York High grad Bruce Arians heads to Super Bowl after leading Tampa Bay over Green Bay
GREEN BAY, Wis. – York High graduate Bruce Arians is headed to the Super Bowl.
Arians coached the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a 31-26 road victory over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night in the NFC Championship Game.
Arians will now lead Tampa Bay into the Super Bowl against the Kansas City. It will be the first time Arians has been a head coach in the Super Bowl.
Arians, 68, was part of two Super Bowl championship teams with the Pittsburgh Steelers as an assistant coach. He was the wide receivers’ coach in the 2006 Super Bowl and was the offensive coordinator in the 2009 Super Bowl.
The veteran coach guided the Bucs to the Super Bowl in just his second season with the team.
Arians and the Bucs will get to play in their home stadium, becoming the first team to play a Super Bowl on their home field.
“We’re coming home,” Arians said. “We’re coming home to win.”
The Super Bowl is set for Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium on Feb. 7.
The Bucs (14-5) earned their franchise-record eighth consecutive road victory to reach the Super Bowl for the first time since their 2002 championship season.
Tampa quarterback Tom Brady owns six Super Bowl rings with New England and now heads to his 10th NFL championship game with his new team. He got help from a stifling pass rush and a curious late call on fourth-and-goal by the Packers.
“It’s great to get another road win, and now we got a home game,” said Brady, who went 20 of 36 for 280 yards with three touchdowns. “Who’d ever thought a home Super Bowl for us? But we did it.”
They were helped by a strange decision by Packers coach Matt LaFleur with just over two minutes remaining and down by eight points. On fourth-and-goal, he elected to kick a field goal to get within five. Tampa Bay then ran out the clock on the Packers (14-4).
Green Bay trailed 31-23 and had first-and-goal from the 8 in the last few minutes. But after Aaron Rodgers threw three straight incompletions, the Packers settled for Mason Crosby’s 26-yard field goal with 2:05 left.
The Packers had all three timeouts left and were hoping their defense could force a punt. The Bucs foiled that plan, draining the rest of the clock, helped by a pass interference penalty on Kevin King.
Led by Shaquil Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul combining for five sacks, Tampa Bay snapped Green Bay’s seven-game winning streak. The Packers lost in the NFC championship game for the fourth time in the last seven seasons. Green Bay hasn’t reached the Super Bowl since its 2010 championship season.
Rodgers went 33 of 48 for 346 yards with three touchdowns and one interception, but fell to 1-4 in conference championship games as a starting quarterback.
Tampa Bay took command in the middle portion of the game.
Green Bay trailed 14-10 and had the ball just before halftime until Sean Murphy-Bunting picked off Rodgers at the Tampa Bay 49-yard line with 28 seconds remaining. After converting a fourth-and-4, Tampa Bay was at Green Bay’s 39 with 8 seconds remaining. The Bucs passed up a long field-goal attempt, and Brady found Scotty Miller down the left sideline for a 39-yard touchdown catch with just 1 second remaining.
“We didn’t come here to not take chances to win the game,” Arians said. “Love the play we had. Got a great matchup and got a TD. That was huge.”
The Bucs built a 28-10 lead early in the third quarter thanks to Brady’s three touchdown passes. Brady went 20 of 36 for 280 yards.
The Packers got the ball to start the second half, and Aaron Jones caught a short third-down pass. He took a huge hit from Jordan Whitehead that knocked the ball loose. Devin White recovered and ran 21 yards to the Green Bay 8.
One play later, Brady found a wide-open Cameron Brate to extend Tampa Bay’s lead to 28-10.
The Packers rallied as Brady threw interceptions on three straight drives for just the second time in his career. Green Bay cut the lead to 28-23 late in the third quarter on Rodgers’ touchdown passes to Robert Tonyan and Davante Adams.
Injury reort: Jones hurt his chest and Whitehead injured his shoulder on the third-quarter play that resulted in a Jones fumble. Packers defensive lineman Tyler Lancaster (ankle) and linebacker Krys Barnes (thumb) left in the second half.
The Bucs played the entire game without wide receiver Antonio Brown (knee) and safety Antoine Winfield Jr. (ankle).
Up next: The Bucs return home to play in the Super Bowl.