknamed the “Quarterback Whisperer” for his work with Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Andrew Luck and Carson Palmer got here out of retirement to teach the Buccaneers, made a daring resolution to maneuver on from proficient however turnover-prone Jameis Winston a yr in the past after which lured essentially the most embellished quarterback in NFL historical past to Tampa.
Collectively, Arians and the 43-year-old Brady helped Tampa Bay win its first championship in 18 years and cemented their spot within the franchise historical past books.
Brady was one of many first to get to Arians after White picked off Patrick Mahomes with 1:33 remaining. They’d a prolonged embrace earlier than Brady strapped on his helmet and jogged onto the sphere to take three knees and set off an excellent greater celebration.
Crimson, white and black confetti blasted into the air and finally lined the sphere. The cannons from the Bucs pirate ship blasted after which fireworks lit up the sky over Raymond James Stadium.
Arians made his method to midfield to trade a handshake and phrases with Kansas Metropolis coach Andy Reid. Arians then rejoined the occasion and finally made his method to the stage to just accept the Lombardi Trophy.
It was simply 4 years in the past that Arians stepped down in Arizona for well being causes. He took a yr off and labored in tv earlier than returning to the NFL with Tampa Bay — becoming a member of a younger staff he noticed as stuffed with potential. Did he ever envision this occurring?
“No, probably not,” he stated. “I believe I’d have been smoking one thing unlawful to essentially think about this.”
He surrounded himself with an sterling workers, yet one more numerous than any in league historical past. He had three Black coordinators and a feminine assistant coach. Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles may have been named MVP. Offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich known as a virtually flawless sport outdoors a failed fourth-down name on the aim line.
“I simply attempt to get out of the best way and never screw it up,” Arians stated.
His greatest coup was touchdown Brady, who engineered one more masterpiece and gained his seventh Tremendous Bowl after six titles with the Patriots.
Brady and the Bucs have been 7-5 following a Week 12 loss to the Chiefs. However didn’t lose once more, successful their closing eight video games. The final three have been rematches: they beat NFC South champion New Orleans and No. 1 seed Inexperienced Bay on the highway earlier than turning into the primary time in NFL historical past to earn the possibility to play a Tremendous Bowl of their dwelling stadium.
Brady did what he does finest. And the protection got here up large, a a lot better efficiency that what it placed on the sphere within the first sport towards the Chiefs. The unit harassed Mahomes early and infrequently, intercepting two passes and sacking him thrice.
“They chased him round all evening,” Arians stated. “Patrick wasn’t going to beat us operating. Let him run round all day.”
The Bucs ended up doing all of the operating after the sport: across the area, by confetti and getting in line to hug Arians.
“I’m glad I’m celebrating with an excellent group of men,” linebacker Lavonte David stated. “We’re going to be remembered.”
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