If you’ve been paying attention to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this season, you’ve probably heard this saying by now, “no risk it, no biscuit.” Bucs’ head coach Bruce Arians has lived and coached by that mantra, but what does it mean and where did it come from?
In his long coaching career, Arians hasn’t taken the safe route. As graduate assistant, learning the ways of coaching at Virginia Tech, Arians worked as a bartender to make ends meet. He struggled with his career path and the risks and hardship of trying to make it as a coach. According to Arians, an older regular at the bar gave him some advice about taking chances and following his dream. Arians took the conversation to heart and that’s where his life and coaching philosophy began to take shape. That philosophy can be summed up when Arians says, “no risk it, no biscuit.”
You could see that philosophy in full force last season when the Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston set a record for most interceptions in a season and the team missed the playoffs. They got “no biscuit” that season, but it wasn’t from not taking their shots. Could they have fared better if Arians had limited his quarterback to safer passes and more rushing attempts? Maybe, maybe not, but that’s not Arians.
Arians doesn’t play politics and he tells it like it is, and that has kept the 68-year old, two-time NFL Coach of the Year from plenty of coaching opportunities. It took the awful news that Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano had Leukemia for Arians to finally get his chance to be a head coach in the NFL. And that year, his rookie coaching job that he took over in Week 5, turned into him winning his first Coach of the Year award.
Arians “no risk it” philosophy likely kept him from some earlier head coaching opportunities, but now, at 68-years old, he has a shot at his first Super Bowl win as a head coach. His trouble finding head coaching jobs has also helped him see the trouble others have had, especially minorities and women. And as a head coach, he has an opportunity to bring in assistant coaches and personnel with diverse backgrounds who might not have gotten a chance like they are getting under Arians in Tampa Bay. His philosophy might not have helped him move up the ranks quickly, but it has helped him stay true to himself and be able to see the NFL and its problems clearly.
Arians says he’s coming back next season. He’s done it his way and has won everywhere he’s coached. And next season, we’ll get to see a 69-year old head coach and a 44-year old quarterback in Tom Brady make another run at the title.