'Black Monday' claims another NFL coach, but this one's not a firing
It turns out that not every coaching change on “Black Monday” is because of a firing.
By all accounts, Bruce Arians has done a pretty good job during his five seasons coaching the Arizona Cardinals.
He took over a 5-11 team, and won at least 10 games in each of his first three seasons.
In 2015, the Cards made it to the NFC Championship game.
But largely due to injuries, Arizona struggled to a 15-16-1 record over the past two years, and that — combined with health concerns — reportedly has prompted Arians to step down from his only full-time head coaching job in the NFL.
Cardinals’ HC Bruce is expected to retire from coaching, per league sources. Leaving the game on his terms. Another HC vacancy expected.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 1, 2018
On Tuesday, Arians denied a report from Pro Football Weekly that said he was retiring after the season, calling the report “fake news.”
The Cardinals knocked off Seattle on Sunday to give Arians his 50th win (regular-season and playoffs) in Arizona, making him the winningest head coach in franchise history.
Congrats to @BruceArians!
50 wins total between regular season and playoffs.
That's a franchise record. #BeRedSeeRed pic.twitter.com/SDm5s6PuCQ
— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) January 1, 2018
Pro Bowl defensive back Patrick Peterson made it clear that although the team wasn’t going to the postseason, they had a common goal.
Just asked Patrick Peterson if that Cardinals victory was for coach Bruce Arians, who’s expected to announce his retirement tomorrow. Answer: “No doubt.”
— Jim Trotter (@JimTrotter_NFL) January 1, 2018
Given the abundance of injuries the team had to deal with this season, perhaps it was no surprise when future hall of fame receiver Larry Fitzgerald revealed that starting quarterback Drew Stanton played the last two games with a torn ACL.
So proud of the way the team competed today. Showed a lot of character all day. Especially @drewstanton, he has the heart of a champion. Played the last two weeks for his brothers despite an ACL tear. Love ya man!!
— Larry Fitzgerald (@LarryFitzgerald) January 1, 2018
A longtime assistant and college coach, Arians filled in for Colts head coach Chuck Pagano in 2012 while his friend successfully battled leukemia. Indianapolis went 9-3 for Arians, who became the first interim head coach to be named NFL Coach of the Year.
Two years later, Arians won the award again, leading Arizona to an 11-5 record and the postseason.
The 65-year-old is a prostate cancer survivor, and earlier this year announced he had won his battle with kidney cancer.
Before this season, Arians was happy to announce he was indeed cancer-free.
Between college and the NFL, from position coach to offensive coordinator to head coach, Arians has been on the sidelines, somewhere, every season since 1975 when he was a graduate assistant at Virginia Tech.
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