EDITORIAL: York High grad Bruce Arians' story, personality may make him Super Bowl star

  • York High graduate Bruce Arians is the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
  • The Bucs will face the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl on Feb. 7.
Tampa Bay head coach Bruce Arians.

From now until Feb. 7, folks in York County can expect to get a heavy dose of Bruce Arians.

Fortunately, that’s just what the doctor ordered for those suffering from pandemic exhaustion or from political exasperation. At this point, that includes just about all of us.

We all desperately need some harmless fun to distract us from our real-world problems. That’s what Super Bowl 55 should deliver, especially in these parts. Because, when it comes to having fun, York High graduate Bruce Arians is an expert.

Arians, with his trademark kangol hat and Mr. Cool persona, is far from your typical, buttoned-down, say-nothing NFL head coach. The Tampa Bay boss will say exactly what is on his mind. Just ask legendary quarterback Tom Brady, who found himself the target of Arians’ barbs earlier this season when the coach felt the QB wasn’t performing up to standards.

York High grad Bruce Arians heads to Super Bowl after leading Tampa Bay over Green Bay

Much of what Arians says is humorous, sarcastic or acerbic, but don’t let that fool you. Arians is also a tremendous football coach. In just his second year in Tampa, he’s led his Buccaneers into the Feb. 7 Super Bowl against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Bruce Arians

Arians may become a star: The Super Bowl, even during a pandemic, is sure to be a media extravaganza, and the candid and witty Arians could become the star of the show, and not just because of his personality.

Arians also has great story to tell. For nearly four decades, Arians was a coaching journeyman, bouncing from one NFL assistant job to another. Then, finally, at age 61, he got his first shot at a full-time job as an NFL head coach with the Arizona Cardinals in 2013. He made the most of it, taking a moribund franchise and making it into a consistent winner.

He resigned after the 2017 season, only to reemerge as Tampa’s head coach in 2019, where he’s again excelled.

HEISER: No matter where he's journeyed, Bruce Arians remains a Yorker at heart

Now the two-time NFL Coach of the Year is in the Super Bowl, which is nothing new. Arians won two Super Bowl titles as a Pittsburgh Steelers assistant in 2006 and 2009.

Overcoming health scares, promoting diversity: Arians has accomplished all of that while dealing with a series of serious medical issues, including a cancer scare. He’s overcome those ailments to become a late-in-life success story. Now 68, he’s reached the pinnacle of NFL coaching success.

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Arians’ success, however, extends beyond X’s and O’s. He’s also become a champion for coaching diversity. All of three of his coordinators are Black, and when he was the Cardinals’ head coach 2015, Arians hired the first female NFL assistant in history.

After watching race riots in York, Bruce Arians wonders how much progress has been made

Arians’ open-mindedness was forged in York. He lived through the city’s riots in the late 1960s and he’s well aware of the damage that prejudice can cause. It’s made him determined to do what he can to alleviate the problem.

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Remembering his roots: Finally, Arians has never forgotten his York roots. He married a York girl and still has friends and relatives here. He's returned to speak at his alma mater in an effort to encourage the city youngsters.

Arians announces city parks conservancy

Put it all together and you have a compelling narrative. It’s one the media is sure to latch onto, and it’s why Arians may become a breakout Super Bowl star. As stars go, you could do a lot worse, because Arians is a fun-loving guy with a big heart and an engrossing story to tell. He's also a pretty fair football coach.

Of course, the folks in York have known that for a long time.