Conspicuously visible during Sunday’s fourth-quarter fracas between the Buccaneers and Saints was retired Tampa Bay coach Bruce Arians. The NFL may be taking a closer look at whether he’ll be allowed to roam so freely on the sidelines during games.
Now the “senior adviser to the General Manger” (which sounds better than “assistant to the traveling secretary” and/or “assistant to the Regional Manager”), Arians was present and active on Sunday. He was doing no apparent or obvious advising of the General Manager, however. Even before the brawl that resulted in the ejection of Buccaneers receiver Mike Evans and Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore, which featured Arians chirping and/or instigating from the sideline, Arians could be seen peppering one of the officials with questions and/or complaints.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the league office currently is working on addressing all things related to the incident, including sidelines. That specifically includes Arians.
It’s unclear whether the league can direct the Buccaneers to get Arians off the sideline, but it should. He’s no longer a member of the coaching staff. He should act accordingly.
Then again, the Bucs may appreciate having an extra agitator during the games. Someone who can piss and moan about whatever, whenever while the head coach is focused on other things. As long as Arians doesn’t interject himself into the actual coaching of the team, the Bucs can benefit from having him around.
That doesn’t make it OK, from the league’s perspective. If Arians is permitted to keep doing what he did on Sunday, every team should consider designating one specific member of the non-coaching staff to be a chronic irritant, to the officials and/or opponents and/or anyone.
As reported last night (but widely ignored and now regarded as “breaking news” from multiple outlets this morning), Evans and Lattimore face a potential suspension, because of their history. If a suspension will be imposed, it most likely will happen today. There undoubtedly would be an immediate appeal, with an expedited ruling.