TAMPA — This is the week, the first week of the first Bucs season under Bruce Arians. The big question, and this Bucs fate might ride on it as much as anything, is how “all in” the 66-year-old Arians will be in his return to the NFL after a hiatus that included settling some health issues.
But here is BA, Bruce Almighty, out to save the Bucs and be in Jameis Winston’s ear – and face if need be. At least that’s how it could play out, with the volume well up. Cover the children’s ears.
Need a sneak preview?
In 2015, NFL Films crews spent the season embedded with Arians. Then in his third year in Arizona, his Cardinals went 13-3, won the NFC West and knocked off Green Bay in playoff overtime before falling to Carolina in the conference championship game.
The documentary, narrated by Jon Hamm, runs eight episodes, eight hours of All or Nothing, with Arians right in the middle, on top of his game and often at the top of his lungs. It’s great stuff and maybe a bit of a window into what the Bucs will be getting.
While we can only provide a redacted version, it’s piping hot. Arians is the main treat, his passion, his language, his humanity.
“As far as goals go, we have one, putting the ------- ring on our finger.”
“That’s horse----. They’ll run for 200 ------- yards if we practice like this.”
“If your football sucks, I’m going to tell you it sucks.”
We’ve had this once before around here, when Jon Gruden arrived in Tampa in 2002 to lead the Bucs to the top of the world. We had to edit a lot of Chucky’s words out too, but it was a wonderful ride all the way through Super Bowl XXXVII.
“2-0 won’t get you to the Super Bowl. We still ain’t ----.”
Where was Arians when the 2-0 Bucs needed him last season?
All or Nothing captures the forced march of a 16-game NFL season, fueled as it was by the Arians, who never stopped going, hold the golf cart.
“Defend every blade of grass, baby!”
“We ain’t ---- yet. But we’re starting to smell a little better.”
“That’s ------- --------! That’s ------- --------!”
Hey, we told you.
Here is a coach who loves his players to a man, even when they drive him up a wall. Here is a coach who uses what he can from who he can to get the job done, including Arizona draft pick Tyrann “Honey Badger” Mathieu, who had his problems at LSU, which dismissed him after he reportedly failed drug tests. Arians, who had his own problems growing up, connects with Mathieu.
“I’m the true believer in second chances.”
“Not to mention we both have some serious swag.”
There is Arians and his quarterback, Carson Palmer, who had a great 2015 right up until that NFC title game. There was Arians and his defensive leader, cornerback Patrick Peterson, who is still with Arizona. There is Arians and the great Larry Fitzgerald, a future Hall of Famer who grudgingly became an inside receiver in Arians’ all-in offense and flourished, winning the playoff game over Green Bay with a big catch and run.
There is Arians addressing the 5-2 Cardinals before a week off.
“If I hear a ------------ talking about a bye week, there’ll be some serious repercussions.”
“The elevator drops fast to the --------.”
“You know the old saying, the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. Don’t be afraid to be great.”
There is Arizona’s offense on a roll.
“BOOM, BOOM, BOOM! Yeah!”
And when it is not.
“Who the ---- screwed that up?”
“Don’t be the guy who ----- it up.”
Arians lecturing after a late penalty.
“Ted, you’re very, very lucky. There’s no ------- reason for you to move in that situation.”
“It’s nice to lose form almost losing rather than losing.”
There’s the stretch run.
“Focus and finish. December football. Focus and finish.”
“That’s’ the way we finish a ------------- drive!”
“Ain’t nobody stopping us but us.”
We have no idea what any of this has to do with the 2019 Bucs, but it’s fun to see and hear Arians in full. That includes his pregame tradition of blowing a kiss to his wife, Christine.
Back to work, taking the edge off a 13-2 team just before it lost to Seattle in the regular season finale.
“Way too many ------------- reading their press clippings this week.”
There’s Arians sharing a glass of wine with his bride on Black Monday, when the ax swung on so many coaches.
“To have so many friends lose their jobs when it’s been us so many times.”
On to the playoffs, three chances to win it all, a toast with his wife.
“Here’s to 3-0. 3-0 can change our lives together.”
Christine: “I think I’m going to throw up.”
“What the ---- was that? ------- -------------. We can’t have that!”
“What the ---- happened?”
“Oh, Jesus Christ. We have the ------------- right where we wanted them, We ------- fumble.”
“Get points every time we have it and their ---- will dry up.”
“Not in a million years did I see this coming.”
The locker room after, Fitzgerald crying at his locker, Arians speaking softly, proudly.
“It’s never the end you want unless you’re putting a ring on your finger.”
Lights, camera, Arians.
Coming to a football team near you?
Contact Martin Fennelly at email@example.com or (813) 731-8029. Follow @mjfennelly