In a true rarity, Bruce Arians will step away as head coach of the Arizona Cardinals on his terms.
The Arizona Cardinals ended their 2017 season on a high note Sunday, with a 26-24 win over the Seattle Seahawks. It was also the 50th win (regular and postseason) for Bruce Arians as Cardinals’ head coach, and the fourth win at CenturyLink Field during his tenure in Arizona.
After a report last week Arians and the Cardinals would part ways after Sunday’s game, and the expected denouncing of it by Arians, ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting the 65-year-old two-time NFL Coach of the Year will announce his retirement.
Arians has battled health issues in recent years, and with the Cardinals facing the possibility of big changes on the roster this offseason a rebuild probably doesn’t suit him.
Arians spent years toiling as an assistant in the NFL, most notably as offensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 2007-2011. He added interim head coach to his offensive coordinator duties with the Indianapolis Colts in 2012, when head coach Chuck Pagano went through leukemia treatment, in his first opportunity to be an NFL head coach.
A 9-3 record over the remainder of that season helped Arians land a permanent head coaching job in Arizona. He just completed his fifth season as the Cardinals’ head coach, highlighted by an 11-5 campaign in 2014 and a 13-3 mark in 2015 capped by a trip to the NFC Championship Game.
Two straight non-playoff seasons may have put another head coach on the hot seat heading into next season. But some key injuries made an 8-8 record a solid accomplishment, considering Blaine Gabbert and Drew Stanton combined to start nine games under center in place of Carson Palmer.
As other head coaches have been fired in the hours and days after the end of the regular season, Arians is leaving on his terms. Retirement in sports feels like a flimsy term a fair amount of the time, but in Arians’ case, it has a ring of finality.