Tyrod has one, Chancellor, there are more, Hokies sporting Super Bowl Rings, but this one - if it happens - might be one of the most special for us. You see, he does have a big honking ring, actually two from my team, the Steelers; but Bruce Arians is pushing hard to pull one in as a head coach, and that's pretty amazing stuff for a coach that seemed to be stuck as a permanent assistant while someone else pulls in all of the glory at the top. Not too many folks remember the assistant coaches who won Super Bowl gold and diamonds. They remember MVPs, great plays, quarterbacks, other star players, and Head Coaches.
Arians coached in two tough Super Bowls. He coached the wide receivers when Roethlisberger's championship appearance wasn't his Big Ben best and the gadget flanker option pass from Antwan Randel El to Hines Ward was the highlight of Super Bowl XL. BA's next ring is marked by what people will remember "The Final Drive" against his current team the Cardinals when a much better and more accomplished Roethlisberger hit Santonio Holmes for that tippy toe in the end zone for the big final score. As the Offensive Coordinator for that game, it was Arian's doing, but nobody really remembers that bit of football trivia.
What people will remember is that IF Bruce Arians makes it all the way through this season to the big show; and Carson Palmer stays healthy and all the stars line up, Virginia Tech might have its first Super Bowl winning Head Coach.
Bruce Arians was a quarterback from a different era of VPI football. It's funny to see pictures of him, and films tall svelte long curly hair big sideburns, so mid 1970's it was painful. We really need to remember that Brue Arians was our starting quarterback in 1974. Tech ran a Wishbone offense back then, so his passing stats don't really look like much in the way of fantastic for modern football but Arians could run. Of course the Independent Virginia Polytechnic Institute Fighting Gobblers of 1974 were not much to write home to your mother to brag about. The record that season ended up 4 and 7, and everyone went home for Christmas. Arians stayed as a graduate assistant from 1975 until 1977. What is more than interesting is his trip through the remainder of his career was highlighted with a two year stint under ‘Bear' Bryant at Alabama. He had a five year hitch at Temple as their head coach. He did two turns at various positions at Mississippi State, and another at Alabama. He earned his two Super Bowl rings under two different head coaches at the Pittsburgh Steelers from 2004 to 2011. And took the Indianapolis Colts to the playoffs as their interim Head Coach; for which he was awarded a Coach of the Year. All of that attracted the attention of the Arizona Cardinals (a team that he helped beat in Super Bowl XLIII) and was so good he won the Coach of the Year Award again.
Along the way he coached NFL greats like Todd Bowles who is now the Head Coach of a very successful NY Jets team, and a certain Indianapolis Colts great QB, Payton Manning, from 1998 until 2000. Arians developed something of a wide open spread it out take a shot downfield sort of attitude that you rarely see in football anymore. His offense counted on making a defense cover the entire field and account for his knack for calling any play in any given situation. Part of the reason why he finally parted company with Pittsburgh (Much to my chagrin... as much as I like Mike Tomlin, I was hoping that the Steelers were going to consider Arians for HC.) Well it took a couple of years and a trip side trip covering for a dear friend (Pagano) fought leukemia, and there is Bruce Arians with his signature "Go Fast" cap... headset and play sheet in hand, turning the Arizona Cardinals back into a winning football team.
So, Bruce Arians is the ultimate Hokie. He's been great places, done amazing things, and not enough people noticed, until now and I would like everyone to take a break and watch an exciting football game before the season ends. BA has the Cardinals firing on all cylinders, and even though he's lost ‘Honeybadger' for the season to a torn ACL, Virginia Tech still has a great alumni coach on the edge of "taking it to the house".
So when we think of Hokies in the NFL, and start pulling the stats for Tyrod (which are very good, and improving every game), to the Fuller Brothers, and catching the game as the leader of the Legion of Boom (Cam Chancellor) turns the Seahawks around, it would be a really good thing to remember that not every Hokie in the NFL is a player. There is one who is a coach, and a really excellent one at that. I am not a Cardinals fan. It's just not a team on my radar; but I am a huge Bruce Arians fan. All Hokies can be proud of him he represents the best of Ut Prosim.