Should Buccaneer’s former head coach Bruce Arians, be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame?
If you look at Arians on the field record (80-48-1 .624) and one Super Bowl Championship, you can certainly make a case that Arians should have a bust in Canton.
Arians is third all-time in win percentage among Hall of Fame coaches at .624. Only Don Shula at .677 and George Halas at .682 have a better win percentage than Arians.
He is also seventh all-time win percentage among NFL coaches, trailing Shula, Halas, Curly Lambeau, Chuck Noll, and Bill Parcells.
Arians retired with a 31-17-1 record with Tampa Bay and one Super Bowl Championship. Arians also owns the best win percentage in Buccaneers history.
There are eleven NFL owners or former owners in the Hall of Fame. All of these owners were inaugurated into the Hall for being pioneers as founders of the NFL or making the NFL a lot of money.
There are Tim and Wellington Mara. Both are in the Hall of Fame for owning the New York Giants. Dan Rooney and son Dan Jr. also have a bust in Canton for owning the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Tim Mara and Dan Rooney are in the Hall of Fame, more for being pioneers of the NFL than for ownership of an NFL team.
Bert Bell is the Hall not so much for his ownership of the Philadelphia Eagles but for being NFL commissioner from 1946-to 1959.
Charles Bidwell has a bust in the Hall for his ownership of the Chicago Cardinals from 1933-to 1947.
Al Davis owned the Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders until his death in 2010 and coached the Raiders in the 1960s.
Eddie DeBartolo owned the San Francisco 49ers during their run of Super Bowl appearances in the 1980s and early 1990s.
Ralph Wilson, the late owner of the Buffalo Bills, is in the Hall not for owning the Bills but for saving the AFL from extinction in the 1960s.
George Preston Marshall is in the Hall as one of the founders of the NFL. He owned the Washington Redskins, and they were nothing special under his ownership.
Geroge Halas was the founder of the NFL and coach of the Chicago Bears for over 40 years. Curly Lambeau is in the Hall, but more for his coaching of the Green Bay Packers than his team ownership. Lamar Hunt, the founder of the AFL and the Kansas City Chiefs owner, has a bust in Canton.
Jerry Jones is in the Hall of Fame. For what? The only reason I can think of is his ownership of the Dallas Cowboys and helping the NFL make a lot of money.
Many of these owners have done nothing spectacular to deserve such an honor. Yet they are in the Hall of Fame.
Truthfully, Rooney, Halas, Mara, Marshall, and Lamar Hunt are the only owners deserving to be in Canton. If you’re a good ole boy owner and well-liked, you have a good chance of being immortalized in Canton. That seems to be the main criteria these days.
This brings me back to Bruce Arians. No other coach has done more to champion minorities and women entering the coaching ranks than Bruce Arians.
Arians grew up in York, PA. His best friends were African-Americans. When Arians went away to college at Virginia Tech, he was the first football player in history to have a black roommate James Barber. The father of twin sons, Tiki and Ronde, who would have outstanding NFL careers. He would at times babysit the twins while dad and mom went out.
Troy Vincent, who is the NFL’s executive vice president of football operations, had this to say about Arians. “Unequivocally, no coach has been more committed in words and deed to minority coaching mobility than Bruce Arians. Coach Arians has been intentional in providing opportunities through job shadows, internships, fellowships, and hiring coordinators and assistant coaches. Enough cannot be said about the example he sets, except that more should take his lead.”
Arians had 11 African-American assistants on his staff and two women in full-time roles.
Arians and the Buccaneers were and continue to be the only team in the NFL with African American coaches in all three coordinator positions. Todd Bowles, the defensive coordinator. Byron Leftwich, offensive coordinator, and Keith Armstrong as the special team’s coordinator,
Arians also hired two women for his staff, Lori Locust and Maral Javadifar. Maral Javadifar is an assistant strength and conditioning coach, and Lori Locust is an assistant defensive line coach.
There is no coach in the NFL that has done more to promote minorities and African-Americans to the coaching ranks than Bruce Arians.
For this reason alone, Arians deserves to have a bust in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The Buccaneers organization has always given African-Americans opportunities to coach in the NFL. They are the only team with four Black head coaches—Tony Dungy, Raheem Morris, Lovie Smith, and now Todd Bowles.
Arians will have to wait five years before being eligible for enshrinement. If Jerry Jones and Al Davis, who are considered trailblazers who helped the NFL become the greatest league in sports today, are in Canton, then you have to enshrine Bruce Arians.
Bruce Arians will get that call one day. It’s just a matter of when.