TAMPA - — Bruce Arians' coaching career started in 1975 when he was a graduate assistant at his alma mater Virginia Tech. He admitted that he thought his chances of being an NFL head were slim throughout his time on the sidelines.
"There were times I never thought it would happen," Arians said. "I never thought I’d get a head coaching job."
In September 2012, Colts head coach Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia. Team owner Jim Irsay wanted Arians, the offensive coordinator, to take over. Arians led the team to the AFC playoffs.
"Beating the Packers that first game, and letting Jim Irsay take that ball to the hospital and give it to Chuck," Arians said after being asked about his favorite memories from that season. "And then standing on the sidelines in Kansas City, and winning that game, and going to the playoffs with a very, very very young team."
Irsay still has nothing but good things to say about his former interim head coach.
"It’s tough to accomplish what he's already accomplished," Irsay said. "But to see him come back and go in another set of circumstances and go get this done is just remarkable."
Arians, the NFL Coach of the Year in 2012 (Colts) and 2014 (Cardinals) wants to finish another dream season the right way.
"This has been the most rewarding year of coaching in my life."
Arians said he's excited for the Super Bowl platform as a showcase for minority and female talent on the sidelines and on the officiating crew. He wants all the members of his staff to have the same chances to climb the ranks.
"Inclusivity and diversity are great ways to teach. The more input from different types of voices, the better output you get. We’re very, very proud of our staff."