February 1, 2021
By Frank Pingue
(Reuters) – With a commitment to both gender and racial quality, Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians has assembled the NFL’s most diverse coaching staff which will be on full display when his team takes the field in the Super Bowl on Sunday.
Under Arians, who has long advocated for greater diversity in NFL hiring practices, the Bucs are the only NFL team where all four major coordinators are Black and the only one with two women in full-time coaching positions.
“First thing a player is going to ask a coach is how are you going to make me better? He doesn’t really care if the answer comes from a male, or female, Black, white, brown, yellow. Just help me be better,” Arians said on Monday during a virtual news conference.
“As far as the women, it was time for that door to be knocked down and allow them because they’ve been putting in the time and they are very, very qualified. The ones we have are over qualified.”
Arians had a long journey in the NFL that included two Super Bowl wins as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ coaching staff before finally landing a head coaching job with the Indianapolis Colts in 2012 at the age of 60.
Arians, who was the offensive coordinator with Indianapolis at the time, was given the chance to lead the team after Colts head coach Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia.
“I was a winning Super Bowl offensive coordinator and didn’t even get a phone call,” said Arians, who will become the second-oldest head coach in a Super Bowl when the Bucs host the top-seeded Kansas City Chiefs.
“The lack of opportunities I think have made me want to give more opportunities to more people.”
Arians, now in his second season with the Buccaneers, said inclusivity and diversity are great ways to teach.
“To hear voices in a staff meeting that aren’t the same, don’t look alike, but they all have input, you get better output,” said Arians.
“For the players the same thing: not hearing the same thing over and over, to hear it from different people, different ages, from 27 to 82 and every kind of ethnic group there is and male and female.
“I think our players learn from that and I know I do.”
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Pritha Sarkar)