RENTON — Very few NFL coaches look forward to a visit to CenturyLink Field. The prospect of enduring 60-plus minutes of the ear-splitting, never-ending din provided by fans who believe they are the loudest in all of football and directly influence the result of the game, while playing an always-competitive Seahawks team that feeds off that crowd, isn’t relished.
But then again, very few coaches have had Bruce Arians’ success on the Seahawks’ home turf. When Arians returns to Seattle on Sunday in his first season as the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he will carry a 4-1 record at CenturyLink from his days as the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals.
“It’s probably my favorite place to play because it’s such a great atmosphere,” he said Wednesday. “The fans are fantastic. We’re just teaching our guys to feed off that energy from the crowd like it’s a home crowd. It always comes down to a very, very close game.”
But is it the atmosphere or his success in it?
“That was a big division,” he said. “We went into that division and San Francisco and Seattle were on top. Then, Seattle won the Super Bowl and we had to beat them to compete in our division. It was huge.”
The Bucs come into this Sunday’s game with a 2-5 record, which is the worst start of Arians’ coaching career. How close is this team and organization to reaching what he had in Arizona?
“In Arizona, we were way behind offensively, especially with the offensive line, and we were probably ahead defensively; we had Patrick Peterson, Daryl Washington, Calais Campbell, Darnell Dockett, some of those guys,” he said. “So, the defense was further ahead than where we’re at right now. I think Carson Palmer solidified that locker room for us. Jameis (Winston) is still learning it. There are a lot of similarities.”