For the first time in his head-coaching career, Tampa Bay coach Bruce Arians is going to the Super Bowl.
The former Virginia Tech quarterback returned to the sideline in 2019 after stepping away from the game after the 2017 season. Arians was previously the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals for five seasons.
Arians returned to coach the Buccaneers in 2019, but the team struggled at times due to quarterback Jameis Winston’s turnovers. In the offseason, Tampa Bay signed the greatest quarterback of all-time in former New England Patriot, Tom Brady.
The Bucs finished the regular season with an 11-5 record. However, they won their final four games and have now won seven games in a row, including the playoffs.
Before he finally received an opportunity to become a head coach at Arizona in 2013, Arias was a longtime NFL assistant. His work with the Indianapolis Colts in 2012, when he stepped in as interim head coach when Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with cancer, opened eyes around the league.
Arians previously won two Super Bowls during his time with the Pittsburgh Steelers from 2004-11, where he began as a wide receivers coach before becoming offensive coordinator.
Arians played at Virginia Tech from 1972-74. He was the starting quarterback in 1974 when Tech ran the wishbone. He would rush for 11 touchdowns that season, then a school record, since broken by Jerod Evans in 2016.
Also on Tampa Bay’s staff is safeties coach Nick Rapone, a teammate of Arians’ with the Hokies. Joining Arians and Rapone at the Super Bowl will be Cody Grimm. Grimm, a defensive assistant, was an All-ACC linebacker for the Hokies in 2009 and was also a major part of two ACC championship teams.
The Buccaneers play the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV on Feb. 7.