Bruce Arians announced his retirement from coaching at a press conference today, meaning the Arizona Cardinals now have a vacancy at head coach. The news was first reported by Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer.
“It’s been a great ride,” he said during an emotional statement. “I will miss the game.”
The Cardinals finished 8-8 this season following a barrage of injuries across the roster, including ones to quarterback Carson Palmer and running back David Johnson. The team finished the year with 15 players on injured reserve.
With that in mind, it’s astounding that Arians was able to keep them as competitive as they were. Their final win yesterday knocked the Seattle Seahawks out of the playoffs (along with an Atlanta Falcons win elsewhere) and made Arians the all-time winningest head coach in Cardinals history at 49-30-1.
His first three seasons with the team went about as well as you could hope, with records of 10-6, 11-5 and 13-3 and two playoff trips, the second ending in a loss to the Carolina Panthers in the 2015 NFC Championship Game. However, the last two seasons haven’t been as fruitful, with the team losing 8 games both years, though the Cardinals have remained in the middle tier of the league as a whole.
Arians has struggled with health problems during that time. He was sent to the hospital twice last season, the first due to a bout of diverticulitis, a common symptom of colon cancer, of which he is a survivor. The second was for chest pains late in the year. Arians also revealed that he had a cancerous part of his kidney removed around the same time.
The Cardinals are in a strange position. They have a solid foundation on defense and multiple playmakers on offense. However, the offensive line needs to be rebuilt, and Palmer is getting up there in years; a relatively deep QB class in this year’s draft could alleviate that. They may opt for a veteran coach to remain competitive.