WATCH: Falcons road back to top of NFC South tougher with Bruce Arians in Tampa
Most teams this offseason are searching for the next Sean McVay -- an innovative, young offensive mind. But the Tampa Bay Buccaneers didn't do that. Instead, they hired 66-year-old Bruce Arians.
At that age, very few expect Arians to remain the Buccaneers head coach for a terribly long time, but if he can last more than three years, he will be the longest tenured head coach in Tampa Bay since Jon Gruden.
As far as hiring retreads, it doesn't get any better than Arians. He owns a 49-30-1 mark as a head coach, and that doesn't include a 9-3 record he accumulated as an interim head coach with the Indianapolis Colts in 2012. He stepped in on an interim basis that season when first-year head coach Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with cancer.
Arians won the NFL Coach of the Year award that season and during his second year with the Arizona Cardinals in 2014. In five years with the Cardinals, Arians led them to three 10-win seasons. During the previous 36 years, Arizona won 10 games just once.
His tenure with the Cardinals ended with a pair of .500 records, but without him this past fall, the bottom fell out. Rookie head coach Steve Wilks led Arizona to a 3-13 mark, which was the worst record in the league.
With Jameis Winston, Arians faces his toughest assignment yet, but he helped develop Ben Roethlisberger and Andrew Luck, then got the most out of an older Carson Palmer in Arizona. During his Cardinals tenure, Arians also found ways to stay competitive with lowly-regarded quarterbacks such as Drew Stanton, Blaine Gabbert, and Ryan Lindley.
Arians may be just what Winston needs, and with Arians headed to Tampa Bay, the hill back to the top of the NFC South for the Atlanta Falcons just got even tougher.