Quarterback guru Bruce Arians parlayed a successful season with Andrew Luck into a head-coaching job with the Arizona Cardinals
Back in 2012, the play of star quarterback Andrew Luck ended up helping the Arizona Cardinals organization in a big way. A stellar performance by the rookie passer helped the Indianapolis Colts’ interim head coach land the top job in the desert. Bruce Arians would go on to have an excellent five-year stint with the Cards, and Luck served as the catalyst for that in many ways.
On Saturday night, the 29-year old Luck announced that he was retiring from the NFL. It was stunning news from an individual who just named the “Comeback Player of the Year” for the work he did in 2018. So what exactly was it that Luck did for the Colts seven years ago that propelled Arians into the head-coaching position with the Cardinals?
Arians, Indianapolis’ offensive coordinator, was forced to take over as the squad’s leader in week five. The team’s head coach, Chuck Pagano, had taken a leave of absence after being diagnosed with leukemia. Arians and Luck excelled together as a duo, leading the Colts to a 9-3 finish that earned them a spot in the postseason.
Indianapolis ended up with an 11-5 record, and Arizona’s front office became extremely interested in Arians. It didn’t matter that the Colts lost to the Baltimore Ravens in the first round of the playoffs. In January of 2013, Arians was inked to a four-year contract by the Cards, and ultimately became the franchise’s all-time winningest head coach.
Under Arians’ tutelage in ’12, Luck completed 54.1% of his passes for 4.374 yards and 23 touchdowns. Pretty good numbers for a first-year professional. Luck did toss 18 interceptions that season, but it mattered little, the Cardinals were completely sold on Arians’ ability to design an offense.
Many people involved in the world of pro football will be saddened by Luck’s decision. The four-time Pro Bowler contributed many positive things to the National Football League, and he was a class act in every way. The role he played in the Cards acquiring an outstanding coach like Arians will forever be the present he bestowed upon the “Red Sea”.