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Bruce Arians on diversity in his coaching staff and the pandemic’s affect on Super Bowl week

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians spoke with the media on Feb. 1 about the diversity in race and gender within his staff, how his team has dealt with the pandemic and how this year’s Super Bowl prep is different from ever before.

Video Transcript

BRUCE ARIANS: Well, I think probably because the fact that I didn't get a shot till I was 60, and Chuck Pagano had to get sick with leukemia for me to become a head coach. You know, I was a winning Super Bowl offensive coordinator and didn't even get a phone call. So the lack of opportunities I think has made me want to give more opportunities to more people, to minorities on our staff who are great, great coaches.

They either played for me, played with me. Somewhere along the line, we've been together, and they're great coaches. The women, that was a door that needed to be knocked down, and so, so happy that the two we have are so overly qualified and doing such a great job.

Well, I don't think anything ever prepared us for the pandemic. And this whole season has been different, you know, and the team building things that you do in the offseason didn't happen. I have to give all the credit in the world to our players for their commitment to each other. The accountability that they've shown to each other of staying healthy and beating the virus before we can beat any other team.

And then the closeness they've got and the accountability to each other to make all their decisions to affect the cause, and the cause is putting rings on their fingers. So this team reminds me a lot of the the Super Bowl XL Steelers. They're very, very close, even during a pandemic when it was hard to get close.

[INAUDIBLE] still evolving. I mean, each and every week, we collaborate. And Byron does such a fantastic job of running this show. And he and Tom have just blended so well, you know. And it was September we scratched out a game or two, really had no clue what we were doing. October, got a little bit better.

And then after the bye week, I think things started to click and everybody got comfortable with each other because Chris was hurt for a while. Mike was hurt for a while, or played hurt. Antonio came in. Scotty was beat up for a while. So it was just a matter of all those pieces getting together, taking some time to gel, but our defense carried us through some of those ball games so that we're here now. And now we're playing pretty well, offensively.

Well, I think last week was normal. This week you would have gotten on the plane. I'm thinking back at Super Bowl XLIII at the hotel busting up the [? USF. ?] Doing all that stuff and the mass of media and mass of fans every single day. That's not going to happen this week. So it's-- it's unlike any other.

So, in that regard, I think it's been great for our guys to be able to just come to our facility every single day, look across the street knowing they're going to play. It's going to look different. The locker room will look different and everything, but it's our locker room. And so I think it's been great for our guys, and it will be great for our guys. I just wish it was packed.