While Bruce Arians entered the largest stage as head coach late in his professional career, he also used that platform to be an advocate—for football broadly, and for quality football minds wherever they may be found. He has added multiple women to his coaching staff, and has hired black men to all three coordinator positions.
On his way out, he advocated for the promotion of his defensive coordinator, Todd Bowles, to succeed him as head coach. But he hasn’t stopped pushing for his offensive coordinator, Byron Leftwich, either, whom he has vouched for in recent years as a head coaching candidate.
Speaking about what his Tampa Bay Buccaneers have accomplished over the past two years, he continued to push back against claims that deflect credit to his offensive coordinator and push it onto himself or his quarterback.
“I get credit and Brady gets way too much credit for what Byron does with our offense”, he told Arizona Sports 98.7 FM, via Pro Football Talk. “One of the reasons I hope he gets all the credit he deserves this year is to get a coaching gig”.
Arians added that he had about four or five teams who expressed real interest in Leftwich this year, though he did not say how many interviews he may have gone on. We know that the Jacksonville Jaguars are one team that was extremely interested. It even got to a point where it was reported that he was set to be their next head coach. We never got details as to why that fell through, though there had been some suggestion that Leftwich may have backed down due to organizational differences of opinion.
Leftwich is, of course, a former member of the Steelers organization, having played quarterback for the team in 2008, and then in 2010-12. He had a close relationship with his fellow quarterbacks, as well as his offensive coordinator—Bruce Arians.
Arians first hired him in 2016 at a coaching intern with the Arizona Cardinals, where he was head coach. He was named quarterbacks coach a year later. In 2019, after un-retiring, he brought Leftwich over to Tampa Bay and named him the offensive coordinator.
Of course, Leftwich’s quarterback for the past two years has been Tom Brady, with whom the Buccaneers won the Super Bowl in 2020. They lost in the Divisional Round of the postseason this past year, losing to the eventual Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams in a 30-27 game.