Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians is expected to announce as early as Monday that he is retiring from coaching, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Arians, 65, will the Cardinals as the winningest coach in franchise history with a 50-32-1 record (including playoffs). He re-established a culture of winning in 2013 that lasted for his first three seasons and included a historic run to the 2016 NFC Championship Game, which Arizona lost to the Carolina Panthers.
However, the Cardinals have struggled the past two seasons, winning just 15 games over that span. They followed a 7-8-1 record in 2016, a year after coming within a game of Super Bowl 50, with a 8-8 record in 2017. Injuries took their toll on the Cardinals this season. They lost running back David Johnson in Week 1 and quarterback Carson Palmer in Week 7, forcing Arians, known league-wide as an offensive savant, to restructure his offensive plans for the season.
Arians, who has coached Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Andrew Luck and Palmer, was best known as a quarterback guru and an offensive genius. His no-holds barred down-field passing game defined his tenure in Arizona and helped the Cardinals produce the league’s best offense in 2015. But it also contributed to the Cardinals’ demise the past two seasons, as, in part, defenses figured out the Cardinals’ offense and Arians was slow to counter with an intermediate passing game.
Arians retires with two Super Bowl wins on his résumé during his eight seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers as wide receivers coach and offensive coordinator, a job in which he succeeded Ken Whisenhunt, who he then followed as the head coach in Arizona in 2013.
Arians’ coaching career began as a graduate assistant at Virginia Tech in 1975. In 1983, at age 30, he was hired as the head coach at Temple University, where he spent six seasons on the sideline. After he was fired in 1988, he wouldn’t become a head coach again for 25 years.
While he was the Indianapolis Colts‘ offensive coordinator in 2012, Arians took over as the Colts’ interim head coach while Chuck Pagano took a leave to treat his leukemia. Arians went 9-3 and became the first interim head coach to win coach of the year. After years of being passed over for head-coaching jobs, he was hired by the Cardinals on Jan. 17, 2013, making him a first-time head coach at age 60. From there, Arians did everything his way. He hired a staff made up of longtime friends, close allies and former players.
He began his NFL head-coaching career 10-6 in 2013 and followed that up with an 11-5 record in 2014, after starting 9-1. That season earned him his second coach of the year award. He then led Arizona to a 13-3 mark and a berth in the NFC Championship Game in 2015, capping the best three-year stretch in Cardinals history with 34 wins.
Arians reinvigorated a franchise that was mired in mediocrity for the majority of its existence with the exception of a Super Bowl appearance in 2009 and established a reputation as a straight-shooter. He didn’t like to sugar-coat his critiques, and that drew respect and admiration from his players.
Arians’ health has been an issue throughout his time in Arizona. He was rushed to the hospital twice during the 2016 season and revealed after the season, in his book, “The Quarterback Whisperer,” that he had a small cancerous spot removed from his kidney late in the 2016 season. His first trip to the hospital in 2016 came during a joint training camp practice with the Chargers and after suffering symptoms related to diverticulitis. The second was after Arians experienced chest pains upon landing back in Arizona after a loss at Minnesota in Week 11.